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The Serenaders

Even the most avid Motown fanatics are unaware of the Serenaders, yet the New York-based group cut their final single on Motown's VIP label. Forming in 1956, the central figures were George Kerr, Sidney Barnes, and Timothy "Andre" Wilson, and various other members serenaded in out and out over the years. They debuted on Chock Full of Hits records with "Never Let Me Go" b/w "I Wrote a Letter" in 1957. When it started to move, MGM records acquired it for mass distribution in 1958. It sold enough locally to get the guys another shot at MGM, but "Dance, Darling Dance" b/w "Give Me a Girl" (1958) never got to first base and the associated ended. In 1959, they dropped "How Do You Mend a Broken Heart" on the Cross Country label, but sales were disappointing.

The lion's share of the Serenaders' material was written by George Kerr with some collaborations with Sidney Barnes and others. Later in 1959, they moseyed over to Rae-Cox records for one release, "My Girl Flip Flop" b/w "Gotta Go to School," two good well-sung novelty types that failed to register. Members splintered, but the core members stayed in touch, and after many false starts and unfulfilled promises got another chance in 1963 on Riverside records with "Adios My Love" b/w "Two Lovers Make One Fool."

They never sold well outside the New York/Jersey/Philly area. What should have been a big break with Motown became a major letdown. Signed by Raynoma Gordy out of Motown's New York office, the Serenaders never got a real shot. Even though they were blessed with George Kerr, a songwriting fool, and the major reason Raynoma signed them in the first place; Sidney Barnes, also a constant writer, with a vocal range from first tenor to bass, and Timothy Wilson, who sounded like Little Anthony.

Motown finally released the Serenaders' "If Your Heart Says Yes," a Kerr/Barnes composition, on its VIP label in 1964; it possessed loads of charm, and with promotion could have went places, but neglect caused it to flop miserably. You won't find it on any of the many Motown compilations albums, cassettes, or compact disks. Temptations Eddie Kendricks and Elbridge Bryant sang with the Serenaders on the A-side and its flip "I'll Cry Tomorrow." Shortly after that, they broke up. Timothy Wilson married Raynoma's sister Alice; Wilson previously sung with Tiny Tim & the Hits on Roulette records. Sidney Barnes did some solo's and got into producing, as did George Kerr who was more successful. Kerr produced Linda Jones' "Hypnotized," and stellar sides for the Whatnauts, the O'Jays, the Moments, Lonnie Youngblood, and others, in addition to singing with Little Anthony & the Imperials on their New Time recordings. ~ Andrew Hamilton
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Red Robin R&B Story

