The Barons

The Barons were an early-'60s Detroit group more famous for its members -- Roger Craton aka Lee Rogers, Tyrone Douglas, and Jesse Greer -- than any accomplishment on their own whose records, due to limited pressings, are rare. As the Peppermints, they cut three for Carla Murphy's H.O.B. Records (House of Beauty Records). The House of Beauty, a hair boutique/candy shop, was a female hangout frequented by Raynoma Liles-Gordy (Berry Gordy's second wife). Motown's Rayber Singers first label credit was on H.O.B.'s first release, an up-tempo sound by Herman Griffin, "I Need You" in 1958; Griffin later cut non-charting singles on both Tamla and Motown Records, and later married Mary Wells. Gordy and Murphy were partners on Griffin's release (this was before Gordy started his own label) but Gordy ended the association after the single floundered. H.O.B. affiliated with Mike Hanks' D-Town/Mah/Wheelsville setup, and Berry and Raynoma started Tamla Records.

H.O.B. issued "Doing All Right" credited to the Peppermints with the flip "Don't Take, Give" credited to Katie Blue & the Peppermints. A second offering "I'm So Glad" b/w "Yours Is My Heart Alone" (1959) was issued as Jack Sucrell & the Contours (not the Motown group); a final single in 1960 featured two sides credited as the Peppermints: "Teenage Idol" b/w "Believe Me." The flashy, well respected group was going nowhere with H.O.B. so they signed with Soul Records (not the Motown label) for two more stiffs credited this time to the Barons: "Money Don't Grow on Trees" b/w "Dog Eat Dog" and "While the Cats Away" b/w "Who's in the Shack," both in 1961. Not wasting a moment they cut two final releases in 1961 on Spartan Records: "I've Been Hurt" b/w "Willow Weep for Me" and "I Miss You So" b/w "Money Don't Grow on Trees."

Nothing sold and Craton became Lee Rogers on Mike Hanks' labels but only could muster small hits like "Sad Affair" and "I Want You to Have Everything." Jesse Greer delved into songwriting for Correc-tone Records and other entities with little success. Tyrone Douglas' career was the busiest and most fruitful, but nobody knows him cause he sang with groups who members weren't well known. Douglas sang with the Magictones then Eight Day on Holland, Dozier & Holland's Invictus label; he joined the Undisputed Truth in 1973 and recorded with them on Motown and Whitfield Records reuniting with Magictones' Tyrone Berkeley, Virginia McDonald, and Calvin Stevens; McDonald also sang with Douglas in Eight Day. ~ Andrew Hamilton

    Detroit, MI

Top Songs