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The Flares

Known for their 1961 up-tempo dance doo wop hit "Foot Stompin', Pt. 1," the Flares were related to, but not exactly the same as, the 1950s Los Angeles doo wop group the Flairs. The lineup changes undergone by both the Flairs and the Flares are difficult to track and digest, but basically the Flairs were formed by teenagers in L.A. in the early '50s and founded by future the Coasters member Cornell Gunter. Managed by Buck Ram (whose most famous clients were the Platters), the Flairs recorded for Modern, ABC-Paramount, and Antler. By 1960, just two of the original Flairs -- Tommy Miller and George Hollis -- were left, the quartet had expanded to a quintet, and female singer Beverly Harris was a member. At that point, they were recording for Felsted and changed their name to the Flares.

"Foot Stompin', Pt. 1," boasting infectious interaction between the lead harmonizers, the bass singer, and rhythms that were indeed created by foot stomps, got to number 25 in late 1961. The Flares never followed that up with another hit, though they recorded more than half a dozen subsequent singles over the next couple of years or so, occasionally under the name the Peppers. Many of these sides were too-similar variations on the early soul-dance craze vibe that had fueled "Foot Stompin', Pt. 1," sometimes featuring lead female vocals. It's hard to keep up with the exact personnel shuffles of the lineup during the early '60s, but Aaron Collins (who wrote much of the Flares' material, including "Foot Stompin', Pt. 1") and Willie Davis were certainly involved in singing on their recordings and shared lead vocals on "Foot Stompin', Pt. 1," though they weren't always identified as members in publicity materials. Even more confusingly, several female singers recorded and performed with the group (who were pictured in press shots as a quintet with four guys and one girl), and the Flares that toured were not always the same as the Flares that recorded in the studio. At any rate, not many were paying attention to such matters by the time they disbanded around 1964. ~ Richie Unterberger
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foot stompin...ta u g h t it to my sister May

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