Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) September 04, 2008 -- Grant Williams CEO of Memory Lane Concert Cruises today announced the prestigious Turks will be among the twelve groups appearing on the legendary West Coast Doo Wop Cruise. âThe Turks lead singer Gaynel Hodge will perform on our Back to the 50's West Coast Doo Wop Cruise He also sang lead with the Hollywood Flames and co wrote the multiplatinum hit Earth Angel.â said Williams.
The Turks began as another of the permutations of Los Angeles singers. Start with some Hollywood Flames, toss in a few original Platters, and mix with the Squires on Combo. It all began with the Flamingos (no not those Flamingos). These Flamingos were a loose organization of singers, and their ranks ebbed and flowed, depending on who was available for rehearsals and shows. Forming in Jefferson High around 1952, one of their more stable lineups was Cornelius "Cornel" Gunter, Gaynel Hodge, Curtis Williams and Richard Berry, Jody Jefferson was an occasional part of the group not a bad line up. "We were young and talented and won every talent show around and had the whole city of L.A. inspired and in our corner. Large companies were negotiating for us, letting the Flamingos fall apart was a big mistake" said Gaynel. Nevertheless, fall apart they did. In time, Cornel and Richard drifted away to form the Flairs, Curtis and Gaynel went off to the Hollywood Flames. âBobby Day and David Ford 'duped' us into it. They promised us a better career than the one we were enjoying as the Flamingos." Said Gaynel Right away replacements were: Tony Williams (for Cornel), Herb Reed (for Richard), David Lynch (for Gaynel), and Gainerâs older brother, Alex (for Curtis). Therefore, when the dust had settled and the Flamingos had gotten a recording contract with Federal Records, it was a different group. Unfortunately, just before the Flamingos were ready to record, Chicago's Flamingos started hitting it big on the Los Angeles charts with "That's My Desire." It was Alex Hodge who dubbed them the Platters.
In September 1954, the Hollywood Flames (with Gaynel Hodge, David Ford, Curley Dinkins, and Bobby Byrd) recorded at least four songs for John Dolphin. The first two under the Hollywood Flames name on Dolphin's Money label. The other two songs would make life more confusing for us all. Notice that Curtis Williams is gone from the Hollywood Flames for being too independent, according to Gaynel. But singers didn't stay quiet long in L.A. Soon, Curtis was back, with his new group, the Penguins, poised on the brink of the authorship war over "Earth Angel". Although âEmilyâ first released in February 1955 the name on the label wasn't the Hollywood Flames, but the Turks even more confusing, the flip side was "When I Return," by the West Coast Turbans. Why the Turks? It wasn't a tune by anyone called the Turks; it was a tune by the Hollywood Flames. Possibly Dolphin was mad at them for some reason. He'd taken some of their Lucky sides (another label he owned) and placed them with Decca, which was big time. Then, in February 1955, the Flames backed up Patti Anne Mesner on "Shtiggy Boom" however, they did not appear on the label, so did Dolphin even know it? The short answer is we simply don't know. (The long answer is suspiciously similar).
John Dolphin was known as record business hustler who owned a record store called Dolphinâs Of Hollywood which was open 24 hours a day. Originally it opened during the Korean War to capitalize on the city's round-the-clock war workers in the area. He featured a DJ in the window broadcasting. Dick "Haggy Boy" Hug became another of his DJs and since Haggy Boy was white Dolphin then attracted both black and white customers. The store started drawing a much bigger crowd outside the store window than a stage show at a nearby theater. In June 1955, Gaynel and Alex Hodge joined with David Ford and Jesse Bevin to record as the Tangiers for Decca. There were two resulting records around the time. Gaynel left the Hollywood Flames to start his own group, consisting of himself and his brother Alex. Their recording was a real Turks song "It Can't Be True" backed with another Hollywood Flames song "Wagon Wheels," led by Bobby Byrd [the future Bobby Day], from the Flames' and credited to the "Original Turks."
The Turks appeared in 1956 as part of an Al Jarvis show at the County Fairgrounds in Pomona. They shared the stage with the Six Teens, the Platters, Joe Houston, and Shirley Gunter but were quiet for almost two years after this, finally In April 1958, they released "Fathertime" and "Okay." By this time, they'd lost Delmar Wilburn and Carl Green than Tommy "Buster" Williams and Jesse Bevin replaced them. At this point, the Turks joined Eugene Church, as the "Fellows," on "Pretty Girls Everywhere," released in August 1958. The final original release by the Turks in July 1959, while they were still Eugene Church's background group. "Rockville U.S.A" and "Holly Gully" Gaynel, Alex, and Buster were the trio that was the last-gasp of the Turks. But as a trio, they continued to back Eugene Church for a couple of years, finally disbanding around 1960. In the early 70s, Gaynel, Alex, and Buster got together again to backup Bill Medley on an A&M album. This would have to be 1973's Smile. Finally, sometime in the 90s, Gaynel recorded "What Now" and "Heartbreak" for the Preserve label background credit went to the "Turks," but the personnel is unknown.
Gaynel Hodge co-wrote the multiplatinum hit "Earth Angel" he also formed the original Platters with his brother, Alex Hodge. Gaynel sang and played piano with them on their first 16 recordings. In his vast music career, Gaynel has written, recorded and performed with many great artists. Including Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Johnny âGuitarâ Watson, Dr. John, Ted Taylor, Little Johnny Taylor, Richard Berry, Dick Dale, Don & Dewey. Also included were the Chambers Brothers, The Rivingtons, The Olympics, Johnny Morrisette, Tony Allen, Duane Eddy, just to name a few. Currently he is on tour throughout Europe and the Middle East, regular performances with The Platters review group.
On April 19 2009, the Turks will perform on Carnival cruise lines newest and most innovative ship in the world the Splendor. Sailing from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera on a 7-day cruise. There has never been a Doo Wop event this spectacular on the West Coast in over fifty years.
Memory Lane Concert Cruises is musical theme cruise operator. Offering world-class concerts of performing artists in an array of music styles aboard luxury liners.