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The Five Du-Tones

The Five Du-Tones originally recorded "Shake a Tail Feather" in 1963, but reaped few benefits from being the first to do so. It was their biggest record, but only reached number 51 on the pop charts and number 28 on the R&B charts. Ike & Tina Turner cut a version, as did James & Bobby Purify, whose "Tail Feather" fared better than the Five Du-Tones', going to number 25 on the pop charts and number 15 on the R&B charts in 1967 (four years after the original). It even showed up in the film Hairspray in 1988.

The explosive quintet members were Willie Guest, Frank McCurrey, LeRoy Joyce, James West, and Andrew Butler. They formed at Patrick Henry High School in St. Louis, MO, in 1957. St Louis was a hotbed of music talent; significant artists such as Ike & Tina Turner, Luther Ingram, Mel & Tim, Fontella Bass, and others developed in the City on the River.

From 1963 to 1966, the Du-Tones recorded nine singles on George Leaner's One-derful Records. The first, "Please Change Your Mind" backed by "The Flea," sunk without a trace, as did the second, "Come Back Baby" coupled with "Dry Your Eyes." However, their final release in 1963 got them working on the chitlin' circuit; "Shake a Tail Feather" backed with the hilarious "Divorce Court" exploded over R&B stations across the country, and was extremely large in Chicago. The sales and chart positions didn't justify the airplay it received -- it should have made the R&B Top Ten and cracked the pop Top 40. The follow-up to "Tail Feather" was "The Gouster" backed with "Monkey See Monkey Do." The B-side was better and got some airplay, but neither side built on the momentum of its predecessor. Single number five discarded the dance craze altogether but to no avail; "Nobody But (My Baby)" supported by "That's How I Love You did nothing. So it was back to the dance crazes, with "The Cool Bird" and "The Chicken Astronaut" being their final single for 1964; despite an incessant beat, however, "Bird" was ignored by disc jockeys. The Du-Tones' sister group, the Duettes, recorded "Bird" the same year on Mar-V-Lus, a subsidiary of One-Derful; both versions flopped. One-derful dropped two more of the Du-Tones' singles in 1965: "Sweet Lips" and "The Woodbine Twine." Their most popular recording next to "Tail Feather," "Woodbine Twine" received only sporadic play, but is sought after as a collectable. The last Five Du-Tones single, "Mountain of Love"/"Outside the Record Hop," dropped in 1966; they disbanded in 1967. Leaner folded his group of labels, which included Mar-V-Lus and M-Pac Records, in 1968. ~ Andrew Hamilton
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Move With The Groove: Hardcore Chicago Soul

Disc 1

1. Damper Down

4. The Town I Live In

5. I've Got A Claim On You

6. Come Back Home

7. Master Key

9. I'm A Big Man

10. Shake A Tail Feather

12. The Whip Pt. 1

14. Don't Turn Your Back On Me

15. You Told A Lie

16. Tell It Like It Is

17. Who Is She

18. New Girl

19. You Did Me Wrong

20. Twine Time

22. Do The 45

23. Got To Find A Way

25. Every Beat Of My Heart

Disc 2

2. Give Me Back My Ring

4. I Still Can't Get You

5. The Philly Freeze

7. I Made A Mistake

8. More Power To You

9. I Stand Alone

10. Ordinary Guy

11. One Man's Poison

13. Behave Yourself

18. A Lasting Love

19. You Got Your Finger In My Eye

21. The Funky Judge

22. I Get A Groove

24. Move With The Groove

x

Track List: Sweet Soul Music Classics 1963

1. That's The Way Love Is

2. Two Lovers

3. Our Day Will Come

4. These Arms Of Mine

5. You've Really Got A Hold On Me

6. Mama Didn't Lie

7. Tell Him I'm Not Home

8. Got You On My Mind

9. The Love Of My Man

10. He's So Fine

11. Baby Workout

12. How Can I Forget

13. That's How Heartaches Are Made

14. Watermelon Man

15. On Broadway

16. Hello Stranger

18. If You Need Me

19. Pushover

20. Shake A Tail Feather

21. Just One Look

22. Easier Said Than Done

23. Cry Baby

24. Mockingbird

25. The Monkey Time

27. Part Time Love

28. Harlem Shuffle

29. It's All Right

30. Walking The Dog

x

Track List: The Scene Club: Ham Yard, London 1963-66

1. I've Got A Claim On You

2. Let Love Go By

3. Question

4. I Need Your Lovin'

5. Let The Good Times Roll

6. A Fool In Love

8. Ain't That Loving You Baby

9. Let's Stick Together

10. Iko Iko

11. See About Me

12. Alvin's Boo-Ga-Loo

13. Ol' Man River

14. Billy's Bag

15. Just For You

16. Who Can I Run To

17. I'll Take One

18. A Song Called Soul

19. Land Of 1,000 Dances

20. Jaywalking

21. Shake A Tail Feather

22. I'm A Lover Not A Fighter

23. Oh Mom (Teach Me How To Uncle Willie)

24. Over And Over

25. Mister Bang Bang Man

26. Housewive's Choice

27. Confidential

28. Go Now

Comments

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Great song. Booooogie baby
Report as inappropriate
I think this Shake A Tail Feather was my favorite record of all 1963. I even wrote a letter to the record company congratulati n g them on it. I still have an original 45 of it. The recording being so wild & wooly did not get as much airplay as us younger folks wanted.

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