The Prisonaires

Genres: Pop / Rock R&B / Soul
Descriptive "tags": rhythm and blues doo wop gospel Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades Active: 1970s 1990s
Links online: Wikipedia


As their name suggests, this doo-wop group was formed while each member was in the State Penitentiary, Tennessee, USA. The founding member was lead singer Johnny Bragg (John Henry Bragg, 6 May 1925, Nashville, Tennessee, USA, d. 1 September 2004, Madison, Tennessee, USA), who took on Ed Thurman (b. USA, d. 1973; second tenor), John Drue (b. USA, d. December 1977, Lebanon, Tennessee, USA; first tenor), William Stewart (b. USA, d. 1959; baritone and guitar) and Marcel Sanders (b. USA, d. 1969; bass). The group was paraded around a variety of receptions and civic functions as demonstration of the jail’s enlightened rehabilitation programme, where they played a mix of blues, gospel and pop songs under armed guard. New warden James E. Edwards then arranged for two talent scouts from Sam Phillips’ Sun Records to see the group. They were subsequently driven down to Memphis in June 1953 to record a song written by Bragg and fellow inmate Robert Riley, ‘Just...

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