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Plink, Plank And Plunk

By Marv Goldberg

© 2023 by Marv Goldberg

Plink, Plank And Plunk are remembered (if at all) for their cool name and for recording a vocal version of Dizzy Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts". Their story is pretty obscure, with few references to members over their ten-year history. To save typewriter ribbon, I'll refer to them as "PPP" for the most part.

Their beginnings are so obscure that the first mention of the group was when they'd already signed to do some recording with one of the biggest record companies around. The February 5, 1944 Billboard said: "Plink, Plank And Plunk trio have signed with CRA [Consolidated Radio Artists - a booking agency] and are set to cut 10 sides for Decca."

Later that month, they were mentioned in Earl Wilson's syndicated column (New York Post, February 24, 1944) as one of the acts that performed at a benefit show at the U. S. Naval Hospital in St. Albans, Queens, New York. He called them: "a wonderful show-stopping new trio, Plink, Plank and Plunk from the Yacht Club" [one of the West 52nd Street jazz clubs in Manhattan]. The next day, Wilson's column had this: "Also tres, tres, terreefeeque: Plink, Plank and Plunk at the Yacht Club".

In April, PPP finally recorded for Decca, but only two sides, not ten: "Salt Peanuts" and "Sermon On The Blues". The May 13 Billboard confirmed this: "Plink, Plank and Plunk finished two sides for Decca." However, as we'll see, Decca was in no hurry to release these tunes. Here's what you need to know about "Salt Peanuts":

Plink, Plank And Plunk's Decca session took place on April 29, 1944, although the songs wouldn't be released for three more years. As far as I can tell, Plink, Plank And Plunk had the original recorded version, although they must have heard instrumental versions somewhere. Until the 3 Flames in 1947, this seems to be the only version with lyrics.

Originally an instrumental, "Salt Peanuts" was composed by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and drummer Kenny Clarke and copyrighted by them on September 1, 1943. PPP's vocal version was written and copyrighted by Wilson Myers. It's probably not a coincidence that Myers and Clarke had both been in the Sydney Bechet Quintet in 1940.

The first instrumental recording of "Salt Peanuts" seems to have been by Georgie Auld, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, as the "Auld-Hawkins-Webster Saxtet" on May 17, 1944, some weeks after PPP. It was released on Apollo 755 around August 1945, and mentioned in Billboard's September 1, 1945 Advance Record Releases column. Apollo didn't do massive releases in those days; #754 was released back in May 1945.

At least we finally learn their names: Wilson Meyers, Tiger Haynes, and Bob Mosley.

Wilson Myers WILSON ERNEST "SERIOUS" MYERS (bassist) was born on October 2, 1906 in the Germantown area of Philadelphia, and died in Philadelphia on July 10, 1992. He was the son of Robert James Myers and Mary Gertrude Moore. (His birth certificate not only misspelled the family name as "Meyers", but had his middle name as "Ernestine".) In 1940, he ("musician - orchestra") was living in New York City. Wilson was originally called "Serious" because he loved classical music, however it stuck because he was actually famous for not smiling.

Starting out on the drums (which he played behind Bessie Smith and King Oliver), he also took up the clarinet, the trombone, the guitar, and the banjo, before settling on the bass with King Oliver's band. He ("Wylson Myers") returned from Europe in October 1933, where he'd gone as part of Lucky Millinder's Orchestra. At the time, he was still living in Philadelphia. Later that year, he was added to a Spirits Of Rhythm session and was made a member of that group by mid-1934, remaining through the end of 1936.

After the Spirits, he went back to Europe and played with Django Reinhardt, the Oscar Aleman Trio, and Louis Bacon (among others), before returning to America in December 1939. That time, he was on the same ship with two pianists: Bob Mosley (see below) and Roger "Ram" Ramirez. When he returned, he did some more recording with Sidney Bechet's New Orleans Feetwarmers and Benny Carter.

The November 1, 1942 Down Beat had a little blurb about him: "Wilson Myers, who used to jam with Grapelly [Stephane Grappelly] and Django Reinhardt in the old Parisian days, is playing bass with a small combination at George's in the Village here [i.e., Greenwich Village]. Everett Barksdale, guitar, is fronting the band which has tenor-man "Saxie" Payne, with Lloyd Phillips on piano."

