The Delacardos were formed in Charlotte, NC in the last years of the 50s, with both singers and musicians coming from the local high school. And although they are regarded these days as a vocal group, with the starting quartet of Vernon Hill, Chris Harris, Harold Ford and Robert Gates being augmented by George “Bubba” Morris in the early 60s, they were in demand for hops and dances locally as a full band. Although musicians came and went there were some, especially Ronnie Greer on bass, who wrote many of their later 45s, and his brother Odell on guitar that continued with the group into the soul era.
Their initial recordings were very much doo wop – both uptempo rock ‘n’ roll numbers and downbeat ballads. Among my favourites are the delicate “Letter To A Schoolgirl” from their first 45 and the more lively “Hold Back The Tears”. All their early tracks were recorded in the tiny studio in Charlotte owned by Bob Richardson, who leased his efforts to UA. You can read more and listen to some of those doo wop tracks here. But I’m much more interested in their cuts from a little later in the 60s.
The Delacardos first true soul track was a 45 called “Forget About The Guy” / “Dance Gypsy Dance”, which bears a fair resemblance to an Impressions track of the period, and which was produced in New York by Gene Redd. It seems to have slated for a release on Dimension 1040 in 1964 but for some reason or another never got beyond demo stage. Their first issued single was the lovely sweet ballad Got No One, penned by Odell Greer, which was recorded back in Charlotte at the Arthur Smith studios. The lead tenor was Bubba Morris and his beautifully modulated voice was superbly set in a simple rhythm section featuring some lovely guitar riffs from Odell Grier. This was first issued on the tiny Q-City label with publishing and distribution handled by Phil Walden’s company in Macon, GA. No doubt it was Walden that arranged for the 45 to be issued on the mainstream Atlantic label a little later in 1966.
Their second 45 for Atlantic was also produced by Phil’s Redwal Productions, and the much grittier southern style of Chris Harris took the lead on his own deep ballad You Don’t Have To See Me, with Odell Grier again showing off his super axe playing. I would guess from the sound of this side that Macon was the location of the session. But the group’s final one was definitely held in Muscle Shoals under the direction of Otis Redding. Harris was again the lead voice on the really fine A Fool For You. This is classic southern soul which seems not to have received as much attention as it deserves.
After this recording the group split up, with Harris pursuing a solo career with another couple of Dial 45s in addition to his one from 1965, but the other guys seem to have left the music business altogether.
Letter to a Schoolgirl / I'll Never Let You Down ~ ELGEY 1001 (1959)
I Got It / Thing-A-Ma-Jig ~ UA 276 (1961)
Mr Dillon / Hold Back The Tears ~ UA 330 (1961)
Dream Girl / I Just Want To Know ~ SHELL 308 (1961)
Girl-Girl / Love Is The Greatest Thing ~ SHELL 311 (1962)
On The Beach / Everybody's Rocking ~ IMPERIAL 5992 (1963)
Forget about the guy / dance gypsy dance ~ DIMENSION 1040 (1964) (Unissued)
She's the One I Love / Got No One ~ Q-CITY 70019 / ATLANTIC 2368 (1966)
I Know I'm Not Much / You Don't Have To See Me ~ ATLANTIC 2389 (1967)
They Put A Spell On You / A Fool For You ~ ATLANTIC 2419 (1967)