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The Ravens

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There are two bands with the name ‘The Ravens’

1) The Ravens were an R&B vocal group. They were formed in 1945 by Jimmy Ricks and Warren Suttles. They were structurally similar to The Ink Spots, especially in their combination of high tenor (Maithe Marshall) and deep bass (Ricks), but their material was more varied, including elements of pop, jazz, R&B, and gospel styles.

Although they had excellent lead tenors (Maithe Marshall, and later, Joe Van Loan), the Ravens primarily existed to showcase bass singer Jimmy “Ricky” Ricks. In this, they were so successful, that Ricks’ voice became the standard against which every rhythm and blues bass was measured for the next generation. It is not an exaggeration to say that every aspiring rhythm and blues singer with a low voice wanted to sound like Ricks. His voice was so deep and rich, however, that few even came close; no one surpassed him. In spite of this, the Ravens had few chart hits, although they were very popular at appearances.

The group’s greatest successes were in the late 1940s, including covers of “Ol’ Man River” (1947) and “Count Every Star” (1950). They had continued success into the 1950s, but Suttles left the group in 1954 and Ricks in 1955. The group continued on for some time thereafter, with various changes in personnel, but it was never as successful or influential as before.

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