#tbt: Remembering local multi-talented African-American entertainers
Today’s “Throwback Thursday” blog celebrates local African-Americans whose work in the music field resonates to this day.
Thanks to a series of personality profiles that appeared in the Middletown Journal in the 1990s (*), we recall the names and photos of some of the groups and individuals who left their musical mark in the Middletown area and beyond.
While by no means a complete list of local talent through the years (and considering that members of musical groups change over time) our blog presents a look-back at African-American entertainers as they appeared in the Journal series.
Do you remember...
The Determinations vocal group which consisted of brothers Donald and Jerry Bryant, Harold “Happy” Henderson and Sam Johnson, who was added after he was “discovered singing in the shower at Middletown High School.” In time the group became “one of the top touring acts in America” and performed with luminaries such as the Temptations. At their last concert in 1979 in Louisville, Kentucky, they appeared with Little Anthony and the Imperials. “Girl Girl Girl,” their first record, was released in 1969.
Herbert ‘Rocket Jockey’ Mays
Herbert ‘Rocket Jockey’ Mays, “...one of the area’s top DJs in the early 1960s when he spun records at local radio station WPFB. Best known for his lively chatter and ad libs while playing the top soul, gospel and R&B tunes, he also played records at dances and various social functions...” At the time the Journal article was published Mays lived in Louisville.
The Myers Brothers
“The Myers Brothers” who “drove taxis during the week and, on the weekends, were well-known as the Myers Brothers Dance Band. They played in Cincinnati and Dayton and included John, Elhue (unsure of spelling), David, James, Cleophus, Clarence, Frizell and William (The Shoe Shine Doctor).”
Nationally-known comedian Nipsey Russell, who “lived on Yankee Road in the middle 1930s and attended South School until his family moved to Cincinnati. There he completed high school at Cincinnati Woodward and attended the University of Cincinnati…”
Pat Stewart Moore
Pat Stewart Moore, a former “Miss McKinley” at McKinley Junior High, who went on to lead an entertainer’s life of touring, much of it in Tokyo, Japan. She performed with celebrities and said her “greatest thrill was singing for a commercial with Olympic Gold Medalist Florence Griffith-Joyner.” She eventually returned to the Middletown area, where she shared her musical talents at church and helped lead a city youth choir.
Russell Warfield, a gymnastics standout at Franklin High School who became a “cast member in the original touring company of the Broadway musical, ‘CATS.’” He appeared in commercials, pursued a modeling career, and was a show coordinator. He traveled extensively around the world.