The Corsairs Biography

A family vocal group from La Grange, North Carolina, USA, this quartet comprised three brothers - lead Jay ‘Bird’ Uzzell (13 July 1942), James Uzzell (b. 1 December 1940), and Moses ‘King Moe’ Uzzell (b. 13 September 1939) - and a cousin, George Wooten (b. 16 January 1940). Their songs had a standard mid-tempo pop feel, yet with an edge provided by Jay Uzzell’s wailing lead, burbling bass and strong chorusing. The Corsairs found their opportunity by moving from their native North Carolina to New Jersey in 1961 to be nearer to the New York recording business. The quartet was discovered in a New Jersey club by independent producer Abner Spector, who released their records on his Tuff Records label. In 1962, they reached the charts twice, with ‘Smoky Places’ (number 10 R&B, number 12 pop) and ‘I’ll Take You Home’ (number 26 R&B, number 68 pop). One unrecognized classic in their repertoire was ‘Stormy’ (their 1963 remake of a 1956 hit by Illinois act the Prophets). The Corsairs ideally evoke that fuzzy, intermediate era when the shuffle beats and doo-wop harmonies of the 50s were fast fading and had yet to be superseded by gospelized soul stylings. By 1965 Spector’s well had run dry and the Corsairs’ recording career was finished.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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