Probably in late 1943 Wilson Myers formed the trio of Plink, Plank And Plunk (although, as I said above, there's no mention of them prior to February 1944).

Myers copyrighted "Sermon On The Blues" on October 6, 1944 and "Salt Peanuts" on November 3. However, when Decca finally released them, writer credit on the label was "Myers-Mosley-Haynes".

After PPP, he performed with Sidney Bechet and Mezz Mezzrow. He was with Rex Stewart's Suave Sextette at the 3 Deuces (New York) in February 1946. Later, he'd front his own group.

STEVEN GEORGE "TIGER" HAYNES (guitar) was born December 13, 1914 in Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and died on February 15, 1994 in Manhattan. He was the son of William Haynes and Susanna Collymore, and seems to have come to the U.S. in 1929. In 1940, he was living in Manhattan and was an "entertainer - cabaret". He said that he'd been living in Virginia in 1935.

3 Dandies Tiger started out as a boxer, before becoming a guitarist and singer with the 3 Dandies from about 1937-9. Right before PPP, he headed a group called "Tiger Haynes' Hep Aristocrats". Earl Wilson's January 14, 1943 column in the New York Post said that the Aristocrats were appearing at Louise's Monte Carlo in Manhattan. (That same column also told us that "The Four Toppers, Negro singing instrumentalists, are proving popular at the Enduro, Brooklyn.")

Right after PPP, he started the 3 Flames with pianist Roy Testamark and bassist Averill Pollard. They were around from at least early 1946 (their first recordings were for Gotham in February 1946) through at least 1964. An August 1956 blurb said they'd been together for 11 years.

Later on, Tiger became a stage, television, and movie actor. His most famous role was that of the Tin Man in The Wiz in the late 1970s.

ROBERT POWHATAN MOSLEY (piano) was born December 6, 1913 [he told the draft board 1914 and his California death record has 1916, although the December 6 was consistent] in Glen Wilton, Virginia, and died September 26, 1955 in Sacramento. His father was Lacy Mosley and his mother was Trilby May Fleming. [In the 1920 census (taken as of January 1), Trilby ("Tribby Moseby") was a widow and "Powhatan Fleming" was 6, which validates the 1913 date.] When he registered for the draft, he was appearing at the Kit Kat Club in NYC (owned by Jules Podell, who would also own the Copacabana). His name is sometimes, incorrectly, seen as "Mosely".

On December 22, 1939, both Mosley and Wilson Myers returned from Europe on the SS Veendam. Mosley had gone to Europe with Mabel Scott,, as her accompanist, but remained when she came back to the U.S. On October 29, 1943, Bob Mosley was named as one of the members of the Billy Moore Trio (having replaced Ellis Larkins). This narrows the formation of PPP to very late 1943 or very early 1944.

After he left PPP, Mosley was on a June 1945 Excelsior session in Los Angeles as part of bassist Charles Mingus' Sextette. By June 17, he was appearing in San Francisco with Jack McVea. In November 1945, he was on a session in Los Angeles (released as by "Bob Mosley & All Stars" on Bel-Tone), which also had Charles Mingus and singer Marion Abernathy. He then had his own band, in California, in March 1946.

at the London Terrace at the London Terrace The July 1, 1944 Billboard said: "Plink, Plank and Plunk playing a return engagement at the London Terrace, New London, Conn". They were first advertised there on May 4 and remained until the end of that month. Ads called them "Decca's Popular Recording Artists", although Decca hadn't released anything yet (and wouldn't for a long, long while). It just goes to show how powerful the mention of Decca was. The return engagement that Billboard talked about started on June 28. This time, they were called "Decca Record and Blue Network Artists" (although I can't find any radio listings for them) and remained through the middle of August.

On July 16, they were one of the acts at a benefit for the United Negro College Fund at Manhattan's Town Hall. Also performing were the Jubalaires and Trevor Bacon.

Dorothy Kilgallen's syndicated column of August 7, 1944 said: "There's a new trio around that I just have to adore. It's called Plink, Plank and Plunk."

at the London Terrace On September 23, 1944, they started their third appearance at the London Terrace. Now, they were the "sensational madcaps of melody and song". This engagement only lasted a week (until September 30). There was a huge (four whole paragraphs) article about them in the October 7, 1944 Cleveland Call And Post:

Plink, Plank And Plunk - 1944 at the Blue Grass Club Plink, Plank and Plunk is the name of the brilliant and versatile trio now playing the Blue Grass Club. [They had started there on October 1.] The originality of the name is matched by the originality of the music they play.

