The Valentines charted very well regionally, especially on the East Coast, and are a well-loved doo wop group. Group members changed over time, but for this record in 1955, they were Richard Barrett, Ronnie Bright, Eddie Edgehill, Donald Razor, and Raymond Briggs.
The group formed in Harlem in New York City and used to sing on the corner of 151st Street and Amsterdam Avenue. They were first called the Dreamers and met Richard Barrett (who was originally from Philadelphia and moved to NY), the story goes, while he was serenading lovers in a park with his ukulele. They then called the group The Valentines after one of the original group members’ favorite song, which was “My Funny Valentine.” They first recorded for Hy Weiss’ Old Town label in 1954 and had a little success with “Tonight Kathleen.” Then they went to George Goldner’s Rama label. “Lily Maebelle” was a street song where the group echoes “Lily Maebelle” one after the other like a round of clock chimes. Alan Freed helped to promote the song, and the group often appeared on Freed’s live shows. The 45 today is a rare collector’s item. The Valentines also had another bit of success with “The Woo Woo Train.” The group had great harmonizing and choreography, influencing many groups at the time, such as The Cadillacs, The Solitaires, and The Flamingos. The Valentines charted very well regionally, especially on the East Coast. The group disbanded in 1958.
Barrett went into a very impressive career in the music business as a singer, record producer, and songwriter. He discovered and promoted Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, The Chantels, Little Anthony & The Imperials, and The Three Degrees, to name a few.
Ronnie Bright has been the bass singer for many groups, including The Cadillacs, The Deep River Boys, and The Coasters. He did session work for Barry Mann, Jackie Wilson, Peter Gabriel, and Johnny Cymbal (Bright is the bass man on Cymbal’s “Mr. Bass Man). If you are interested in reading about an listening that song, please click here for “Mr. Bass Man.”