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The Dubs

The Dubs had a long career, from the late '50s through the '80s, but are best remembered for their enduring Top 40 doo wop classic "Could This Be Magic," one of the more memorable songs of 1957. During the early '50s, the group developed out of two short-lived vocal acts: the Five Wings and the Scale-Tones. The Harlem-based Five Wings (originally "the Five Stars") were Jackie Rue (lead), Frank Edwards (first tenor), Billy Carlisle (second tenor), Melvin Flood (baritone), and Tommy Grate (bass). The group recorded a few singles -- including two posthumous tributes in early 1955 to Johnny Ace -- for King Records. Three of the Five Wings (Edwards, Flood, and Rue -- the latter going on to become the lead of Jackie and the Starlites of "Valerie" fame) quit the group, prompting Carlisle and Grate to join up with Kenny "Butch" Hamilton (formerly of the R&B group, the Sonics, who recorded for Groove) and soon added backing vocalist Billy Nelson. Soon after their initial November 1955 session, Carlisle's cousin Richard Blandon joined the group after leaving the Air Force. Now the four were five. In February 1956, they released the single "Walk Along."

The Five Wings soon met up with another Harlem-based group, the Scale-Tones, (who had just recorded their first and only single for Joe Davis' Jay Dee label). The Scale-Tones were Cleveland Still (lead), James Montgomery (tenor), Jake Miller (aka James Miller, baritone), and Thomas Gardner (bass). After some prompting by Blandon (who wanted to sing lead), a new group emerged from the two. This lineup featured Richard Blandon (lead), Billy Carlisle (second tenor), Cleveland Still (first tenor), Jake Miller (baritone), and Thomas Gardner (bass). The Five Wings' manager, Hiram Johnson (brother of famed musician and bandleader Buddy Johnson), offered to manage the new group. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the group joined other acts: Grate joined the Vocaltones (Apollo), while Butch Hamilton joined the Bop Chords (Holiday).

The Blandon-led group -- at first calling themselves the Marvels (not to be confused with the Mar-Vells) -- were inspired by other popular doo wop groups of the day, including the Harptones, the Wanderers, and the Spaniels. They were signed to ABC Paramount Records late in 1956 and issued their first single in November. Manager Johnson later decided to form his own label, Johnson Records, and in early 1957, the Marvels changed their name to the Dubs.

Their first single under this moniker -- the Blandon-penned "Don't Ask Me to Be Lonely" -- was released in March. Radio jumped on the single immediately and Johnson soon found himself with a local hit that required a national distributor, so he met with George Goldner (of Gee/Gone/Tico fame) and the Dubs soon found themselves on Goldner's Gone label. On July 15, some five months after its initial release, "Don't Ask Me" finally made its way on to the national pop charts, peaking at number 74, though it was Top Ten on many local East Coast radio station surveys at its high point. In August, just before the quintet returned to the studio, bassman Thomas Gardner left and was replaced by former Five Wings bassman Tommy Grate.

Next up was Blandon's "Could This Be Magic" and by the first week of November, the Dubs had their second national pop Top 40 song of the year. It would ultimately become their biggest hit, rising to number 23. Surprisingly, "Could This Be Magic" (nor any of the other Dubs singles for that matter) ever landed on the R&B charts.

The Dubs continued to tour extensively in the U.S. and Canada. Subsequent singles from the group failed to connect, however. In November 1958, after the group's "Chapel of Dreams" was released to little reaction, the Dubs, disappointed over the meager earnings in their chosen career, decided to call it a day.

In July 1959, some eight months after its initial release, "Chapel of Dreams" was reissued by their label and by this time, Cleveland Still was already working as a shipping clerk when he heard the song on the radio. The single quickly jumped into the Top 100 on August 24th, rising to number 74 after six weeks, and proved to be the Dubs' last charting single (even after the group had given up recording together). He still couldn't believe what he was hearing and continued to work, but it didn't go unnoticed by the rest of the group.

The other Dubs -- thinking they were being given a second chance -- came together again, replacing Still with Cordell Brown, and they re-signed with ABC Paramount, the same label they were with three years before as the Marvels. Though all five of their second wave of ABC singles were fine recordings, their two year run -- from November 1959 to November 1961 -- yielded no results. Still eventually returned for one final ABC-Paramount single, "Down Down Down I Go." In early 1962, they were going back to Goldner for one End release, one Gone release, and one for Wilshire. In 1963, Cordell was back up in the lineup, replacing Still for the second time, and the Dubs signed with Josie to record for one side of an album, called The Dubs Meet the Shells, (in the tradition of The Paragons Meet the Jesters).

By the '70s, the Dubs were still clinging to life, now as a trio featuring Blandon, Still, and Kirk Harris (tenor). This new Dubs trio recorded an LP of previously recorded Dubs songs for the Candlelite label. David Shelly (baritone) joined in 1973 for two more singles, but the Dubs' popular chart successes were clearly behind them. In 1973, four unreleased sides from the early 1957 Hiram Johnson session showed up on his Johnson Records and were more than likely purchased by collectors only.