Disc 1

1. Shake Baby Shake

2. Don't Dog Your Woman

3. Jackpot

4. Too Much Competition

6. Be Good To Yourself

7. Bobby's Boogie

8. Doggin' My Heart Around

9. Won't You Come Home Baby

10. Hard Rock

11. Stumbling Block Blues

12. Juicy Fruit

13. The Man I Crave

14. Chain Me Baby

16. Ive Got A Feeling

17. Wiggles

18. Drunk Again

Disc 2

1. Shim Sham Shimmy

2. My Kind Of Woman

3. Jump For George

4. Cant Do Sixty No More

5. Daisy

6. Ghost Town

8. Highway Blues

9. Crying My Heart Out

10. You Didnt Give Me A Chance

12. Harmonica Hop

13. I Want To Love You Baby

14. Second Floor Rear

15. Go Back

17. Tippin'

18. The Hammer

x

Track List: The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 4

Disc 1

1. Castles In The Sand

2. Thank You (For Loving Me All The Way

6. Shambles

8. The Way You Do The Things You Do

9. Just Let Me Know

10. If Your Heart Says Yes

11. I'll Cry Tomorrow

12. He's A Good Guy (Yes He Is)

13. Goddess Of Love

14. How Can We Tell Him

15. Better Late Than Never

16. Run, Run, Run

17. I'm Giving You Your Freedom

20. (You Can't Let The Boy Overpower) The Man In You

21. Heartbreak Road

22. Only You

23. Right Now

24. Give Me A Kiss

25. She's My Baby

26. You're A Wonderful One

27. When I'm Alone I Cry

Disc 2

1. Can You Do It

2. I'll Stand By You

3. Set Me Free

5. Poor Girl

6. (Like A) Nightmare

7. If You Were Mine

8. Midnight Johnny

9. Keep Me

10. My Guy

11. Oh Little Boy (What Did You Do To Me)

14. Devil With The Blue Dress

15. Wind It Up

16. Every Little Bit Hurts

17. Land Of A Thousand Boys

18. Bringin' In The Gold

19. I've Been A Long Time Leaving

20. Satisfied Mind

21. That's What's Happenin'

22. Once Upon A Time

23. What's The Matter With You Baby

24. Just Ain't Enough Love

25. I'll Be In Trouble

26. The Girl's Alright With Me

Disc 3

1. Hey Harmonica Man

2. This Little Girl

3. Little Acorn

4. Cold As Usual

5. You're Just Like You

6. Here Comes That Heartache

7. Try It Baby

8. If My Heart Could Sing

10. I Like It Like That

11. You're So Fine And Sweet

12. You're My Remedy

13. A Little Bit Of Sympathy, A Little Bit Of Love

14. Where Did Our Love Go

15. He Means The World To Me

16. Jimmy Brown

17. Everybody's Angel

18. I'll Always Love You

19. Sad Song

20. When I'm Gone

21. Guarantee (For A Lifetime)

22. Baby I Need Your Loving

23. Call On Me

24. Since I've Lost You

25. I Want Her Love

26. You Make Me Happy

27. You Never Looked Better

28. Candy To Me

29. If You Don't Want My Love

Disc 4

1. Dancing In The Street

3. Baby I Miss You

4. Leaving Here

5. My Smile Is Just A Frown Turned Upside Down

6. I'll Come Running

7. Looking For The Right Guy

8. Feel Alright Tonight

9. Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)

10. Baby Baby I Need You

11. My Lil's Run Off

12. Spanish Lace And Memories

13. Satan's Blues

14. Monkey Jump

15. Bread Winner

16. You've Got To Change

17. It's A Crying Shame (The Way You Treat A Good Man Like Me)

18. Out To Get You

19. That's What Love Is Made Of

20. Would I Love You

21. Lifetime Man

22. Mr. Lonely Heart

23. Baby Don't You Do It

24. Walk On The Wild Side

25. Needle In A Haystack

26. Should I Tell Them

27. Happy Street

28. Sad Boy

Disc 5

1. Baby Love

2. Ask Any Girl

4. I'll Be Available

5. Soul Stomp

6. Hot 'n' Tot

7. What Good Am I Without You

8. I Want You 'round

9. Who You Gonna Run To

11. Sweet Thing

12. How Can I

13. Hello Love

14. The Further You Look, The Less You See

15. Tonight's The Night

16. You're Bad News

17. Too Many Fish In The Sea

18. A Need For Love

19. Come See About Me

20. You're Gone (But Always In My Heart)

22. Tears In Vain

25. Love Has Gone

26. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

27. Forever

28. A Little More Love

29. Go Ahead And Laugh

Disc 6

3. When Someone's Good To You

4. My Heart

5. Can You Jerk Like Me

6. That Day When She Needed Me

8. Baby Don't You Go

9. Randy, The Newspaper Boy

10. Happy Ghoul Tide

11. Talkin' To Your Picture

12. Our Rhapsody

13. Ever Since The World Began

14. Long Long Time Ago

15. This Is The Life

16. My Way

17. My Girl

18. (Talkin' 'Bout) Nobody But My Baby

19. Come See About Me

20. Pride And Joy

21. Put Me In Your Pocket

22. The Miles

23. He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'

24. Throw A Farewell Kiss

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