Sensational Nightingales [Nightingales]
- Cedric Dent
Gospel ensemble. It was formed by Barney Parks (formerly of the Dixie Hummingbirds) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1942 to sing black religious quartet music. It began as the Nightingales, with Parks as manager (he had retired from singing), guitarist Howard Carroll, and singers Paul Owens, Ben Joiner, and William Henry. It disbanded after a few years, and Parks reassembled the group in 1946, adding JoJo Wallace, Carl Coates, and the lead singer Julius “June” Cheeks. Cheeks sang with an intensity associated with the Sanctified Church, exemplifying the gospel style of quartet singing popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Audiences responded favorably to his impassioned solos leading to the group adding the word “sensational” to its name. They began recording in 1952 for Peacock Records. Cheeks temporarily left in 1954 to sing with the Soul Stirrers and again in the 1960s to sing with the Mighty Clouds of Joy. He retired in the early 1970s, after which the group continued, with Charles Johnson replacing Cheeks, and signed with Malaco Records in ...