LEACH Lillian 1955-57

Lillian Leach and the Mellows, the Bronx, New York vocal combination who had a strong vocal hit with "Smoke from your cigarette" in 1955. Even the most finicky aficionado of group harmony will praise the pristine, clear, unmistakable tones of the incomparable Lillian Leach. The group remain revered among fans of the vocal group genre. The foursome -in addition to Leach, their lineup included Harold Johnson, Johnny Wilson, and Norman Brown- began recording in 1954 for Jay Dee, a small New York-based label owned by Joe Davis. Davis was a popular figure in the R&B world; in addition to running his own labels (Beacon was another of his top-notch indie labels), he ran his own management company and even worked for MGM Records for a time. The Mellows recorded several songs for Jay Dee, including "How Sentimental Can I Be" in August 1954, "Smoke From Your Cigarette" in January 1955, and "I Still Care," issued in April 1955. They later moved over to Brooklyn's Celeste Records, covering classics like "Lucky Guy," "My Darling," "Sweet Lorraine" -and a song called "I'm Gonna Pick Your Teeth With an Icepick"- then moved over to Candlelight for one last single before disbanding a few years later.

Lillian Leach & The Mellows LP 1955-57


Rockinbavarian said...

Yes, showing this fine group together with DJ Alan Freed on the cover brings some thoughts in mind. Here we have all the recordings the group did for Jay-Dee and Celeste. When they started on Jay-Dee the label reached the Top 25 of Top labels in r&b for a short time. The competition was hard as there were so many high-rated vocal groups around. In '55, when the group started recording, the leading groups were the Platters, the Penguins, the Drifters and The Five Keys on the leading labels Mercury, Dootone, Atlantic and Capitol. So it wasn't easy to reach the top for a girl led harmony quartet. The sound of Lilians voice sounded young, fresh and uncertain. She wasn't as powerful as Ruth Brown, not as poppy as LaVern Baker and wasn't ripe for a style that should change the music to a teenage expression like Frankie Lyman did a year later. The 'biggest' hit for Lilian became 'Smoke from your cigarette', but I laways liked 'Moon Of Silver' the most. A perfect ballad with a decent harmony sound of backing voices.

Rockinbavarian said...

Ok, I have an addition to this post. Listen to 'The Golden Era of DooWops - The Groups of Celeste Records' and you'll discover some more recordings by Lilian Leach/ The Mellows, mostly acappella.