The Laddins

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Originating from Harlem, NY, in the mid-'50s, the Laddins carved an unspectacular recording career from 1957 to 1964 on a succession of hotdog-stand recording companies. The originals members were David…
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Originating from Harlem, NY, in the mid-'50s, the Laddins carved an unspectacular recording career from 1957 to 1964 on a succession of hotdog-stand recording companies. The originals members were David "Pinky" Coleman (lead), Ernest "Micky" Goody (first tenor), Early "E.J." Marcus (lead/second tenor), and John Marcus (baritone). Bobby Jay (bass) joined in 1957 and missed seemingly their only early photo session, which depicts the Laddins as a quartet. They scored a now-sought-after single that did little when released, entitled "Did It," on Central Records in 1957. Disappointed, Central allowed scheduled releases for 1958, "My Baby's Left Me" and "I'm Falling In Love," to gather dust.

"Yes, Oh Baby Yes" appeared on Grey Cliff Records in 1959; but history repeated itself as proposed follow-ups, "Eternally" and "So Long Darling," never were released. Their next release was "Come On" on Isle in 1960; but its pre-picked successor, "A Certain Kind of Love," was shelved. Initially, companies loved the Laddins, but withdrew the adulation after their first singles with the labels bombed.

Their most popular failure came courtesy of Theater Records in 1961. The two-sided pleaser, "Oh How I Hate to Go Home" and "There Was Once a Time," was their only known release on the short-lived label.

After two 1962 releases, "I'll Kiss Your Teardrops Away" b/w "If You Need Me, I'll Be There" on Angie and "Try, Try Again" on Groove, the Laddins left the Big Apple for the Big Orange (Miami, FL). You seldom hear of entertainers leaving New York City for recording opportunities, but that's exactly what they did the winter of 1962. In the interim, Angie unleashed "Push, Shake, Kick and Shout" in late 1962; Bardell Records reissued it in 1963.

The Laddins refreshed their lineup with new lead singer Yvonne "Frankie" Gearing, Alfred Ellis, and Dizzy Jones, joining Goody and the Marcus brothers; other members came and went but these were the main cogs. (Bobby Jay joined the military.) The new group had one single on Butane Records, "Dream Baby" b/w "Dizzy Jones Birdland," in 1964 before evolving into the Steinways, a group with a similar sound to Motown's Elgins and Philadelphia's Formations.

Bobby Jay later worked as a DJ at WWRL and WCBS-FM in New York City, and stations in Augustus, GA; Memphis, TN; and Newark, NJ. Billboard honored him as Air Personality of the Year in 1977. Jay also acted off-Broadway, hosted a magazine-style talk show, appeared in the soap Guiding Light, and toiled as a record producer. He appeared sometimes in a revamped lineup of Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers with Lymon's brother, Lewis Lymon; long-time stand in Jimmy Castor; and original members Jimmy Merchant and Herman Santiago.

Frankie Gearing sang with the Coeds, the Steinways (which also included Goody and the Marcus brothers), the Glories, Quiet Elegance, and recorded as a solo artist. She also relocated to her hometown, St. Petersburg, FL, where she's a popular entertainer. David Coleman is deceased. Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis toiled for years as a saxophonist for James Brown. The whereabouts of the others are unknown.