Colorradio.com - Johnny Flamingo
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Born Melvin Moore, he had a step father with the last name of Broxton, so it was Melvin Broxton. Then after his first two recordings with the Dots, he was re-christened Johnny Flamingo. Originally from Houston Texas, he found himself in the air force and singing at US bases in Europe in a group named the Five Criterions. Back in the USA and married, his first two records were with the vocal group the Dots, that featured his eventual next wife, Jeanette Baker. The Dots consisted of Johnny, Jeanette and two additional male members for those first two releases. The third issue by the Dots had different group members. Johnny Flamingo's first recording as a solo artist was So Long, and made a lot of west coast noise. It was featured by the prominent local DJ Dick Hugg - Huggy Boy- and his new Caddy label. The thought was he would make enough money to buy a Cadillac, thus the name of the label. Huggy Boy Broadcast live radio from the window at John Dolphins "Dolphins Of Hollywood" record store in Los Angeles, with the call letters KRKD. Located at Vernon and Central, he was immensely popular and had a great deal of influence on the record buyers and record industry. Meanwhile, Johnny Flamingo continued to wax records for mostly Huggy Boy and his associated labels, with just a few exceptions. Even those had a connection and purpose. He also recorded one disc as Jack and Jill for Caddy and then Imperial. It was him and his then current wife Juanita. He had a long gig at a nightclub called the Den, located in Norwalk, California. It was there that he recorded an LP and a couple 45's for the Diadon label. His records were issued through the mid to late 1960's, and then often showed up on the reissue labels of the early 1970's. Sadly, he passed away on New Year's eve, 2000, the same day Vernon Green of the Medallions died. Also featured, are a few of Jeanette Baker's recordings as a solo, with Oscar Mclollie, and also with the Dots. She is still active and has a fine website http://www.missjeanettebaker.com/articles.html
Also, take a look at an article written by Johnny flamingo's son, Anthony Randall, HERE!
Delta date codes are shown on all the records that have them. This helps to date the discs, as most of discographies on the web are incorrect. If you have any updates to this page, just email me with the information and source. Several records are missing from this document, but the importance of Johnny Flamingo and Jeanette Baker in the Los Angeles music scene is immeasurable.
From late 1956, DJ Dick Hugg - Huggie Boy - released a record on his own label, Caddy records. "What Is A Teenage Girl" was issued on Caddy 104, and pre-dated DJ Tom Edwards early 1957 version on the Coral label, though both sides of the record were co-written by Tom Edwards. It was a funny narration with music in the background, all about the idiosyncrasies of a young girl. The flipside called "Teenage Girl Theme" is an instrumental. Shown is a "Special Release" or promo. The Delta date code is 13616.
Enter Johnny Flamingo. His first release on Caddy records was called "So Long." A definite west coast hit, it really had the chance to break out, but didn't quite make it nationally. It is a great ballad showcasing Flamingo's great vocal ability. It mentions "instr" on the label, but it's a lie! The flip is an instrumental by Sax smoker Chuck Higgins called "Roller Coaster" A nice two sider for Caddy. This was pressed in March of 1957. Delta date code 14229.
This is the 45 RPM version of the disc. Uncredited are the Dots backing up Johnny Flamingo. Handsome Jim Balcom plays the congas on this one. Chuck Higgins and his band actually are featured on both sides.
This is the Dots featuring Jeanette Baker, Johnny Flamingo, Pete Smith, and Ray Brewster. Jeanette Baker takes the lead while the guys have some vocal backing on it. "Johnny" got some good spins in Los Angeles, but confined to mostly local air play. "I Lost You" was a promising flip that had Baker really exercising her pipes. This record was from May of 1957 with Delta Date Number 15688.
