BARRY DARVELL (By Tony Wilkinson)
Born Barry Peregoy, 20 April 1942, Alexandria, Virginia
Darvell is best known for his great double-sided 'Geronimo Stomp/How Will It End' single coupling, a good rocker with a real catchy piece of teen beat. However, in overall terms he was a reasonably prolific recording artist as our overview of his career will demonstrate. The following is based on the liner notes accompanying his recent double CD on Sparkletone.
Born Barry Peregoy in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1942 and was he was of Greek origin. After his family moved to Washington DC, he contacted Ted Pedas, who owned Colt 45 Records and operated a cinema in the city of Washington. Incidentally, Ted was also of Greek extraction. Barry began recording for Colt 45 Records prior to August 1959 laying down "Geronimo Stomp" b/w "Teenage Love" in a local studio. According to the tape box, the first session was split and resulted in the two aforementioned titles by Barry plus two by Cris Kevin ("Big Beach Bully" and "One Love Ago" - assigned record number 105) that have remained unissued until the aforementioned Sparkletone release. The first Colt 45 release by Barry became number 104. The earlier releases on the label were by Ronnie Brent (# 101, "Crazy Feeling"/"Shirley Ann"), Art Stuart ("Fountain Of Love", # 102) and Cris Kevin ("Have Gun Will Travel"/ "Haunted House", # 103). The last mentioned was subsequently re-released, with the same record number, but with "Here He Comes - There They Go" substituted for "Have Gun Will Travel".
Barry's "Teenage Love" was chosen as the plug side for Colt 45 104, but it was "Geronimo Stomp", the faster flip, that has become a well-respected rockabilly favourite in later years. Cris Kevin's second Colt 45 with number 105 was shelved. There was also a single on Colt 105 by Connie Dycus ("I Know"/"Please Mister"), but it has now been established that this is a different Colt label out of Flint, Michigan. This does get confusing.
It took the company until October to re-couple "Geronimo Stomp" with "How Will It End?" as Colt 45 release 107. This time it was "How Will It End?" that showed some chart action. It just missed the top ten in Canada for March 7, 1960 with a # 11 position. Popularity of this platter also led to release on the British London label in 1960 (# 45-HL 9191). It was also issued on the Fast label (#1063) the same year in Holland and Belgium.
During this time Barry toured as "Barry Darvell and the Blazers", having Scott Cushnie among his band members. Cushnie had played with his group The Suedes in 1959 before Ronnie Hawkins hired him as a member of the Hawks. However after a short stay he had to give up his place in the Hawks to another former Suedes member, namely Robbie Robertson. Around the same time Barry had acquired the services of manager Gladden Robert "Duke" Leonard who subsequently appeared as a co-writer on a couple of Darvell tracks.
In the spring of 1960, Barry Darvell recorded and released "Butterfly Baby" (Colt 45 # 110) coupled with a teen beat cover of Little Richard's "Send Me Some Lovin'". However the disc failed to make the charts. Darvell had become friendly with Phil Flowers, who was also from the Washington area and was described as "The Black Elvis". Flowers co-wrote "Butterfly Baby" with Barry and Katherine Adelman (the lady was listed as "Davis" on the release) and he shares writer credits on "Nothing Lasts Forever" with Barry Darvell and Duke Leonard.
Following this disc Barry signed with Cub Records with whom he had the solitary release in February 1961) of "Fountain of Love" c/w "Little Angel Lost" (# 9088). From here he joined Atlantic Records for a longer spell between 1961 and 1962. For the first session on 4th October 1961, Atlantic provided Barry with top-notch writers and musicians. In this case, it was Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman who wrote "A King For Tonight". The accompaniment is listed as: King Curtis (tenor sax), Jerome Richardson (tenor sax), Chauncey Welsh (baritone sax), Kelly Owens (piano), Everett Barksdale (guitar), George Duvivier (bass), Gary Chester (drums), and strings - plus Klaus Ogerman as arranger and director - basically the Who's Who of New York's session musicians. They recorded four songs: (5707) A King For Tonight / (5708) Lost Love / (5709) Little Billy [still unissued] / (5710) Irresistible [also still unissued].
