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Five Willows, The

This group first recorded as The Five Willows (after originally starting out as The Dovers in 1950).

Original members were Richie Davies, twin brothers Ralph and Joe Martin, John Steele and Bobby Robinson – who all came from Harlem. Lead vocalist Bobby Robinson left the group to set up his own record labels in 1952 and was replaced by Tony Middleton.

As The Five Willows, their debut single was Love Bells in 1953, followed by three singles on the Allen label – all also in 1953 – and two in 1954 for the Herald label.

By February 1956 the group had shortened their name to just The Willows and released Church Bells May Ring on the Melba Label. The song reached #62 in the US, although it made #12 on the R&B charts.

The single was also issued in Britain on the London label – their only British release. Mint condition copies of the record now change hands in the UK for in excess of £750.

Bobby Robinson
Vocals
Richie Davies
Vocals
Ralph Martin
Vocals
Joe Martin
Vocals
John Steele
Vocals
Tony Middleton
Vocals