Here he is on the Aladdin label with two new sides. Co-written by himself, "My Teen Age Girl" got the nod and is a mid tempo song with a nice drum beat. It was backed with "When I Lost You" which was another exceptional ballad. Incidentally, it is not the same song as the similarly titled I Lost You on Caddy 107 by the Dots. Delta date number 16753 from August of 1957. Reviewed the week of September 2, 1957, both sides just got one star. What did they know, anyway?
Jack and Jill were actually Johnny Flamingo and his first wife Juanita. This is the first issue of the "No One To Talk To (But The Blues)" for the Caddy label. It's flipped with "Party Time" from June of 1957. The Jim Balcom Orchestra was featured on the flip, and got half the writing credits. 1957, and this is Johnny Flamingo And his first Wife, Juanita.
Imperial thought enough of the record to issue it with better distribution behind them. It still was not a huge seller. In the process of releasing it, Imperial changed the name on the flip to "Record Hop", but it is the same song. And it it one rocking workout. Maybe they should have kept it as "Party Time."
"Make Me A Present Of You" was the next Johnny Flamingo record to be waxed. A great ballad, it's the only label I have found that it was issued on. As you look through this discography you can see how many times some of his songs appeared on other labels and iterations. The song was also recorded by the likes of Bobby Milano, Dinah Washington and originally by Ernie Andrews. "Teenage Theme" is the earlier "Teenage Girl Theme" from Caddy 104 by Huggy Boy, slightly re-titled. The Delta date number is 18692 on the "A" side, the flip used the old code of 13616. Released November of 1957.
Staying in 1957, "I'll See You In My Dreams" was the next Caddy label release for Johnny Flamingo. On the flip, "My Girl" was co-written by him. Both songs are solo efforts with no group in the background. The plug side is a typical ballad, and the flip is a mid tempo outing that at times reminds me of Sam Cooke.
Aladdin came right back with another issue that actually took sides from Caddy 105 and 112 respectively. They are the same recordings of "So Long" and "Make Me A Present Of You" from the Caddy sessions. Delta date codes are used from the Caddy discs, but this is one of the last Aladdin records from 1957. This was reviewed by the trades, with "Make Me A Present Of You" gathering three out of four stars and "So Long" only getting two stars,during the week of December 23, 1957.
Caddy records released their only EP on number 115. It included three great Caddy releases and one that must have been borrowed from John Dolphin's Money label. That would be Joe Houston's December 1954 rollicking instrumental called "All Night Long." Johnny Flaming appears with So Long, the Dots with I Confess, and a different group called the Twilighters with "Eternally." What a great EP this is! No delta date code, but it was probably issued in April or May of 1958. It was also issued with an EP sleeve.
Johnny Flamingo blew into another great Los Angeles label called Specialty records. He picked a great ballad that was done by the Embers in 1953, called "Paradise Hill." It was sung much in the same style as the Embers did. Jim Balcom and Sonny Bono were involved with the session as well. "Will She Think Of Me" was another ballad and parked on the flip. The Blossoms were unrecognized group members in the background on both sides, with Richard Berry producing the session. Released in August of 1958, both sides were also given three stars on the week of August 4th 1958.
This was another label owned by Huggy Boy, called Pico records. There were three and possibly four records released on this short lived endeavor, and they were all artists that had been on his labels previously. "I" was another great song originally sung by an east coast group called the Velvets, which Johnny Flamingo does a superb job with. He is backed by a Richard Berry And The Pharaohs on this. "Summertime" was the Gershwin classic, sung in the classic Flamingo style, and as the haunting ballad it is. Probably released in late 1959. No date code on the dead wax.
Since Huggy Boy was originally from Canton Ohio, he created a Canton record label. "It Were You" makes it's debut appearance on vinyl and was tagged as the plug side It has no group on it."I" is shown as the "B" side, with a backing group. My Canton label has no Delta date on it, and it looks like it could be early 1960 on this issue.