All total, the Dubs (at least the groups featuring lead vocalist Richard Blandon) recorded for ten record labels, from the '50s through the mid-'70s, but never enjoyed much in the way of success or made any headway outside doo wop circles. In the '80s, Cleveland Still returned with his own Dubs oldies group, whose lineup featured Bernard Jones (of Doc Green's Drifters), Steve Brown and John Truesdale (of the Charts), and Leslie Anderson. ~ Bryan Thomas
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Connie / Home Under My Hat (Digital 45)

1. Connie

2. Home Under My Hat

x

Track List: Could This Be Magic

1. Chapel Of Dreams

2. Could This Be Magic

3. Song In My Heart

4. Gonna Make A Change

5. Darling

6. Such Lovin'

7. Beside My Love

8. You're Free To Go

9. Is There A Love For Me

10. Your Very First Love

11. Be Sure My Love

12. Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely

13. This To Me Is Love

Comments

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Ask me for the moon
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Maybe somewhere someday I I'll find her
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The best years of my life
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Larry kool gent doo wop is the best see at the doo wop in twin lakes wi
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Chapel of dreams
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mike3345mike
reminds me of 16 candles.
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The Dubs are top shelf in doo wop annals
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Me n my frind gene Wagner would sit on my stoop every summer night in the 50sn 60s and listen to do wop with a100ft cord n small radio
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I grew up bklyn all we afford was a small radio a these songs
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Be sure was my favorite Dubs song Believe it or not I still have the 45's
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Man this song brings back good memories
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Danced to this song at my wedding
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My uncle Richard Blandon was the lead singer of the Dubs and my dad William Carlisle was also in the group the original Dubs my favorite song is Could this be magic yes this is good music great voices
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Could this be Magic ONE of many Dubs great songs - did you hear Porky Chedwick died Mar 2 2014 ? he was 96
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My favourite Dubs song is" Be Sure My Love. DoowopJew
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The dubs what a group I love all of there songs great harmony!!! Iam from the 60s but I love the50s n up!!! Go doo wap doo wap
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Beautiful song! I love do op
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jtly66
This Is One Of The Top Ten In Oldies, Great Song/Group
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Richard blanden awesome lead singer !!
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Is There a Love for Me...sounds like I'm listening to the Bossman Porky...the Platter-push i n - p a p a . . . t h e Daddio of the Raddio
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how about is there a love for me? another great by the Dubs
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The Dubs were SO great. It sure is sad they are recognized for 2 songs-Could This Magic and Chapel Of Dreams-SO SAD PEOPLE DO NOT GOOD SONGS.
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Be Sure My Love IS THE BEST song the Dubs made and sang. :-)
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Beautiful for Larry
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The Dubs are great. They are one of the best R&B group of the 50's, you do well Pandora,keep it up!!!!
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The Dub, one of doo wops best groups.
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smw3971
Great song Love it
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djjp1049
DJJP HERE WELL HER IT IS THE BEST OF THE BEST. CHAPEL OF DREAMS
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djjp1049
ONE OF MURRAY THE KAYS FAVORITE SONG
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djjp1049
DJJP U GUYS FORGOT ABOUT CHAPEL OF DREAMS MY FAVORITE 3 PART HARMONY.
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one of the groups porky helped get going
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check out their version of wisdom of a fool,pricele s s
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to my loving wife Linda from Ro
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Voice full of harmony!!!
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Also check out Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely soooooo cool!
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The Dubs are so cool.....one of the better NY Doo Wop groups. Check out their other hits like: Is There A Love For Me and Could This Be Magic
David D.
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julian_rowan d
the dubs
the dubs
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my days
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jerrydouglas 4
Brings back memories of my cruising in So. Cal
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billvo6
wow
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WOW!!!!!!GRE A T ! ! ! ! ! B R I N G S BACK SO MANY MEMORIES !!!
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jncaracciolo
Boy do I still love this song. Hail to Doo Wop !!!
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Loved all of the Doo Wop grou;s and R&B, what a great era to have been born!
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jncaracciolo
I also grew up with this music. No better music to slow dance to with that special girl. Their harmony took you to another level of feeling and the heart beat rapidly. Doo Wop and R&B formed my young memories and I still love it. Thanks Pandora for your great station.
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bootarican
i grew up on this music my teenage puppy love had the most pure falsetto i have ever heard god bless you willie jenkins thanks for the stair well sessions in the projects
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Real music, oh so good.
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very very very good oldies
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Pandora is the best thing that has happened to radio since FM! I'm a life long paid subscriber to Sirius but their selection of music stations sucks! I only wish I could get Pandora on my car radio. I use my smart phone w. Pandora install and use a connecting cord into the cassette deck (w.an adapter) so that I can take Pandora on the road. I love it. This doo wop station is one of my favs. The Dubs were truly one to the best but neglected doo wop groups.
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jcsilvis
This is Magic!!!
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This sure beats rap......... . . . . . . . . . . .
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