Here's to You
The Velons, John King, James 'Jimmy' Falwell, Gilbert Farrall and Oliver and Gerald Crosby, began singing in 1958 while in high school in Washington, D.C. Later, the Crosby brothers left the group and James 'Buddy' Owens, who had performed with another group known as The Versatiles, replaced them. The Velons began their professional career in 1968. As a dedication to the soldiers in Viet Nam, The Velons, consisting of John King, Jimmy Falwell, Gilbert Farrall and Buddy Owens, recorded their first record, 'Why Don't You Write?' on the BJM label (6568-A). That same year they recorded, 'That's What Love Can Do' (BJM 6569-A). Both records had local success and are now collectors' items on the oldies circuit. In 1969, the group teamed with Jean Quander, another local vocalist, to record an unreleased album. They temporarily disbanded shortly afterwards. In 1971, Jimmy Falwell, John King and Gilbert Farrall, as JJ & G, recorded, 'That's What I Get for Loving You', on TEC Records (T1071-72) that was later released on the Atlantic label. In that same year, Buddy Owens recorded an unreleased single, 'I'm Trying to Tell You Something' on the BJM label. Around 1974, Jean Quander released a single on BJM Records (BJM 577), 'If He Walked Into My Life'. She was backed by the distinctive sound of The Velons, then Jimmy Falwell, Buddy Owens and a new member, Robert 'Bobby' Horn, who previously sang with The Ambassadors. Soon after, Gilbert Farrall rejoined The Velons and Carrie Mingo, who had performed with The Four Jewels, was also recruited. The group recorded two albums. Their first album, 'Remember When' on the MAXI label (MR-lll), was re-released as 'Come Get These Memories' on Solid Smoke (SS-8008). The second album, 'Moonlight and Music,' was also released on Solid Smoke (SS-598-1). Carrie Mingo left The Velons in 1987 to pursue a new business venture. Three of The Velons, Buddy Owens, Gilbert Farrall and Bobby Horn, did background vocals in 1982 for Billy Price and the Keystone Band's album, 'They Found Me Guilty' (Green Dolphin Records, GD7852). In 1985, they also backed Billy Hancock on his album, 'Wanted: True Rock 'N' Roll' (RIPSAW Records 220). The Velons, along with four other local groups, were featured on a Christmas album, 'A Capitol Christmas', that was recorded in 1989 on Lawrence E. Berry's BJM label, in association with Washington Hit Makers (WHBJM-002). Thc Christmas album was re-released in 1994 on Collectables Records (CD-COL-5299) as 'A Rhythm & Blues Christmas - Volume 2'. In 1997, Collectables also released 'Come and Get These Memories' (CD-COL-5782) - a great collection of previous recordings by The Velons. In February 1999, Jean Quander Cheeks teamed up with the group to release their CD, 'It's All Good, It's All Right' (BJM-005). This CD has all original songs written by members of the group and it was arranged and produced by Al Johnson. This music is warm and sensual; it swings, it rocks, it doo-wops, it sends a message that you will not want to forget. While the actual members of the group have changed through the years, their purpose has not: Four-part harmony at it's best; blending the heart and soul of the past with the lyrics and rhythms of the day. Lawrence Berry, who is a well-known D.C. promotor and owner of the BJM label, has been the manager of The Velons for four decades. In additon, Lawrence's son Tony Berry has been the group's musical director since the late 1980's. The voices of The Velons today are Jimmy Falwell, Buddy Owens, Bobby Horn and Robert 'Snobby' Brown, Jr. In 2001, The Velons along with new member Snobby Brown released a 45, 'Blue Lover' w/ 'Someone' (BJM 0006); this is a must have record for doo-wop collectors. The group released a brand new CD 'Here's to You' in April 2004. To hear it and purchase it, see the Audio page).