The Ink Spots…

Ink Spots, The… in Spectra-Sonic-Sound; … in AuthentiPhonic Stereo Process. However you pronounce it, and with whatever cutting edge buzzword you use, one thing is as sure as a clockwise spinning record… The Ink Spots sound serene, and oddly comforting on Stereo Spectrum Records, even though these four gents may be an unofficial, no credence-paying, group name-lifting bunch of ballad singing crooners.

What’s in a name, really? I mean, just because Marv Goldberg documents in his book, More Than Words Can Say (I’m not at liberty to fork over $60 for the book, so I’m trusting my source) how the “original” Ink Spots disbanded in 1954, doesn’t mean more than 100 other groups haven’t sprung up in their wake, all claiming to be The Ink Spots, and none of them deserving of that right, right? So again I ask, what’s in a name?

Ink Spots LabelReleased in 1962, Spotlight on The Ink Spots is a great, questionably authentic collection of 30s and 40s style slow-rollin’, love-smellin’, doo-wop-inspiring, belly-to-belly-touchin’, goodtime, feel good, blanket of warmth perfect for evenings by the fire with a Manhattan, a loved one, and little more. I’ve found no definitive proof (in my whimsical research) confirming or denying the authenticity of these 1962 spots of ink, but when mood-setting music is in passionate demand, little else really matters.

7 thoughts on “The Ink Spots…

  1. Once you understand the importance and impact of the “real” Ink Spots you begin to understand “what’s in a name”. The fact that so many imposter groups used the name “Ink Spots” when they were not around when the “real” Ink Spots were struggling and fighting prejudice shows a supreme lack of integrity. People would buy these imposter Ink Spots records and concert tickets thinking that they were seeing/hearing the real deal Ink Spots. This group (led by top crooner of the 30’s Orlando Roberson) is pretty good and they do keep close to the original Ink Spots style but even still, they are NOT the Ink Spots and when you listen to Bill Kenny and the “real” Ink Spots, you can at least hear why.

    • I should also point out that the cover shows Lorenzo Conyers, Essex Scott, Adriel McDonald & Bernie Mackey. But the group on the record is actually Orlando Roberson, Essex Scott, Bernie Mackey & Johnny Reed of Orioles fame. Each of these singers sang in other imposter Ink Spots groups both before and after this record. Bernie Mackey sang in Deek Watsons Ink Spots (as well as with the real Ink Spots for a year). Essex Scott sang in Charlie Fuqua’s Ink Spots. Lorenzo Conyers sang in Ray Richardsons Ink Spots (they’re still performing) & Deek Watson’s Ink Spots. Orlando Roberson sang with Adriel McDonalds Ink Spots & Charles Gray’s Ink Spots. Johnny Reed sang with Deek Watson’s Ink Spots and George Holmes Ink Spots. And each of those guys with their own Ink Spots groups at one point sang with another imposter Ink Spots group. It gets really weird when you find guys on various albums with other imposter groups and see how one imposter group would practically trade singers with another… a common practice throughout the 50’s – 80’s.
      (If I remember correctly, this album falsely credits Conyers and McDonald and doesn’t credit Roberson or Reed in the liner notes. So many of the imposter Ink Spots albums from the 50’s & 60’s have pictures of a different imposter group than is actually singing on the record. There are even some imposter Ink Spots albums with pictures of the real Ink Spots on the cover. What a shame…)

      • One last “tid-bit” (Lol) This same album was released on MULTIPLE labels. It was on Cupid, Design (twice!), Allegro and probably more. I have the one on Design though it isn’t in stereo… I’d be interested to hear how it sounds.

      • That’s crazy! Can you imagine if say, The Rolling Stones, or The Kinks simply traded members, all claiming to be the one, most successful band so they could go out and perform, cut records, and rake in the bottom line? That practice of member sharing and name stealing boggles my mind!

    • It’s severely unfortunate that all the heard work amongst the throes of close-minded bigotry can be so easily cast aside without the proper (or any in this case) respect being given to the original creators. You, sir, know A LOT about the Ink Spots!

      • You’re right… And thank you. I’m 20 so I wasn’t around when most of the imposters were around but I can tell you that if I had been I wouldn’t have let it slide so easy. Some groups (like Charlie Owens) admitted that they weren’t the real Ink Spots and sometimes noted that fact in advertisements but most groups would claim to be the original group and dozens of guys claimed to have at one point sang with Bill Kenny & the originals when the didn’t. There are about 4 or 5 imposter groups touring today I believe. They are “Ray Richardsons Ink Spots”, “Lou Ragland’s World Famous Ink Spots”, “George Grants Ink Spots”, Bill Godwins Ink Spots, “The Ink Spots Generations” and a couple more that I can’t identify. These groups still make good money and charge as much as $50-80 a person per ticket. And whats worse is that most of these groups don’t even sing Ink Spots material or anything in the Ink Spots style. Here’s one example:

        Most people get very defensive when I tell them about the real Ink Spots vs. imposter Ink Spots so I thank you for considering what I’m saying. Of course a great reference would be Goldbergs book but there are also a few websites out there with great information for example “inkspots.ca”. But of course there are a few websites who have disturbingly false information so you’ve got to be careful. Thanks again!

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