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The Carols

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Biography

The Carols were one of the first R&B vocal groups to sign to a major record label. According to Marv Goldberg's profile in the 1974 issue of Bim Bam Boom, the Detroit-based quintet began its existence in 1948 as a gospel act dubbed the Unity Baptist Five. Formed by Ford Motor Company co-workers Richard Coleman (first tenor), William Davis (second tenor), Wilbert Tindle (baritone), Tommy Evans (bass), and James Worthy (pianist/arranger), the group made the decision to cross over from spiritual music to secular due in large part to Evans' uncanny vocal similarities to the Ravens' influential bass singer Jimmy Ricks. After the Carols won a local amateur showcase at Detroit's Frolic Show Bar, the club's owner, Hyman Gastman, agreed to become their manager, organizing a trip to New York City where the group backed jazz great Lionel Hampton on the DuMont Network's series Cavalcade of Bands. The appearance led to an audition with Columbia, which in the summer of 1950 issued the Carols' debut single, "Please Believe in Me." The record failed to attract much attention, and a similar fate befell the follow-up, "If I Could Steal You from Somebody Else." Upon returning to Detroit, Coleman exited the lineup, and with new first tenor Kenneth Duncan, the Carols continued touring the Motor City nightclub circuit, eventually swapping Gastman for new manager Al Green. After an announced deal with Decca fell through, Green negotiated a record deal with Savoy that yielded the group's 1953 swan song, "I've Got a Feeling." In the spring of 1954, Evans was recruited to the Ravens to replace the outgoing Ricks, spelling the Carols' demise. ~ Jason Ankeny