The first of two records on the Diadon label for Johnny Flamingo. "All Aboard" is the "A" side, while "No More Doggin" is the "B" side. The labels credit Johnny Pease and the Rockers as backup, and it shows issued in September of 1961, based on the delta dating number. Interestingly, neither of these two singles where on the Diadon LP shown further down the page
The second of two records on the Diadon label for Johnny Flamingo. "This Was Really Love" was the plug side. It is a ballad with some instrumentation."If You Say Please Go Now" was the flip and has an extensive horn section, and is uptempo. Neither feature a group in the background. These sides were not on the Diadon LP either. This also has delta dating, placing it being issued in December of 1961.
From 1962, "Is It A Dream" was backed by "You're Mine." This looks like the original label release to me , explained in more depth below, on the Caddy Label pictures. The promotional copy is shown and it's a great two sider for Johnny Flamingo. "Is It A Dream" showed up the following year on the Dub Tone label as a 45.
The Caddy release of Johnny Flamingo's "Is It A Dream" from 1962. The flip was "You're Mine" is a classic pairing of great Johnny Flamingo sides. I would love to say this is the first issue, but it shows the Donna label matrix numbers on the label. Actually, using DF meant they may originally have intended it to be on the sister label of Donna, Del Fi. It Seems to be the same recording, and both Donna and Caddy labels have the same delta date code in the dead wax. It's possible that they could have kept the Caddy release local to Los Angeles, though Donna was already in Los Angeles.
This is the first of two 45 RPM sides issued by Los Angeles DJ Huggy Boy, on his Dub-Tone label. Pressed in 1963, "Is It A dream" backed by "I Just Cry" was the pairing. "Is It A Dream" had been issued twice already, and "I Just Cry" would be issued again in 1964 on Malynn.
The second Dub-Tone 45 is in the next sequential number for the short lived label. Jeanette Baker is out front with the lead vocals on both sides by the Dots. Johnny Flamingo is in the background on the "Johnny" side, but not the flip "Heartsick And Lonely." This was likely also pressed in 1963, though "Johnny" was originally issued in 1957 on the Caddy label.
From the Whirlybird label, Johnny Flamingo sings "Drive Slow" for the plug side. It's an unusual song done at Christmas time with a Christmas theme of sorts. It is a "don't drink And Drive" message compelling his baby to drive slow so she won't have an accident. Not exactly like the Youngsters "Christmas In Jail" record, but a nice record for sure. "This Was Really Love" had a fantasy theme as was also an enjoyable record. Whirlybird released less than ten records, and this was the very first one. The Delta date code is 50554 confirming a November/December 1963 release.
On this Malynn release, Johnny recorded another east coast ballad that the Love notes waxed in 1957 called "United." The flip was a Johnny Flamingo penned mid tempo "I Just Cry." Both featured a vocal group in the background. On the "United" side, Jeanette Baker can be heard along with the afore mentioned vocal group. The date on this release is in question. The Delta date number is 52846 which would be June 1964. It was the first on the label using the 100 series, and a quick check of the Satellites issue number 231, shows it dates from 1958 and must have come before the 100 series. According to Steve Propes book LA R+B Vocal Groups, it was cut at the same session in 1962 as Caddy 4175 (Not pictured on this page). If that is true, it may well not have been issued until 1964 and left sitting in the can for a couple of years.
Johnny took the Peppermint Harris song, "I Got Loaded" and changed it into a real jumper. There is some female accompaniment on the disc. This was his last release for Caddy. "Raindrops In My Eyes" is on the flip. It has no group, and even though showing written by Flamingo, it borrows a lot for the song called Teardrops from my eyes - notably by Ruth Brown. However, the label says Raindrops. Both sides have the Cleartones credited. Based on the date code of 59584, it was released in December 1965.