Plink, Plank and Plunk (piano, guitar, bass) are especially well-known for the original numbers which they feature, "Salt Peanuts" and "Preachin' The Blues" [sic] - both of which they have recorded for Decca - are two of these. [Keep in mind that Decca hadn't yet released the songs.] "All Reet", made famous by the Jimmy Dorsey recording, is another Plink, Plank and Plunk original. [They were referring to Dorsey's 1941 recording of "Au Reet".]

In addition to their original tunes, standard and jump numbers, the three boys in the trio [it would have taken too much ink to actually name them] all sing, individually and in ensemble.

Some of their recent engagements have been the Brown Derby in Washington [DC]; Doc's in Baltimore; the London Terrace, New London, Connecticut; and El Rancho, Chester, Pa.

Earl Wilson reported, on December 29, 1944, that PPP had been at another benefit at the St. Albans Naval Hospital. It's unclear from the blurb where they were appearing at the time (although it was probably Jimmy Kelly's in Greenwich Village).

I don't know why, but on January 3, 1945 (the date is on the labels), Wilson Myers (as "Meyers") recorded at least four sides, in New York, with the Ray Stokes Trio: "Preachin' Blues" (pretty much the same song as "Sermon On The Blues", but sung annoyingly fast), "Stokin' The Boogie", "The Little Goose", and "Blues For Clarence Profit". These were all released on the Black & White label later that year. Ray Stokes seems to have been the house pianist at Du Mond's in Philadelphia from mid-1944 through mid-1945, so it was probably a one-off session.

On February 7, 1945, PPP once again began an appearance at the London Terrace, in New London, Connecticut. This time, they were there for a month, until March 5.

at the Pen & Pencil Cafe By late March 1945, PPP were at the Pen & Pencil Cafe in Washington, DC. The ad called them "Mystical, Lyrical, Harmonious, Musical . . . born with Rhythm in their souls. They'll set your toes tapping, your heart humming." The April 17 Washington Evening Star had, presumably, never heard of them before when they said: "Leave it up to the Pen and Pencil Cafe to think up a name like 'Plink, Plank and Plunk' for their jive makers."

Timme Rosenkrantz, a Danish baron and jazz aficionado, toured the United States and later wrote about it in "Harlem Jazz Adventures: A European Baron's Memoir - 1934-1969". In it, he lists two unissued recordings by the Wilson Myers Trio ("Candy" and "Flyin' Home"), made on April 14, 1945, but he doesn't say for whom. The trio consisted of piano, guitar, and bass, so it could have been PPP (or another one-off session). The book presents a huge discography of sessions that Rosenkrantz had something to do with; this was one of them.

I have to wonder, however, if Bob Mosley was still in the group at that time. As I said above, he'd be in Los Angeles by June 1945. Read on.

The next (and last known) PPP recording session took place on May 31, 1945 in New York, the headquarters of V-DISC records. Like AFRS recordings, V-DISCs were shipped to soldiers overseas, not played over the radio. Made of Vinlyite, the discs survived mailing better than records made with shellac.

V-Disc 496 Once again, they recorded two songs: "Salt Peanuts" and "Jammin' For His Majesty" (which sounds like it might have been an instrumental, but it was never released). Unlike the Decca recordings, "Salt Peanuts" was issued relatively quickly, in August 1945. (That is, it was shipped overseas, not to record stores.)

So who were PPP on these end-of-May recordings? The label tells us that the vocals were by Tiger Haines [sic] and Wilson Myers (and the writer credit was to Myers). We know that Bob Mosley was off in California (a June 9 blurb announced that he'd be at a jazz concert as part of Jack McVea's band), so a new pianist was needed. Myers and Haynes got Cliff Jackson for the session.

Cliff Jackson in 1947 Cliff Jackson CLIFTON LUTHER JACKSON (piano) was born on July 19, 1902 in Washington, DC (per his draft registration), and died on May 24, 1970 in the Bronx. He was the son of Jerry Jackson and Eliza Shelton. Cliff moved to New York around 1923.

