The Clickettes: selected recordings, 1958-1963

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From a profile of The Clickettes by Mick Patrick accompanying audio files of The Very Best of the Clickettes at soundcloud.com:

The Clickettes were managed by Zelma “Zell” Sanders, the owner of J & S Records, home of the Hearts, Johnnie & Joe and others. The fabled R&B matriarch had a reputation for hiring and firing her acts willy-nilly. When she signed them up in 1958, she envisaged an entire new squad of Hearts, who were already on their third incarnation, but the Bouquets didn’t like that idea. Recognising their potential, Mrs Sanders instead placed the group in the hands of her daughter, Johnnie Louise Richardson – of the duo Johnnie & Joe – on whose behalf she inaugurated a new logo, Dice. The Bouquets were accordingly renamed the Clickettes.

But Not For Me was paired with another intense ballad, I Love You, I Swear, for release as the group’s debut in October 1958. Jive Time Turkey b/w A Teenager’s First Love was rushed out just weeks later, while a third coupling, Louella and You Broke Our Hearts, was released the following month, but bearing the name the Avalons. The Clickettes’ next platter comprised two numbers waxed previously by Johnnie & Joe, Warm, Soft And Lovely and the Frankie Lymon-esque Why Oh Why. More doo wop heaven ensued with Lover’s Prayer b/w Grateful, issued by Dice in mid-1959.

History-of-rock.com says of the group,

The Clickettes consisted of Barbara English (lead), Trudy McCartney, Charlotte McCartney and Sylvia Hammond. The Clickettes recorded for the Dice label that was located on Tiffany Street in the East Bronx, NY. The Dice label was owned by Johnnie Richardson and her mother Zell Sanders. Periodically one singer from the Teen Clefs filled in for the Clickettes, therefore they were really a quartet.

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Adapted from the discography at doo-wop.blogg.org:

The Click-etts*
1958 – But, Not For Me / I Love You I Swear (Dice D-100/D-101)
1959 – Lover’s Prayer / Grateful (Dice D 96/D 97)
1960 – To Be A Part Of You / Because Of My Best Friend (Dice D-92/D-93)
N/A – That’s The Way It Is (Dice) (Unreleased)
N/A – Light A Candle (Dice) (Unreleased)

The Clickettes
1958 – Jive Time Turkey / A Teenager’s First Love (Dice 83/84)
1958 – Warm, Soft And Lovely / Why Oh Why (Dice D 94/D 95)
1960 – Where Is He / The Lone Lover (Guyden 2043)
1963 – I Just Can’t Help It / I Just Can’t Help It (Instrumental) (Checker 1060)
1963 – I Understand / I Understand (Instrumental) (Tuff 373)

The Avalons
1958 – Louella / You Broke Our Hearts (Dice 90/91)

The Fashions

1961 – Dearest One / All I Want (Warwick 646)
1961 – Please Let It Be Me / Fairy Tales (Elmor 301)

Barbara English & The Fashions
1962 – We Need Them / Ta – Ta – Tee – Ta – Ta (Roulette 4428)
1962 – Fever / Bad News (Roulette 4450)

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1958

But, Not For Me (Johnnie Richardson) — credited to “The Click-etts” — issued on Dice D-100/D-101, b/w “I Love You I Swear” (45cat, Discogs)

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I Love You I Swear (Zelma Sanders) — flip side of “But Not For Me”

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A Teenager’s First Love (Johnnie Richardson) — B-side of “Jive Time Turkey,” Dice 83/84 — The recording ends with the organ quoting the opening of the chorus of “Misty.”

.

.

A Teenager’s First Love — lyric, transcribed by doc (Jim Radcliff) on 28 March 2017; latest edit 1 May 2017

A teenager’s first love they never forget
The heart bliss and the thrill of their first real kiss
Even though we’re through
I’ll always, I’ll always be a part of you

It’s so funny how we never forget
All the little things we did and said
Even though we’re through
I’ll always, I’ll always be a part of you

Going through each new day
You’ll always find the way to my heart
Even though it’s been so long ago
First love, you’ll always be here in my heart

Even though we’ve, love, had our quarrel and part
First love, you’ll always be here, yes here, in my heart
Even though I love a new
First love, I’ll always be a part of you

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Louella (Johnnie Richardson) — The Avalons, 1958 single b/w “You Broke Our Hearts,” Dice 90/91

History-of-rock.com says, “The Avalons that recorded on Dice were most of [sic] the Clickettes and an unremembered guy.”

