A vocalist who used the credit John Henry Brown early in his career, this doo wop singer must have some secrets for voice preservation, although his career has never been particularly high profile. He worked with various groups from the '50s through the '90s, the success ratio climbing as the years went on. The New York City group of the latter decade was no less than a Thom Bell production and a rare example of doo wop veterans being worked into a silky contemporary soul offering. The other members of this group, sometimes mistaken for the city of the same name, were lead vocalist Tim McQueen and fellow harmony dudes Ed Shell and Claude Johnson.
Brown's credits include work with two of the doo wop genre's most famous ensembles, the Five Satins and the Moonglows. In neither case was he one of the original members nor even a crucial later addition, although when it comes to the business of touring doo wop groups, lineups shift like sand at high tide, and the process is not automatically an indication of inferior quality singers by any means. The Five Satins were led by Fred Parris, and in the mid-'50s created the classic "In the Still of the Night." As for the Moonglows, this group was named by producer and promoter Alan Freed, and cut hit sides such as the sly "Secret Love" and the humble "I Was Wrong." One of Brown's earliest professional gigs was singing with the Manhattan Mellotones in the mid-'50s, a group that was once again renamed by an enterprising record producer. In this case it was Joe Davis, who decided to call the group the Bell Boys, and was apparently not happy with the service they gave. Not only was their no tip, no record was released from this session, and only one song even attempted. The title? "It's Too Late Now," eventually crossed out on the recording logs and the tape used for something else. The title could have been a reaction to the idea of using the band name the Bell Boys, among the top five most common combo names in musical history. Members of this hapless group besides Brown were Hobson Broadway, David Wallace, and William Willis, plus nimble guitarist Charles B. Richards. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi