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The Magic Tones

The Magic-Tones were among the myriad Baltimore/D.C. doo wop outfits to emerge in the wake of local heroes and R&B icons the Orioles. According to the profile at Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks website, lead tenor Joe "Rice" Reed, first tenor Arthur "Boxy" Williams, second tenor/guitarist Gene Hawkins, and bass Willie Stokes formed the group in Baltimore in 1951. Originally dubbed the Five Kings, they briefly performed as the Dreamers before settling on the Magic-Tones. After becoming a staple of the Baltimore club circuit, the quartet in 1952 signed a management deal with Bill Robertson and Homer Murray, fresh off their success negotiating an Atlantic Records deal for local act the Tilters -- Robertson and Murray also bequeathed the Magic-Tones a clutch of original songs, among them "When I Kneel Down to Pray," which served as the A-side of the group's 1953 King label debut. "How Can You Treat Me This Way?" followed a few months later, and when neither disc garnered much attention at radio, King halted plans for a third session. In early 1954, Stokes was drafted into military duty, and with new bass Henry Abrams, the Magic-Tones played the famed Apollo Theater as part of a King Records showcase headlined by the Midnighters and the Checkers. A full-fledged tour was planned, but Abrams opted to return to his previous group, the Marylanders, and the Magic-Tones soon dissolved. In early 1956, Stokes returned to Baltimore following his service discharge and recruited Williams and Hawkins for a new Magic-Tones lineup that also featured lead tenor Bobby "Trey" Jackson and second tenor Robert "Shue" McGhee. Two years later, this version of the group cut "Spanish Love Song" for the tiny Howfum label before splitting. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Vocal Groups: Classic Doo Wop

Disc 1

4. Swing Is The Thing

6. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water

7. If I Didn't Care

9. Whispering Grass

11. That's The Rhythm

12. I Like Pie, I Like Cake

13. Milk Shake Stand

15. The Blues Can Jump

17. Hoe Cake, Hominy And Sassafras Tea

20. Write Me A Letter

21. Around About Midnite

23. It's Too Soon To Know

Disc 2

1. Too Much Of A Little Bit

3. Lemon Squeezing Daddy

5. My Baby's Gone

6. How Could You

8. Will You Be Mine

10. Make Me Thrill Again

11. Mary Jo

12. Ting-A-Ling

13. Stormy Weather

14. Eyesight To The Blind

15. The Glory Of Love

17. Good Googa Mooga

18. Just Walking In The Rain

20. Money Honey

21. Gee

22. I Found Out

23. A Sunday Kind Of Love

24. Get With It

Disc 3

1. Be Bop Wino

2. Feel So Good

3. Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite

5. Tell Me

6. Big Leg Mama

8. Is It A Dream

11. Hearts Of Stone

12. Baby Let Me Bang Your Box

13. The Stars Are Out Tonight

15. Gloria

16. Riot In Cell Block No.9

17. Oop Shoop

18. Grief By Day, Grief By Night

19. What Do You Do

20. Mary Lee

23. Buick '59

24. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)

25. Newly Wed

Disc 4

1. Smokey Joe's Cafe

2. You Didn't Learn It At Home

3. Witchcraft

4. Chop Chop Boom

5. Rollin' Stone

6. No No Cherry

7. My Angel

9. The Door Is Still Open

10. That's Your Mistake

11. Baby Let's Play House

12. Be Bop Baby

14. Hug A Little, Kiss A Little

16. When You Dance

17. At My Front Door

18. Lonely Nights

19. Red Hots And Chili Mac

20. Bye Bye

21. A Story Untold

22. Don't Play No Mambo

23. Peace And Contentment

24. Nobody Knows

26. The Great Pretender

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