Dee Clark was in the group called the Kool Gents, and he was singing in the group. He never knew that, I never told him that, because I don't think he would have appreciated it that I put him in the tank overnight. I'd come down the next morning and pick him up and take him right to the studios. It was just a temporary thing for a few months. The trouble with these facts is that they really don't tell the story. We hired Dee Clark to work in our stockroom, and the guys who used to work with him there in the stockroom would kid him when he went to rehearsal:
It was just a temporary thing for a few months. I don't know if anybody knows who they are. I hadn't even thought about a commercial, but I listened to his commercial on a clothing store and jotted down notes while he was talking. We had a full court press on that record. He said he was looking for a girl and boy disc jockey, and if you would like to enter, write a one-minute commercial and be at one of the hotels at seven o 'clock. Abner became pretty much the boss. Well, that's the only way that I could get him down to the studio sober. They did four tunes in a session, and Vee-Jay released one single on them, , which was 'My Thing' and the flip side 'My Other Thing. He had arrangers, guitar players, drummers, and people who could really play. He'd say 'Speak the lyric to me, Mama Reed! They always used the studio for that. It was a union lyric, the preservation society or something like that, I don't remember. He was from Chicago, and we were involved almost from high school, he and Sid McCoy. Vee Jay didn't have any money, really, but we'd do recording sessions for them. As to who Willie Jones was, we have the following e-mail from Robert L. He would get a good roll; he was fantastic. A lot of the songs were never released, for instance the Willie Jones Trio. Later, they popped wide open with the first record we ever had an outside arranger for, 'At My Front Door. It's not a story of a small business that becomes a giant corporation; rather, it's the collective stories of the people involved. Calvin did it for 12 years, and when you list the acts he signed, using no other ears to depend on but his own, it reads like a 'who's who' in the music business. Though Mary Mama Reed was by no means audible on most of Jimmy Reed's records, occasionally, such as on "You Got Me Dizzy," she could be heard faintly a couple of seconds before many of Jimmy's lines. So they did that, and they started developing Vee-Jay Records. He didn't know one note as big as this house! He brought the group to us. They were the first U.
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