In the early sixties a vocal group was formed by George " Clive" Murphy and the late Maurice "Prof." Johnson. Called "THE TENNOR TWINS" at first, both singers performed together at numerous venues on many occasions. "THE TENNORS" was born when the duo was later joined by Norman Davis, at which time "Prof." Johnson became the lead vocalist. It was at the legendary Studio One, owned by "Sir" Coxone Dodd, that these first recordings were done and released under the "Downbeat" label. Their song "PRESSURE AND SLIDE" was their first recording and became the biggest hit in Jamaica for the year 1967.
With the unfortunate death of "Prof.", " Clive" Murphy took over as lead vocalist when Milton Wilson joined the group. This version of THE TENNORS went on to make some of the most memorable hits. "RIDE YU DONKEY," "COPY MI DONKEY," "SCRUB MI KHAKI" and "CLEOPATRA" were among the favorites.
There was yet to be another change. An exciting newcomer, Ronnie Davis joined the group as lead singer. With a freshness of spirit the group forged ahead relentlessly with such smash hits as "THE STAGE, "ANOTHER SCORCHER" and WEATHER REPORT". This vocal group became one of the most outstanding in Jamaica, and their consistency earned them the title of best performers in the JAMAICA FESTIVAL of 1973 when they performed the song "HOPEFUL VILLAGE", later to be released on the now famous Duke Reids "Treasure Isle Label". THE TENNORS also found their international niche when many of their recordings became favorites around the world.
It was the infancy of musical recordings in the lush green paradise known as Jamaica, and the local producers of that era learnt a lot from their American counterparts. Artistes were paid little or nothing for their recordings; this was a musical sweatshop. And the testing grounds for the musical genius of a nation, was the ignorance of a music loving people.
True to form, the biblical saying "a prophet is least recognized in his own country" became the hallmark of the music industry of Jamaica, but with few exceptions.Thus it was that artistes of the calibre of "The Paragons", "the Techniques", "The Tennors", "The Clarendonians", Blues Busters, Jimmy Cliff, Wilfred Jackie Edwards, Derrick Morgan became more recognized abroad than in their own country, as they continued to churn out hit after hit. The Tennors, and many other artistes, have never received the recognition they truly deserve for their musical contributions and pioneering spirit. But they are, undoubtably, among Jamaicas unheralded famous that birthed the music industry.
THE TENNORS disbanded in the mid-seventies; but the founder and original member - Clive (Murphy) "Tennors" -, who also produced and co-produced most of their recordings has carefully, - using state of the art DAT technology -, restored these songs from the original master recordings which he kept all these years. It is with nostalgic memories that you will listen to the MOODS OF THE TENNORS, as each song marks the passage of time with its changing styles.
Biography written by Anthony G. March. © 1997- 1998
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