Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) September 23, 2008 -- Grant Williams CEO of Memory Lane Concert Cruises today announced the prestigious Tony Allen will be among the twelve groups appearing on the legendary West Coast Doo Wop Cruise âTony recorded his record at 14, three years later he recorded âNight Owl:â Which was a huge West Coast success .â said Williams.
Tony Allen is one of the real characters in Los Angeles R&B. He recorded extensively, for dozens of labels, throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Allen grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, not far from Fats Domino's house so where he would often go over and watch him play, who became his inspiration. His father was a butcher and his mother once played saxophone in her brothers The Sweethearts of Rhythm group. They also owned the Dew Drop Inn, one of New Orleans' top R&B clubs in the 1940s and 50s.
During the Second World War Tony went to live with his aunt in Los Angeles. He first attended George Washington Carver High school with classmates Arthur Lee Maya and Eugene Church and later attended Jefferson High. "I learned to play piano in church when I was six and my friends used to call me names when they'd see me practicing. However determined to find my way in music somedayâ.(said Allen) Tony recorded his first record "Angel Child"/"Check Yourself" in 1952 when he was 14 in Austin McCoy's backyard studio. "Check Yourselfâ issued again in 1955, first on the Ultra Record label than later repressed on Dig (Johnny Otis's label). Tony's second record became his biggest seller.
Jesse Belvin, another high school acquaintance, introduced him to Bumps Blackwell at Specialty Records in 1955. "Night Owl was a nickname my aunt had given me because I was always staying out late at night. âI turned that phrase into a little song and recorded âNight Owl"/"I" For Specialty Records on July 4, 1955 at Master Recorders in Hollywood. The Chimes singing behind me, even though they billed on the record as The Champs. The Chimes backed everybody on Specialty. They were Charles Jackson, David Cobb, Pookie Wooten and John Talbert" Said Allen. Because of a wrong printed label for that record at the pressing plant. Record Deejays thought they were playing "I" (the intended A-side), but heard "Night Owl" instead and liked it. Although it did not chart nationally, "Night Owl" was a big West Coast hit, enough to assure his local immortality. Another mistake was the billing on the label, which read "Tony Allen with the Champs". This had nothing to do with the "Tequila" group, which did not even exist yet at the time. It should have read "Tony Allen with the Chimes".
Allen's second Specialty single, "Check Yourself Baby"/"Especially" was less successful. Allen than went on the road with many of Specialty's top acts, including Little Richard, Larry Williams and Lloyd Price. After Specialty, Allen recorded for too many labels to mention. From 1957-58 Tony recorded some excellent rockers, with accompaniment by top session musicians like Rene Hall, Plas Johnson and Earl Palmer. "Holy Smoke Baby" and "Now You Tell Me" (the latter credited to the Cupids) on Aladdin, "Strange Talk" and ") on Dot. For some reason Rockin' Shoes" and "Skinny Minnie" on Imperial relegated to B-side status. Later releases on Jamie, Kent, Original Sound, and Bethlehem were not up to the same standard. Allen had an LP release in 1961 on the budget label Crown, titled "Rock 'n' Roll with Tony Allen". Today Tony is still performing at various oldie revival shows in Los Angeles.
On April 19 2009, Tony Allen 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.