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The Danderliers

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Biography

The Danderliers (not to be confused with the Danleers) called themselves by this made-up name, supposedly an offshoot of the dandelion flower, hoping to differentiate themselves from all the car and bird-named groups on the doo wop scene at the time. The original members -- James Campbell (lead on slow sides), Dallas Taylor (lead on fast sides), Bernard Dixon (first tenor), Walter Stephenson (baritone), and Richard Thomas (bass) -- came together in early 1955, near Cottage Grove between 60th and 68th Streets on Chicago's South Side. They had all attended classes at either the Chicago Vocational High. or Englewood High School, and upon graduating, began to practice in nearby Washington Park. They were originally inspired by bluesier R&B acts like the Dells, the Du Droppers, and the Dominos, and later by labelmates, the Moroccos. During these early days in the group's history, they trudged over to nearby United Records to audition on frequent occasions, and each time they were turned away. One day, the group were still feeling the sting of rejection after one such audition failed to nab them a recording contract, and had gathered together in the park to work on a song that would develop into "Chop Chop Boom." At that very moment Sam Smith of United Records, drove by, heard the group, and hauled them into his brother Al Smith's basement rehearsal hall. Together they worked on polishing "Chop," and a beautiful ballad, "My Autumn Love," both written by Dallas Taylor. These two songs were the first Danderliers single released on United's States label. By the first week of April 1955, "My Autumn Love" was hitting the Chicago airwaves, and many disc jockeys flipped over the flip side, "Chop Chop Boom," too. Later, both songs hit the Billboard R&B charts and shot to number ten on the Disc Jockey lists and number 14 on the Best Seller scorecard, respectively. Mercury Recordseven had their Crew-Cuts cover the song (the flipside of "Don't Be Angry," it charted at number 14 on the R&B charts in the spring of 1955). The Dandeliers performed their minor hit before crowds in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Ohio, and built up a solid repertoire of cover songs to perform, like "Glory of Love" (the 5 Keys), "Jump Children" (the Flamingos), and " "Pardon My Tears" by former schoolmates and current labelmates the Moroccos. The group's second single, "New Way," was released in the third week of July. The cha-cha rocker featured Taylor and the group repeating the refrain "Dally's got a new way." (Dally was a nickname of Dallas Taylor). It's been said that when someone in the record company asked, "Dally's got a new way to what?," the answer from the lead singer caused a bit of controversy. States Records decided that they'd better come up with an answer of their own, in case anyone asked, and re-titled it "Shu-Wop." Regardless of what it was called, the single received a lot of airplay in Chicago, but nothing much beyond the regional area. A third single, the gospel doo wop ballad "May God Be With You," and the Danderliers' final single, another fine ballad titled "My Love," caused nary a ripple beyond the local area as well, and with no management direction the group soon disbanded. A few unreleased demos were done for Mercury later, and Dallas Taylor recorded one record in 1961 as a member of a revised Dells ("Swingin' Teens" for the Vee-Jay label), but not much was heard from them again until they reunited for "All the Way" (Midas Records) in 1967. Dallas Taylor passed away on November 14, 1986. At his funeral, the former members of the Danderliers sang "May God Be With You." ~ Bryan Thomas

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