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The Calvanes

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Biography

While they only recorded a handful of singles, the Calvanes are part of doo wop history. Carlye Dundee, Bobby Adams, Sterling Meade, Stewart Crunk, and Jack Harris formed at Manual Arts High School in South Central Los Angeles. The naturally pop-sounding quintet recorded, "Never/Evil One" on Space Records as Carlyle Dundee & the Dundees in 1954. After it failed, Dundee left, and the remaining four recorded another record for Space, "Bob Bop Baby/Little Girl," as the Wonders, with Bobby Adams leading. Like the first, it did little and they disbanded. In 1955, Crunk and Adams still had the music bug and regrouped with Jack Harris, Joe Hampton, and Herman Pruitt. Crunk picked the name Calvanes out the air, it meant nothing, they just liked the way it sounded. They practiced the Four Freshmen songs diligently, the quartet was their main influence. In 1956 they signed with Dootsie Williams' Dootone Records, in South Central, Los Angeles. While more adept singing straight pop music, Williams insisted they record R&B, probably because he had no idea or inclination for marketing and promoting pop music. Whereas he knew the R&B jocks and distribution channels. The Calvanes recorded seven songs for Dootone, but only two were released: "Don't Take Your Love (From Me)/Crazy Over You," and "Florabelle/One Kiss." Copies of "Flee-O-Wee/They Call Me Fool" are floating around, but it was bootlegged, Dootone never officially released the recording. "Don't Take Your Love (From Me)" while only a local/regional hit, was the Calvanes most popular recording, Pruitt sang lead on both sides, and the guys appeared on Hunter Hancock's Rhythm & Bluesville show. The second Dootone release, "Florabelle," bombed. To this day, the song can't be found on any vinyl, cassette, or CD. Rumor has it that Dootsie recorded the song as a favor for the D.J. who had written it -- the group, Williams, and the public hated it. Regrouping as a quartet in 1958, the Calvanes recorded two singles for Hite Morgan's Deck Records: "Dream World/5, 7 or 9," and "My Love Song/Horror Movies." Pruitt sang lead on "Dream World," and "My Love Song," Fred Willis led "Horror Pictures," and Willis and Crunk co-led "5, 7, or 9." "Dream World" was a beautiful song and garnered some airplay, but that hit record still eluded them. In between the Dootone and the Deck stints, Herman Pruitt joined the Youngsters along with Donald Miller, Charles Everidge, James Warren, Homer Green, and Harold Murray to record two singles for Empire Records in 1956/1957: "Dreamy Eyes"/"Christmas in Jail," and "Dreamy Eyes/"I'm Sorry Now." In 1959, Bobby Adams joined with Rodney Gooden, Val Polluto, and two others to form the Hitmakers, who recorded one single for Original Soul Records entitled "Chapel of Love/Cool School." Pruitt later reunited with Bobby Adams, Freddie Willis, and newcomer Sidney Dunbar to formed the Nuggets, who recorded two RCA singles in 1961/1962: "Angel on the Dance Floor/Before We Say Goodnight," and "Cap Snapper/Just a Friend." Same results, however, no chart busters. Fed up, the guys quit and took regular jobs. They never made much money in music, and had only a few tours (Johnny Otis Show), and television appearances to relish. Bobby Adams became a policeman and worked as the bodyguard for Mayor Tom Bradley. The others worked at good but undistinguished jobs in the Los Angeles area. The Calvanes regrouped in 1990 and have performed in many oldies/doo wop shows in Southern California. They even recorded and released a new single on Classic Artists Records, "Take Me Back" backed with "Have You No Heart." Their handful of releases, except "Florabelle" can be found on various compilation CD's. They're considered the most polished doo wop group in Southern California. ~ Andrew Hamilton