The Du Droppers Biography

Although the Du Droppers formed in Harlem, New York, USA, in 1952, each member of the vocal quartet had already sung within their local gospel communities. Indeed, while doo-wop was primarily a young man’s concern, the Du Droppers - J.C. ‘Junior’ Caleb Ginyard (15 January 1910, St. Matthews, South Carolina, USA, d. 11 August 1978; lead), Harvey Ray (tenor/baritone), Willie Ray (tenor/baritone) and Eddie Hashew (bass) - had an average age of well over 40 at formation. Ginyard’s previous experience was the most extensive, having sung with the Royal Harmony Singers, Jubalaires and Dixieaires. As the Du Droppers they rehearsed in basements until Paul Kapp, manager of the Delta Rhythm Boys, took over. They made their debut at the end of 1952 with a single for Bobby Robinson’s Red Robin Records in Harlem, ‘Can’t Do Sixty No More’. This was an answer record to the Dominoes’ ‘Sixty Minute Man’, but failed to replicate its success. After replacing Hashew with Bob Kornegay the group passed an audition for RCA Records, making their debut with ‘I Want To Know (What You Do When You Go Round There)’. Released in March 1953, it made number 3 in the Billboard R&B charts. In retaliation Red Robin issued a single from masters that they still held, ‘Come On And Love Me Baby’. However, its arrival was eclipsed by the Du Droppers’ second release on RCA, ‘I Found Out (What You Do When You Go Round There)’, which continued firmly in the vein of their label debut. Continuing the parallels, it too hit number 3 in the R&B charts. ‘Whatever You’re Doin’ was also an extension of the theme, but failed to break the charts, nor did their first ballad, ‘Don’t Pass Me By’. RCA then initiated a new R&B subsidiary, Groove Records, and the Du Droppers gave the label its first release, ‘Speed King’. For the subsequent ‘How Much Longer’, Prentice Moreland expanded the group to a quintet. He soon departed for spells in the Dominoes and Cadets, while the Du Droppers regrouped with the addition of Ravens singer Joe Van Loan. He did not last long, and was forced to ‘leave’ following record company politicking between Herald Records (who wanted to sign the Du Droppers, and who had Van Loan under contract anyway) and RCA (who wished to exercise their option for another year). Harvey Ray also left the fold. From then on the lead role was handled by Charlie Hughes (later of the Drifters) in the studio and Van Loan live. Hughes made his debut on the April 1955 single ‘Give Me Some Consideration’, after which Harvey Ray rejoined for a Canadian tour. One final single emerged amid all the confusion caused by the shifting personnel, ‘You’re Mine Already’, before Ginyard left to join the Golden Gate Quartet. Though the other members struggled to carry on, this signalled the death knell for the Du Droppers.

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

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