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The Hepsters

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The Hepsters was one of the most exciting groups of Cleveland Ohio's doo-wop era. The five fellows got together at East Technical High School and would practice their harmonies in the schools' hallways loving the echo effects. Their lineup consisted of Paul Hayes, Carl Young, Raymond Harvin, Joe Little Williams, and a fifth member whose name nobody remembers. They cut "I Had To Let You Go" b/w "Rockin' And Rollin' With Santa Claus," in 1955, and "I Gotta Sing The Blues" b/w "This-A-Way," in 1956, on Chicago's Ronel Records. "I Had To Let You Go," was written by Caldonia Young, a dancer/contortionist who acted as their mentor. They shared the stage with the major recording artists who came through town with the most memorable show being at the Circle Theater with Brook Benton. They also played Majestic Hotel and were crowd pleasers similar to the Temptations who exploded on the scene years later. Hayes, a bass singer, would tear up songs like "When I Fall In Love." After the two singles failed to improve their financial situation they disbanded. Hayes later woodshedded with Paul Williams and Fred Fluellen at the Majestic Hotel, the rehearsals usually occurred at midnight, and Fluellen doesn't remember Eddie Kendrick ever participating or being around. Shortly after that Williams and Kendrick, he added the "s" later, appeared with Caldonia Young, then followed Milton Jenkins to Detroit, MI achieving fame and fortune with the Temptations. Williams and Kendricks tried to get Hayes in the Tempts' when they first formed but Otis Williams stuck with Melvin Franklin, a pretty good choice I might add. Hayes tragically died of gas asphyxiation some years ago; Calvin Young moved to California and hasn't been heard from since; Joe Little Williams plays piano in a church on 55th Street; Harvin still lives in Cleveland, and presumably so does the mysterious unnamed fifth member. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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