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The Story (continued)

   Their first release was "Give Me Your Love b/w China Girl" as the Columbus Pharaohs (ESTA-290) in 1958. Both songs were written by the entire group, with Bobby Taylor and Morris Wade providing the inspiration. After the group returned to Columbus, Howard Ransom, who owned the master, released it on his own label Ransom Records (Ransom 101), also in 1958, as the 4 Pharaohs. Both labels released the record at the same time. However, if you are a collector freak, the ESTA label is the rarer of the two.

   Shortly after the release of “Give Me Your Love”, Robert Taylor and Bernard Wilson left the group to pursue their own personal goals. They were replaced by George “Tiger” Smith and James Oden for a short period of time. Robert ‘Pee Wee’ Lowry also filled in.

   The group's second release in 1958 was "Pray For Me b/w The Move Around." (Ranson 100). "Pray For Me" was created by Morris Wade, who wrote the lyrics. He was planning on joining the armed forces and the thought of leaving his girl and his family inspired the lyrics. By now the group consisted of Morris Wade, George Smith, Robert Lowry and Ronald Wilson.

   Between 1958 & 1959 the Four Pharaohs did some national touring at a variety of venues, e.g., Pittsburgh, Detroit, Indiana, Chicago, Buffalo, New York and others. On their first tour to New York City in 1958 they played at the Carnegie Recital Hall.
   Bobby Hendricks, of the
Drifters, who Morris Wade and Bobby Taylor had known since junior high school in Columbus, hooked the group up with people who booked shows in the south, “The State of Southern Tours”, based out of Georgia. The Four Pharaohs were subsequently on shows with artists Sam Cooke, the Five Royals, the Drifters, Brook Benton, Jackie Wilson and many more greats of the era.
   In 1959 the Paradise release of “Give Me Your Love b/w China Doll” (Paradise 109) was issued. Morris Wade and Howard Ransom took the master to Hy Weiss in Nashville, Tennessee, which resulted in the release on the Paradise label. Hy Weiss and his brother, Sam, were the founders of the legendary Old Town label, which was responsible for the ‘New York’ sound of the Earls, Harptones, Royaltones, Robert & Johnny, the Fiestas and the Co-Eds.

   In late 1958 the group had one more record on the Ransom label – an original composition called “Is It To Late” b/w a Turban’s song, “It Was A Nite Like This” (Ransom 102). A mistake was made when the labels were pressed and the group was billed as “Introducing Morris Wade & The Manhattans”. The Manhattan’s were Sonny Til’s band.
   The group was familiar with Sonny Til and his famous hit “
Crying In The Chapel, which he did with the Orioles, as they had performed in Columbus at the Copa Club. Morris Wade fell in love with the sound of the electric violin and had requested that Howard Ransom get Sonny Til’s band.

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