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If Sidney Caldwell, Terry Lee Evans, Marion Knight, and Al Sanders lived in New York or Philly in 1961, they would undoubtedly have hit the big time as one of the best doo-wop groups ever. Instead, there were few recording opportunities for The Vels in Jackson, Mississippi. Their sole record came about when 17- year-old Tim Whitsett convinced a local jeweler /  label owner to let him take The Vels into the studio. Backed by Whitsett’s band, The Vels cut two originals for Trebco Records, “Mysterious Teenage” and “Please Be Mine”. Recorded in a single-car garage with a single track tape recorder, the record has become a doo-wop favorite over the past 50 years.
 

The Carvettes were students at Jim Hill High School in Jackson. Al Goodman, Charles Haynes, Albert Brown, Tommy Harden, and Walter Catchings were managed by Jobie Martin, a DJ who gave them a 15-minute segment on his WOKJ program every Saturday morning. The radio exposure led to a contract with Copa Records (1962). The label’s only other artist was Sam Baker. The ‘A’ Side of the Carvettes’ single was "A Lovers Prayer". Sam Baker’s single was “So Long” with the Carvettes featured prominently as backup singers. Of the Carvettes, only Al Goodman pursued a music career, first with The Moments and later co-founding Ray, Goodman, & Brown.
 

Another group of Jackson teenagers caught Jobie Martin’s ear in 1962. The Caprees were Maurice Tony Gray, Willie “Butch” Johnson, Robert “Earl” Johnson and Charles “Chuck” Guy. Jobie linked them with Bob McRee, owner of the same studio that hosted The Vels’ session. McRee called in Tim Whitsett to provide the backing band for “If I Should Lose You” and “Where There’s a Will”. Released on McRee’s Buccaneer label, the disc had regional success. Later, the group traveled to Detroit and was signed to Golden World by producer Don Davis. Changing their name to The Holidays, their debut single (“I’ll Love You Forever”) was a hit. Coincidentally, Don later joined Stax Records in Memphis, and hired Tim Whitsett to run the music publishing division East/Memphis Music, proving that it is indeed a small world.

 

 


   
 

PLEASE BE MINE

(THE VELS)

 

MYSTERIOUS TEENAGE

(THE VELS)

 

A LOVER’S PRAYER

(THE CARVETTES)

 

SO LONG

(THE CARVETTES, SAM BAKER)

 

IF I SHOULD LOSE YOU

(THE CAPREES)

 

WHERE THERE’S A WILL

(THE CAPREES)

   

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