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Forever The Vanguard

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

The latest release forthcoming from Soul Direction "Origins" Records.

The Vanguards Group Members: Paul Irvin, James Davis, Dickey Pierson, Von Wheeler, Elaine Livingston & Wilbur Winston. The Vanguards led by James Davis were Lamp Records only top 100 Billboard Charting group and gave the band plenty of touring and concert appearances in the 1970s. Davis began to sing at a very early age and by the time he got to high school his family had moved to Indianapolis. While studying at Shortridge High School he continued his love of Doo Wop, and with Vonzell Wheeler he would form the groups The Elgins, The Essquires and eventually The Vanguards.

His first record was with The Essquires in 1961 “Mission Bells b/w When I Fall In Love”. It was entered in a talent contest and the first prize was having the record cut. It subsequently gained a release in 1962 on Meridian Records. After Graduating Davis enlisted for 3 years duty in the military forces, joining the infantry. It was there he came up with the bands future name “The Vanguards” from the Vanguard rocket ship programme and formed the group which were to become a big hit performing for the armed forces until his 3 year stint was up. He returned to Indianapolis with lots of new ideas for the band and wanted to keep the name “Vanguards”.

Now being influenced by groups like the Dells and the Temptations he wanted to get a group together He then met Herb Miller and with the others on board they cut “Somebody Please” with Von Wheeler on lead which went on to hit the top of the R&B charts in the area. The song later went on to chart in multiple states and peaked at #49 in the national charts. They had a hit. Through Atlantic Records Herb Miller gained a distribution for Lamp records and The Vanguards were on their way cutting more songs for the label over a few years

James Davis later walked away from his musical past to become a minister and was ordained in 1981. Reverend Davis refused to talk about his past for many years for various reasons, so left the “Vanguards” story untold until very recently. “Good Time Bad Times” along with the flip “Man Without Knowledge” is arguably their rarest and most sought after outing for the label and so with the help of Now & Again with the Blessing of Herb Miller Soul Direction bring you these tracks fully licensed and ready for your turntables. Information compiled from Now & Again Notes and edited by Soul Direction.

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