The Checkers: White Cliffs Of Dover - The Very Best Of The Checkers (CD)
(Collectables) 22 tracks (56:59) original King recordings  ,- The Checkers were formed as an off-shoot of the wildly successful
vocal group The Dominoes. Billy Ward's group had one of the first R
&, B hits that also made the Pop charts as well in Sixty Minute Man
in 1951. Although most of The Dominoes recordings for Federal Records
featured a young Clyde McPhatter, who would go on to fame as the founder
of The Drifters and later as a solo artist, Sixty Minute Man was sung
by the bass of The Dominoes, Bill Brown. It was Brown, along with fellow
Dominoes member Charlie White, who left the group in 1952 to form their
own group, The Checkers.
The Checkers began recording for King
Records in 1952. Because their sound was so similar to The Dominoes,
there was immedi-ate speculation that they were actually The Dominoes
recording for the main label of the Federal subsidiary. The Checkers
were a quartet, as we know by the one surviving pic-ture of the group.
The other two original mem-bers were John Carnegie and someone only
remembered as "Joe." The Checkers first recording session took place on
June 20, 1952. Their first single cou-pled Oh, Oh, Oh Baby with Flame In
My Heart and was released in August. A second record-ing session on
September 19, 1952 yielded their second release in November, 1952 when
Let Me Come Back was paired with Night's Curtains. The group's third
release in January, 1953 took My Prayer Tonight from the first session
and placed it with Love Wasn't There ifrom the second session.
this point, Charlie White left The Checkers to become the lead singer
of The Clovers for about a year, replacing original lead singer Buddy
Bailey while he was in the army. He was replaced in The Checkers by
someone remembered only as "Teddy." Shortly after this, John Carnegie
was draft-ed as well. He was replaced by Perry Heyward. The Checkers
returned to the recording studio on April 17, 1953 specifi-cally to
cover / Wanna Know, which was a big hit by RCA Victor's group The
Du-Droppers. The Checkers version was cou-pled with Ghost Of My Baby on
which Heyward does his best McPhatter imitation. This single was
released in April, 1953.
Heyward did not stay for long with The
Checkers, leaving in the summer of 1953 to return to his previous group
The Sparrows. Heyward's replacement in The Checkers was Little David
Baughan. The Checkers next session took place on September 26, 1953, and
produced their best seller, White Cliffs Of Dover. The single was
coupled with a track left over from the group's first recording date,
Without A Song. Released in October, 1953, it must have been a slow but
steady seller because it never made the national charts, but appeared as
a "Territorial Tip" in the trade papers for Los Angeles in March, 1954.
other sides cut at the session with White
Cliffs Of Dover,Y You Never Had It So Good and I Promise You were
released as a single almost simultaneously with it, being only two
numbers apart on King Records. Their next recording session on March 12,
1954 produced The Checkers next two singles. Don't Stop Dan, a belated
answer to Sixty Minute Man, was coupled with House With No Windows, a
song that was later recorded by King's biggest selling vocal group, Hank
Ballard and The Midnighters. It was released in April, 1954. Don't Stop
Dan also sold well for The Checkers, as evidenced by two "Territorial
Tip" listings: Charlotte, in June and Cincinnati, in July. You've Been
Fooling Around and Over The Rainbow from the same recording session
became The Checkers next release in June, 1954.
left The Checkers in late spring to replace Clyde McPhatter of The
Drifters (who had also been drafted!). Bill Brown now formed an entirely
new Checkers group with Eddie Harris from The Blue Dots on DeLuxe
Records, David Martin (from Percy Heyward's group The Sparrows),
and James Williams. This group's first ses-sion took place on October 1,
1954, and as with their previous session, produced their next two
singles. Mama's Daughter, another belated answer record (to Ruth Brown's
Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean from the spring of 1953) was coupled
with / Wasn't Thinkin', I Was Drinkin' and released in November, 1954.
Can't Find My Sadie and Trying To Hold My Gal from the same session was
The Checkers tenth and final release in December, 1954.
seems strange, because the group had finally become popu-lar enough to
be booked by Universal Attractions in a package show which toured the
South and Midwest from November to January with Dinah Washington, Danny
Overbea and Cootie Williams (with James Moody replacing Williams'
orchestra towards the end of the tour). As a footnote to their career,
King released one final single under the name The Checkers in 1958,
Heaven Only Knows backed with Nine More Miles. It is unknown if any of
the original group members were involved in this recording.
recorded on his own for Savoy Records as Little David and The Harps in
1955, and as Little David for Mercury in 1958. Likewise, Charlie White
cut a single of his own for Winley Records in 1957. Eddie Harris had
joined the Marktones who recorded for Ember in 1957. The Checkers were
an excellent vocal group that King Records must have had a lot of faith
in, because they released eleven records by them without the benefit of a
major hit. It certainly wasn't for lack of ability, as a listen to the
contents of this CD will , , , , quickly attest. (Victor Pearlin)
Article properties: The Checkers: White Cliffs Of Dover - The Very Best Of The Checkers (CD)