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You Broke Our Hearts (Johnnie Richardson) — The Avalons; B-side of the 1958 single Dice 90/91, with “Louella” on the A-side

We were so happy
We were so gay
Till you broke our hearts
Till you broke our hearts
We didn’t want you

Our true love
Our true love
How could you hurt me
How could you desert me
(So) Please come back
To me, me
Set a poor heart free, free
We love you

Heart’s love
Heart’s love
Even though you broke my heart
I’ll carry on somehow
So…oh long
What we must carry on
With…our broken…hearts

lyric transcribed by Jim “doc” Radcliff, Summer 2012

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1959

Lover’s Prayer (Johnnie Richardson & Barbara English) — recorded by the Clickettes (as the Click-Ettes) — single issued in June 1959 on Dice D 96/D 97, b/w “Grateful”

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Lover’s Prayer — lyric, transcribed by doc (Jim Radcliff) on 31 January 2017; latest revision 14 September 2017**

Lord, show me if he really loves me
Tell me does he truly care
Give the love that only comes from above
Repledge our love

And he says that he loves only me
But I’m afraid, so afraid, someday he’ll want to be free
You would know how much I love him
And how hard it would be to bear

Oh, dear Lord, meet him, not me
Teach him to love and adore only me
Then, hear me Lord, please hear my prayer
When I open my arms let him be standing there

And if he comes to me tomorrow
And tells me, tells me, that he truly care
He takes me in his arms and kissed me 
I’ll know that God has answered my prayer

(back vocals)
Always, Always!
Tell me, tell me!

cover

Anne Keith (Anna Mae Jackson), backed by The Altairs — issued in 1959 on the Memo label as the B-side of “(I Am Just a) Lonely Girl”

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Grateful (Johnnie Richardson) — B-side of “Lover’s Prayer,” Dice D 96/97

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1960

To Be a Part of You (Johnnie Richardson) — A-side of Dice D-92/D-93, b/w “Because of My Best Friend”

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Because of My Best Friend (Johnnie Richardson) — B-side of “To Be A Part Of You,” Dice D-92/D-93

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1961

Please Let It Be Me (B. Lowe & Cal Mann) — recorded by the Fashions; issued on Elmor E301, b/w “Fairy Tales”

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1963

I Just Can’t Help It (Lona Stevens & George David Weiss)

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Clickettes Meet the Fashions-complete Dice recordings (1)

The Clickettes compilation albums:

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relevant links:

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* The group name is also spelled “Click-Ettes” on the labels of some of the early recordings.

** Contextual and grammatical irregularities in the lyric of “Lover’s Prayer,” as recorded by the Clickettes (as the Click-Ettes), and issued in June 1959 on the single Dice D 96/D 97, b/w “Grateful”

  • line 4: “Repledge our love” — Pledging (or repledging) love would not ordinarily be considered an action that someone can take for another, or for a pair. Whether God could do so or not, it doesn’t make much sense to ask God to repledge the love between yourself and another. Perhaps what is meant is something like “Cause us to repledge our love.”
  • line 12: “When I open my arms let him be standing there” — The word “arms” seems out of place here, because if a person is not visibly standing in front of you before you open your arms, then he/she wouldn’t suddenly appear after you opened them. The word “eyes” is likely the word that was written and meant to be sung in its place. The lead singer (Barbara Jean English) evidently sings “arms,” while “eyes” might be sung by the back vocalists.
  • line 14: “And tells me, tells me, that he truly care” — If the last word in this line were “cares,” then it would be grammatically correct.
  • line 15: “He takes me in his arms and kissed me” — A lack of tense agreement is the irregularity here: “He takes” (present indicative) vs. “[He] kissed” (past indicative).

 *** This is the title used by Resnick Music Group at SoundCloud, though the title/subtitle shown on the CD cover accompanying the recordings at SoundCloud is The Clickettes 18 Original Hits: Their complete Dice recordings plus later sides.

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