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The Valiants

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A Los Angeles group named after the Prince Valiant comic strip, the Valiants consisted of Sheridan “Rip” Spencer (tenor), Brice Coefield (baritone), Billy Storm (nee Spicer, tenor and bass), and Chester Pipkin (tenor and guitar) when these songs were recorded in 1957 and 1958 under the supervision of Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, a one-time A&R man for Specialty Records. Although he was never officially their manager, the music industry veteran did help them secure several independent studio sessions in an attempt to get them a recording contract. Marv Goldberg’s booklet notes cite a disagreement between Blackwell and his employer at the time as the reason that the Valiants never recorded for Specialty. His efforts first led to a lone 45 that came out on Aladdin (or perhaps its Lamp imprint) with the group’s name, however, being changed to the Gents. After that single went nowhere and Blackwell left Specialty for Keen Records (also bringing Sam Cooke in tow), the Valiants were finally able to record and have releases issued under their real name.

Blackwell utilized a number of top-notch studio musicians during recording sessions including drummer Earl Palmer as well as pianists Ernie Freeman and Googie Rene. It is possible that they appear on some of these tracks in various combinations. What is certain is that the 1957 session (which yielded the first six songs on this CD) included Don Harris and Dewey Terry (of Don and Dewey fame) respectively on bass and piano/overdubbed guitar.

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