The Follow-up Interview
Shortly after Morris Wade finished revising the original article, a follow-up interview was conducted in late 2003:
Was Bobby Hendricks of the Four Pharaohs the same Bobby Hendricks who was the lead singer of the Crowns, a member of the Drifters and the singer of the hit “Itchy Twitchy Feeling”?
MW: Yes, but Bobby Hendricks was not a member of the 4 Pharaohs. Bobby Taylor and I knew Bobby Hendricks from school.
Is Forest Porter of King Pharoah & The Egyptians the same Forest Porter who was a member of the (Columbus) Supremes?
MW: Yes. Porter was the lead singer of the Supremes on their hit single, “Just For You And I” b/w Don’t Leave Me Here Alone” (Ace 534), their one and only recording I believe. We were all friends.
There was a Paul Moore who was also a member of the Crowns as well as a member of the Supremes. Is he the same Paul Moore of the 4 Pharaohs?
MW: Yes, he was member of the Crowns for sure, but I’m not sure he was with the Supremes.
Do you have any recollections of any of the other Columbus vocal groups during the same period that you may have shared billing with or competed with, e.g., Supremes, Falcons, Five Fortunes, or any others in the area?
MW: The Younghearts. We followed each other in different Clubs. I don’t remember their names. The dreamer, “Stoney”, was their lead singer. They were out playing before us as well as the Crowns. Pete Oden was also a member of the Crowns, as well as a guy named Roosevelt. Pete Oden was also with King Pharoah & The Egyptians.
I noticed that the Five Fortunes’ 45 (“You Are My Love b/w Time Out For Love”) is listed as Ransom-103, which follows the Ransom-102 45 “Is It To Late?” Do you know anything at all about the Five Fortunes?
MW: They were in the military. They were stationed at Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus. We were all friends and socialized some, but I can’t remember their names.
The label on “Pray For Me” is printed as “Ranson” (as opposed to Ransom). Do you know if this was just a spelling mistake or was there some intentional business purpose for doing this?
MW: The label – that’s an error . . . a “late night”.
Do you have any recollections about radio play and chart success for “Give Me Your Love” and “Pray For Me”, as well as the other singles? Was there national airplay? Do you have any idea about chart positions and/or sales figures (how many were pressed, how many were sold, etc.)?
MW: “Give Me Your Love” made Billboard and I think Cashbox. Airplay was mostly in the East, Midwest and South. “Pray For Me” did not chart. Airplay was limited to the East Coast.
Did Harry Ransom continue in the music business after working with you?
MW: Howard Ransom continued in the business dealing with country & western music. He later went into the motion picture business, making the movie “Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes”. I portrayed the part of a hit man in the movie. [Note: “Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes” was released in 1974 and starred F-Troop’s Frank DeKova as a mob boss. The movie was later re-titled “Jive Turkey”.]
When the 4 Pharaohs started out, do you remember what songs you were performing? Did your set list include any originals? Who were your musical models at the time?
MW: We performed all the current songs at that time. We did not have any originals at that time. Our musical models were Clyde McPhatter, Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke.
In rehearsals, how and by whom were the arrangements and the song selections done?
MW: It was a group effort mostly. Occasionally I’d have lyrics we would toss around and come up with arrangements for.
What was going on musically in Columbus at the time the 4 Pharaohs were formed? Do you remember names of some of the clubs that you were performing in around the Columbus area? Were the 4 Pharaohs in high demand at the time?
MW: Sonny Craver, Stomp Gordon and a singer called Larry Darnell were popular. Carl Sally’s Band. The Rusty Bryant Band. The Wallace Brothers. The House Rockers Band. Nancy Wilson was singing there then. There are many more but I can’t remember right now. Some of the clubs we performed at were the Roxie Club, The Jamaica Club, The Pythian Ballroom, Valley Dale, Marty Mellman’s 502 Club, The Cadillac Club, Joe’s Hole Club. Yes, we were quite popular.
What was the reason for changing the name from “Columbus Pharaohs” to “4 Pharaohs”?
MW: Originally we were doing local venues. We then grew and started doing venues in other areas. The name was changed because it was more appropriate in other areas with larger audiences.
You mentioned meeting Sonny Thompson in Cincinnati. Was Sonny Thompson a performer, writer, musician or producer?
MW: Sonny Thompson was a producer, writer and a great piano player. He was married to Lula Reed, a girl singer in Cleveland, Ohio. Sonny was also a signed producer with King Records Studio in Cincinnati where I met him. He worked for Sid Nathan.
How and where did you meet Leo Blakely? Do you know anything about Leo Blakely’s musical background before joining King Pharoah & The Egyptians?
MW: I met Leo in elementary school in Columbus. Leo sang gospel for a long time. By the time we were in junior high school we were best friends and are still best friends. I was on the basketball team in Champion Junior High School and was singing the whole time. Leo tried to join the basketball team but was too small and couldn’t. Eventually I turned down a sports scholarship to pursue my singing career.
Regarding the unreleased songs “School Days” and “Summer Time”, who wrote them? Do any versions of these exist anywhere? Do you ever include these songs in your current performances?
MW: I wrote “School Days”. “Summertime” is the Porgy & Bess standard. No versions of “School Days” were ever released. I still do “Summertime”.