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    Frank Motley

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    1Best Of Washington D.C. R&b [1995]


    Born 30 December 1923, Cheraw, South Carolina, USA, Frank Motley learned the rudiments of trumpet playing from Dizzy Gillespie and soon developed a novelty technique of playing two trumpets simultaneously, thereafter being known by the nicknames of 'Dual Trumpet' and 'Two Horn' Motley. After navy service, Frank studied music at Chicago and Washington, DC, and formed his own band in 1949. The Motley Crew included drummer Tommy 'TNT' Tribble and recorded for Lilian N. Claiborne. Her partnership with music publisher Haskell Davis had led the formation of "D.C." (i.e. Davis-Claiborne) records. later owned by Gotham as a part of their distribution family, RCA - Victor Records, Specialty Records, Gem, DC, Big Town, Hollywood and many other small labels. In the mid-50s, with the advent of rock 'n' roll. Motley's Motley Crew was a performing and recording ensemble similar to the Johnny Otis Show, with revolving vocalists and a small combo of instrumentalists who could rock like nobody's business. The Motley Crew included a number of well schooled musicians such as King Herbert Whittaker, Walkin' Willie Hickerson and Frank Wess on sax, Everett Barksdale on gtr., Leonard Swain, Ben Stubberville and John Ferrell on bass, James Crawford (separated from the Jimmy Lunceford Band) on piano and the multi-talented Crawford brothers on varying instruments. Calvin Ruffin, Lloyd "Fat Man" Smith, Charlie Gonzales,"Angel Face", "Bernice Burns, the "Blues Bombshell", and Curley Bridges later as vocalists.Motley's gimmick was that he could play two horns at once, as he did on searing instrumental cuts like "Motley Jump," and the classic "Honkin' at Midnight." Motley and singer Curley Bridges pulverized Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" on a mid-'50s recording called "New Hound Dog" that easily out-rocks Elvis Presley's version. "Any Other Way," sung by Jackie Shane, was a successful record in Canada, and Bridges' "What Can I Do" pushed the envelope by poignantly describing the end of an interracial relationship.
    Motley married and moved north to Toronto, Canada, where he continued to play, to record (for Quality) and perform until 1984 when he retired to Durham, North Carolina and where he died may 31, 1998.

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