Not totally happy with the results, Atlantic had set up another NY session on 2nd November 1961. Musicians playing were: Seldon Powell (sax), Leon Cohen (sax), Robert Mosely (piano), Nick Tagg (organ), Billy Bauer (guitar), Don Arnone (guitar), George Duvivier (bass) and Gary Chester (drums). The backing vocals were provided Eugene Lowell, Jerry Duane, Jerome Graff, Jerry Packer, David Vogel, Arne Markussen, Herbert Davidson and Ed Lindstrom. Again, the arranger and session director was Klaus Ogerman. Two songs were taped: (5753) "I Can't Help Falling" [still unissued] and (5754) "Silver Dollar". The last mentioned was chosen as a plug side for issue in November because radio station WABC had a "Silver Dollar" programme running. So it was no surprise that the song reached number 23 on WABC's "Silver Dollar Sound Survey" on 2nd January 1962. The flipside of this Atlantic # 2128 release was "Lost Love", a Darvell-Leonard composition from the earlier NY session. The record saw a Japanese Atlantic release with a picture cover (but no photograph of Barry).
Atlantic made a further attempt to crack the charts with a Barry Darvell record. They coupled "A King For Tonight", the superb Pomus-Shuman song with another Darvell-Leonard composition entitled "Adam And Eve" (a Dion DiMucci sound-a-like) for release on Atlantic 2138 in early February 1962. No session details are listed for "Adam And Eve". The minor success of both releases had Atlantic assemble twelve tracks for an album release, probably trying to get a piece of the "Twist-Craze" cake. With a session date of 18th January 1962, Atlantic assigned master numbers to these tracks at least a month later. So we have [all still unissued]: (5965-5976) Little Billy (sic) / Let Me Be The First To Know / Dream / Here Comes The Blues / True Love Is Where You Find It / Let's Try Again / Crazy Mix Up World / Crazy Heart / Adios Joe / Start Walkin' / Happiness / C'mon Let Twist Again. The results of the session were shelved and it was the end of Darvell's association with Atlantic, with one exception.
Barry returned to Ted Pedas for two more Colt 45 releases. The first was "You Can Have Her" c/w "Seek And You Will Find" and was issued as Colt 45 # 226, a release probably from around late 1962. From the same period, luckily, a further nineteen recordings have survived. Atlantic Records came into play again when they distributed Barry's last Colt 45 release. Assigned Atlantic master numbers, Colt 45 # 301 was released July 1963, with a Billboard review dated 3rd August 1963. "Run Little Billy" (master 7032) and "All I Need Is You" (7033) were listed in Atlantic' s files as of May 21st.
Soon after, Barry left Colt 45 for Providence Records, a Laurie Records subsidiary. As a United World Production (which means under the supervision of Steve and Bill Jerome who had hit big with Reparata & The Delrons), he released "When You're Alone" b/w "It's Rainin', It's Pourin'" on Providence 404 in late 1964. The Jerome Brothers used the same set-up for this release as for their other productions: Hash Brown and his orchestra, arranger John Abbott.
Providence's promotional funds were probably limited, so the Jeromes' took Barry Darvell directly to their World Artists Records. Barry and Leonard shared writer credits on "I'll Remember" c/w Where Is The Love For Me" that appeared on World Artists # 1042 in 1965. However "I'll Remember' was just a re-make of Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs' "I Remember" from 1960, so the credits should have correctly listed Maurice as the composer.
A second shot on World Artist reached higher ranks. "I Found A Daisy (In the City)", a Drifters-style recording, was plugged heavenly on World Artist # 1058 in the summer of 1965. It reached some local charts, e.g. WDGY's Top Fifty on 17th July at position # 43. "I Found A Daisy" was an Arthur Resnik - Kenny Young composition, basically their first draft of the later Jerry Cole/ Jack Nitzsche song "Every Window In The City". The flip was entitled "Kissable Lips" and sounds like a Dion DiMucci demo recording. Barry Darvell followed this with his last known release, a remake of the Four Seasons "Beggar's Parade" c/w "My World Of Make Believe") for Columbia (# 44197) in 1967. Again, Bill and Steve Jerome were producing, with John Abbot arranging - "A Real Good Production" reads the credits.
In 1982, Barry Darvell moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and was working in real estate. The last known piece by Barry was a sound cassette for "Michael 's Bar and Grill", released in 1982 and registered with the Copyright Bureau on 28th February 1983. Lyrics and music were by Dick Grimes and Barry Darvell. After this, there appears to be no further Darvell recordings or, indeed, any further involvement in the entertainment industry.
Sparkletone SP-CD 99017/8 (2) - 'Geronimo Stomp' - 2003 (although the liner notes state 1995).
A forty four track double compilation that is still currently easy to obtain.
There's also a single Barry Darvell CD on the Mr. Potato label, here's the track listing:
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