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Maurice Williams: The Gladiolas, The Zodiacs

The beginning of the Maurice Williams' story from It Will Stand, Volume 1, No. 2, 1979 by Chris Beachley

"There may be a rose in Spanish Harlem, but Gladiolas at their best come from Lancaster, South Carolina.

While attending Barr St. High School in Lancaster, Maurice Williams met Earl Gainey (tenor), when they both sang in a gospel group called The Junior Harmonizers. After awhile they left to form their own group, The Royal Charms (a combination of their two favorite groups' names - The Charms and The Five Royales). The other members were William Massey (tenor and baritone), Willie Jones (baritone) and Norman Wade (bass).

The Royal Charms got a job doing a Saturday morning show on WLCM Radio in Lancaster, where they sang whatever were the biggest R&B hits of that particular week. After doing this for about a year, they decided to go on to bigger and better things. Their big chance came when Maurice contacted Ernie Young of Ernie's Record Shop in Nashville (owner of Excello Records). Young told them to stop in for an audition when they were playing in the area.

Maurice said that they'd stop by soon (neglecting to mention that they had no gigs anywhere in Tennessee). The Royal Charms began to get things ready for the big trip. To raise money, they visited local businessmen explaining their needs.

When all contributions were in, they left for Nashville with $40.00 among them, riding in Willie Jones' old Chrysler with four slick tires............................."

The Maurice Williams story was continued by Carolina Class in V 2 No. 17 November 1988.

see Carolina Class Index for details




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