Reggie Walker (Bass, Lead)
John Blount (First Tenor)
Ronald Coleman (Second Tenor)
Robert Coleman (Baritone)
Long Island, NY-based doo wop quartet the Delroys formed in the city’s Queensbridge Projects in 1956 — according to Marv Goldberg’s profile in the July 1989 issue of Record Collectors’ Monthly, brothers Ronald (first tenor) and Robert Coleman (baritone) lured away bass Reggie Walker from a rival group, and with the subsequent addition of lead John Blount, the lineup was complete.
Named in honor of the acrobatic troupe the Five Flying Delroys, the teens were soon introduced to manager Ernest Kelly, who in early 1957 secured a deal with Apollo Records that also included another of his clients, soloist Milton Sparks.
Thus, the Delroys’ debut single, “Bermuda Shorts,” featured Sparks’ “Time” on the flip side — when the Walker-penned tune began earning interest at radio, Apollo vice president Charlie Merenstein partnered with stations across the U.S. to launch contests promising winners copies of the record as well as gift certificates for their own “Bermuda shorts.”
Although the Delroys scored a major hit in markets including Baltimore, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New York City, spotty distribution hampered the momentum of “Bermuda Shorts” and the single failed to crack the national pop charts; moreover, when Apollo withheld payment from the group, their parents balked at future recording sessions, bringing their tenure with the label to an abrupt halt.
The Delroys continued touring, however, at each date performing in Bermuda shorts of their own — a frustrated Blount resigned from duty in 1958, prompting the additions of two new members, lead Bobby Taylor and second tenor Junior Talbot. When Kelly and Sparks co-founded their own Sparkell label in 1959, the Delroys entered the studio to cut their second single, “Wise Owl” — when it failed to generate the interest of “Bermuda Shorts,” the lineup began to splinter, with several members called for military duty.
In 1961, Ronald Coleman assembled a new Delroys lineup featuring lead Ray Paine, second tenor Norman Baquie, and baritone Cliff Davis, cutting “Love Me Tenderly” for the Carol label and scoring a minor hit in the New York market. A second Carol single remained on the shelf, however, and the new group dissolved as well.
However, in 1964 Coleman reunited with Reggie Walker to form yet another iteration of the Delroys, this one with second tenor Walter Pope. Their lone recording, “Alimony,” appeared on the compilation LP Al Browne Presents Dyno Sounds.
The Coleman brothers joined forces with Walker again in 1970, adopting the name the First Three for their lone Deep label effort, “Don’t Get Caught Faking.” After more than a decade of inactivity, the trio re-formed as the Delroys in 1982, becoming a staple of the oldie’s revue and corporate events circuits.
Bermuda Shorts – The Delroys 1957