Airdate – Feb 13, 2022
In 1960, Alan Freed was charged and arrested in the ‘Payola’ scandal, accused of taking bribes to play records on his radio show. Also charged was another influential New York deejay by the name of Tommy Smalls who in 1952 moved to radio station WWRL in New York City, becoming the original ‘Dr. Jive.’ The ‘Payola’ indictment ended his radio career and the career of an up-and-coming New York vocal harmony group.
Featuring blues, Rock & Roll, and Latin music, Dr. Jive was a hit with the teenagers, telling them to “Sit back and relax and enjoy the wax / From three-oh-five to five-three-oh, it’s the Dr. Jive show.”
After his termination from the radio airwaves, Dr. Jive became a promotions manager for Polydor Records in New York. He was also a founding member of the National Association of TV and Radio Announcers (NATRA).
In his heyday in the mid-to-late 50s, Dr. Jive was quite the entrepreneur and promoted a lot of talent. He was also a silent partner in Dome Records. Unfortunately, that Dome relationship had an impact on our featured vocal harmony group as they were associated with both Dome and Argo Records. According to them, they were finished when the ‘Payola’ scandal raised its ugly head and Tommy Smalls (i.e. Dr. Jive) was charged.
The group, an all-white quintet known as the Kents, had really showed some promise with their December 1957 upbeat rendition of “Nita Juanita,” a song written by Johnny Maestro and originally released in 1956 by the Crests as “My Juanita.”
In 1958, the Kents cut a couple of more records. One in particular, a B-side, really had some promise but failed to chart. A great record to play on Valentine’s Day, here are the Kents “With All My Heart And Soul,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song: