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The Highlighters

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When the Highlighters first started playing together in the early ’60s, they didn’t have James Bell on vocals or Dewayne Garvin on drums. They were just another jazz group gigging in the back room after band practice at Crispus Attucks High School.
It wasn’t long before the group decided to call themselves the Highlighters. “Our name came about because Clifford Ratliff had a couple of older brothers. They used to go out and party and in those days they used to call it highlighting,” says saxophonist Clifford Palmer Jr.

Rhythm and blues was the newest sound and it was quickly supplanting jazz as the most popular music along Indiana Avenue. In less than a year, the band transformed itself from a jazz group to an R&B group.

The Highlighters had a lineup consisting of James “Porkchop” Edwards on drums, James Brantley on guitar, Richard “Boola” Ball on organ, James Boone on bass and Clifford Palmer Jr. on saxophone.

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