This is an interesting release on the Vault label. It is the latest record I have in my collection by Johnny Flamingo. The Vault label is not the one that started in 1963 and distributed by Atco. What is odd, is that this label almost had to be from Los Angeles, and apparently could have had seven releases prior. How you wouldn't know about the established label that had the Challengers amongst others recording on, is difficult to understand. It is the exact pairing of the 1959 Pico label release, which offers up the question, was this another of Huggy Boy's labels? "I" backed with "Summertime" is a fine pairing. Delta date code is 66065 for an April 1967 issue.
This is the only LP that Johnny Flamingo recorded. It was for the Diadon label and included Gaynel Hodge on Piano, Ritchie Goldberg on drums, Everrett Evans on bass and the Jim Balcom band. The LP mentions the night club where Johnny was performing, called The Den in Norwalk, CA. It was owned by Howard Pierce, and the liner notes were written by Joe Serrano, owner of Diadon records. Neither the cover nor the LP are dated, but the liner notes infer that it was after 1959. It was likely recorded in 1961, and the two 45's on Diadon that were also released did not include songs from this LP.
These are the labels for the Diadon LP. He sings many standards like "Secret Love", "Autumn Leaves", and "Canadian Sunset." The LP was recorded at Audio Arts.
Now on to a few of Jeanette Baker's releases. This was the only time Jeanette Baker got into the Billboard top 100. She did it as a duet with Oscar McLollie. "Hey Girl-Hey Boy" is a fun song with each vocalist taking turns and also singing together. The upbeat combination of two voices and lively instrumentation gave this two thumbs up. It seems to be based on the Fats Domino song La La, and not too far from the Mickey and Sylvia record Say The Word. "Let Me Know, Let Me Know" is a strong flip. Jeanette Baker is not featured on this side. This is the original maroon 78 released in May of 1958, but not on the charts until August.
Here is the 45 RPM record. Check out Googie Rene and his band on both sides. The class label was maroon in color for quite some time. On the flip, the Hollywood Flames do the back up for Oscar McLollie. Both sides got three stars in the week of May 26, 1958. More of Oscar McLollie can be seen HERE!
Later issues of the hit were pressed on the black Class label. It showed that this disc had demand for quite a while and was very popular. Shown is the later 78 on the previously mentioned black label. This pressing, likely was from late 58 or possibly early 1959.
The black label 45 RPM. This is the only duet that Oscar McLollie did with Jeanette Baker. They didn't get along well, and apparently one record was enough.
From December 1958, Jeanette Baker got top billing on this Aladdin recording, even though it shows Jeanette and Decky in small writing under her name. The record was reviewed by Billboard for the week of December 8, 1958. Both sides got the maximum of four stars. This record also appeared on the Imperial label, number 5964 around August of 1963. "Crazy With You" is a fine uptempo side, somewhat in the style of Hey Girl, Hey Boy. "Everything Reminds Me Of You" is a great ballad for the flip, also featuring Jeanette and Decky. The promotional copy is shown above.
This is the stock black Aladdin issue. Jeanette Baker was shown with writing credits on both sides of the disc.
Jeanette's last vintage recording was "He Really Belongs To Me", a mid tempo record for the Class label, written by Miss Baker. The flip is a nice ballad called "Moonbeam." The record did not make a lot of noise, so Class dropped her, which was Class's loss. The Delta date code is 32653 from November of 1959.
This is one of a few LP's that had the Huggy Boy name on them. This happens to be on his own Dub-Tone label and features not only many great Los Angeles based artists, but also Johnny Flamingo, and Jeanette Baker's duet with Oscar McLollie. This particular copy once belonged to San Diego, California radio station KDEO.
Here are the labels for the Huggy Boy LP. I included it since it was on the Dub-Tone label and Johnny Flamingo had a couple of 45's on it, and because it was Huggy Boy, and his involvement. Below is a discography of 45 RPM records I know of with Johnny Flamingo - So far! The titles in bold are not on this page yet.
: Updates: Johnny Flamingo was a great talent, and fairly well know in the Los Angeles area, and beyond. Jeanette Baker is still active with music and has a web site HERE
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