From left to right: Alvin Thomas, Woodrow Blake and Jimmy Shelbourne.
Top: Bobby Freeman.
The Romancers was a short-lived San Francisco vocal group that recorded one session for Dooto Records in Los Angeles and another for the Baytone label in their home town. The original members were Texas-born Alvin Thomas, Texas-born Woodrow "Bobo" Blake, Tyrone French, Jimmy Shelbourne and Bobby Freeman. Alvin's brother James Thomas was also briefly in the group and helped write their songs, but he soon joined the Navy.
In late 1955 the group drove to Los Angeles to record for Dootsie Williams, who was still hot from his success with local group The Penguins, The Medallions and Don Julian & The Meadowlarks. They recorded four songs: "I Still Remember," "House Cat," "This Is Goodbye" and "Jump and Hop."
"I Still Remember," released in February 1956, is the best song of the lot, reminiscent of San Francisco's Gaylarks, who recorded for Music City Records in Berkeley. "I Still Remember" sold respectably in a few West Coast markets. The second single, "Jump and Hop," is a hot dance number that gave Dooto's then-bandleader Chuck Higgins plenty of room to honk a 16-bar solo on his tenor saxophone.
The group later recorded for their manager Brad Taylor's label, Baytone, before breaking up. Bobby Freeman went on to have a couple of Top 5 hits under his own name, including "Do You Wanna Dance" and "Do the Swim." Alvin Thomas continued to work in the music business until his death in Brooklyn in 1997. His brother James died in Brooklyn thirteen years earlier, in 1984. Tyrone French, who sang lead on "I Still Remember" (he was 15 at the time), died in Monrovia, California, in 1994. And Bobo Blake died in San Francisco in 1991.
This group is apparently not The Romancers who recorded on Flip, Palette, Celebrity, Marquee and Beacon.
Baytone's owner Brad Taylor (left) and his brother Victor "Vic La Val"
Taylor (right) present Alvin Taylor with his 1958 Romancers single.
|Dooto 381||"I Still Remember"/"House Cat"||1956|
|Dooto 404||"This Is Goodbye"/"Jump and Hop"||1956|
|Baytone 101||"You Don't Understand"/"Baby, I Love You So"||1958|
|Ace CDCHD 588||Dootone Doo-Wop, Volume 2 (all 4 Dooto cuts)||1997|
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