The Wrens (R&B band)
|Origin||The Bronx, New York City,|
The Wrens began in the Morrisania section of the Bronx in 1950. Neighborhood friends Waldo Champen (tenor, usually referred to as "Champ Rollow"), Francis "Frenchie" Concepcion (tenor/baritone lead), Archangel "Archie" Oropeza (baritone), and Raoul McLeod (bass) sang together under this name for around two years. They slowly drifted apart.
Concepcion was determined to make the group last, and in 1952, he recruited two new members; tenor George Magnezid and bass James "Archie" Archer. They sang as a trio in the community center of P.S. 99 for a couple of months before deciding to expand to a quartet by adding tenor Bobby Mansfield. At the time, Mansfield was about fifteen years old and attending Morris High School in the Bronx. Oropeza was around the same age and Concepcion and Magnezid were already out of school.
In 1954, they heard about a contest that was being held by an arranger/pianist named Freddy Johnson at the old CBS building. The Wrens entered and won, and Johnson became their manager.
Rama Records owner George Goldner arranged a session for the Wrens that took place on November 21, 1954. They recorded four songs that day: “Love’s Something That’s Made For Two” (led by Mansfield), “Beggin’ For Love” (fronted by Concepcion), “Come Back My Love” and “Eleven Roses” (both by Mansfield). The piano player was Johnson, who provided the other session musicians. However, he and the Wrens parted company soon after the session, and from then on Goldner used the Jimmy Wright Orchestra to back them. James "Archie" Archer left in 1955 and was replaced by Joseph "Rocky" Washington, who later recorded in another doo-wop group The Performers. Further recordings including six single releases on Rama, were unsuccessful and Mansfield left in 1956 to pursue a solo career.
In 1998, The Wrens were inducted into the United In Group Harmony Association's Hall of Fame.
George Magnezid died in December 2003.
The Performers were a four-man Canadian doo-wop group, formed by Joseph "Rocky" Washington of The Wrens and Perry Hayward of The Sparrows on the Jay Dee label, after the breakup of The Sparrows.
- Eder, Bruce. "The Wrens". Allmusic. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- Mitch Rosalsky Encyclopedia of Rhythm and Blues and Doo Wop Vocal Groups 2000 0810836637 "In mid-1955, "Rocky" Washington replaced James "Archie" Archer of the Wrens. He can be heard on the Wrens' recording of What Makes You Do the Things You Do?/I Won't Come to Your Wedding from November 1955."
- Doc Rock. "July to December". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
- Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal Groups p.440 "Personnel Perry Hayward (lead), Freddie Johnson (tenor), Gilbert Johnson (baritone), Joseph "Rocky" Washington (bass) : This group formed in 1956 as a result of the breakup of the Sparrows on Jay Dee. Hayward and Washington had been with the Sparrows and tried harmonizing after the breakup by starting the Performers."
- Mitch Rosalsky (2002). Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal Groups. Scarecrow Press. p. 618. ISBN 978-0-8108-4592-3. "Meanwhile, one of the Sparrows got Joe Davis interested in recording them on Jay Dee, and their first session took place in September 1953. ... Later in 1956, Washington and Hey ward formed the Performers (Tip Top)."