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The Diamonds

The Diamonds

A Beggar For Your Kisses

From their Harlem homebase, The Diamonds learned much from listening to The Ravens and The Orioles. They called themselves The Three Aces in 1948, when they consisted of lead tenor Harold 'Sonny' Wright, first tenor Myles Hardy, and bass Daniel Stevens and performed on Friday evenings at St. Mark's Church on 132nd Street. Then Ernest Ward came in on second tenor and guitar. Since there were already a pair of Four Aces dealing nationally, a name change was in the cards. The quartet stuck with the same motif and became The Diamonds in 1950.

Wright's sideline solo exploits jump-started The Diamonds' brief ascension. He won the Apollo Theatre's weekly amateur contest, leading to an audition for his group with Apollo boss Bobby Schiffman that resulted in a week's engagement for The Diamonds at the storied venue. Schiffman also assumed their managerial reins. The quartet signed with Atlantic in September of 1952, and on October 29, The Diamonds made their debut sides for the New York label.

A Beggar For Your Kisses, written by husband-and-wife team Marco and Sylvia Rosales, was chosen as their introductory single. Opening with an elegant vibes splash and taken at a lope, its first bridge poured over unusual breaks, the song elicited a spellbinding lead effort from Wright. But neither A Beggar For Your Kisses or its jumping flip Call, Baby, Call (Atlantic house arranger Jesse Stone was its co-writer) dented the R&B charts after their December release.

Atlantic only gave The Diamonds two more chances to grab the brass ring the next year. They encored with Two Loves Have I (based on a French melody introduced by Josephine Baker in 1931) b/w I'll Live Again, ballads done at the same session as A Beggar For Your Kisses, and finished their Atlantic tenure with splendid remakes of Chicago blues belter Lil Green's Romance In The Dark and Don Redman's Cherry cut in November of '53 and issued the next month.

The Diamonds broke up in 1955, Wright going on to sing with The Regals but never recording with them. He formed a new quartet, The Metronomes, and recorded a pair of '57 singles for Archie Bleyer's Cadence label. 

Bill Dahl

Various - Street Corner Symphonies Vol.04

1952 The Complete Story Of Doo Wop



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