When he registered for the draft on February 15, 1942, he was a musician, working at Nick's Tavern in Greenwich Village. In 1950, he was a "pianist - night club". In late 1953, he married singer Maxine Sullivan (at least the wedding was announced in early December), who'd once been married to bandleader John Kirby. They'd be together until his death.

A stride pianist, he played with Bunk Johnson, Bunny Berigan, Pee Wee Russell, Red Norvo, and Sidney Bechet's New Orleans Feetwarmers (one of whose members had been Wilson Myers). He also had Cliff Jackson's Village Cats, recording for Black & White in early 1945. (They had a couple of members you might recognize: Sidney de Paris, Wilbur de Paris, Sidney Bechet, Everett Barksdale, and Gene Sedric.)

However, he couldn't have been an actual member of PPP, since he was the house pianist at Cafe Society Downtown from 1943 to 1951. Therefore, he was just used for the session.

Dizzy Gillespie, one of the writers of the melody for "Salt Peanuts", recorded his version (for Guild Records) on May 11, 1945; it was released in September. The lineup included Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Al Haig (piano), Curley Russell (bass), and Sid Catlett (drums).

Since PPP's V-DISC version was recorded on May 31 and released in August, the dates indicate that it wasn't a reaction to the Dizzy Gillespie recording, which was waxed a bit earlier, but released later.

Soon after this, PPP got a new pianist: Paul Curry.

Paul Curry - 1969 PAUL HENSON "BUTTERBALL" CURRY (piano) was born on March 1, 1917 in Baltimore and died on April 9, 1979 in Philadelphia, the son of Arthur Curry and Violet Burney. When he registered for the draft in 1940, he was working for the Philadelphia Transportation Company.

In 1943-4, he had the Paul Curry Trio, which played at Du Mond's in Philadelphia.

In the 1960s, he was the pianist and musical director for Hines, Hines, And Dad. (Drummer Maurice "Chink" Hines was the father of two dancers you might know: Maurice Hines, Jr. and Gregory Hines. For what it's worth, I saw their act in the Catskills sometime in the early 1960s. Try to look impressed.)

at the Circus Snack Bar The June 17, 1945 St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that PPP was coming to the Circus Snack Bar in the Forest Park Hotel. They would, said the blurb, "provide the sort of music which is most popular with Snack Bar customers." The June 24 edition said:

Plink, Plank and Plunk, the colored harmony boys, are now appearing at the Snack Bar in the Forest Park Hotel. The boys' hot harmony on the piano, guitar and bass, interpolating their instrumental music with some hot vocal harmony. [Grammatically questionable, but at least the writer liked them.]

The June 25 New York Sun mentioned that Cliff Jackson ("boogie-woogie pianist") was appearing at Cafe Society Downtown (along with the Phil Moore Four, Imogene Coca, Mary Lou Williams, Ann Hathaway, and Elwood Smith). Therefore, as I said, he couldn't have been a member of PPP. [An interesting story. I saw a documentary on the great pianist Mary Lou Williams, who talked about this particular Cafe Society engagement. Phil Moore wore a huge ring, which chipped the piano keys. She ended up cutting her fingers on the chipped keys when she played, so she asked him not to wear it during performances. He refused; she punched him in the mouth. Ah, show business.]

PPP would remain at the Circus Snack Bar until around August 10. One of their songs singled out for mention was "A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird". The July 8 St. Louis Globe-Democrat said:

With Plink at the piano, Plank at his guitar, and Plunk with his bass fiddle, music and song are yowled nightly in the Forest Park's Circus Snack Bar. If you don't go in for subtle humor, if you like double-meaning songs as easily understood as a 24-sheet billboard [which is huge], this playing and singing trio is your dish. The sepia songbirds explain with perfect good humor that "A Chicken Is Just A Bird", and you don't have to be a long-winded, long-worded ornithologist to get what they mean.

In August V-DISC issued "Salt Peanuts". The flip had two songs by Big Bill [Broonzy]: "I Feel So Good" and "Tell Me Baby".

3 Flames Sometime between August 1945 and the end of the year, Plink, Plank And Plunk broke up. At least part of the problem stemmed from a dispute between Tiger Haynes and Paul Curry when they were playing in Chester, Pennsylvania. Curry liked to play like Nat King Cole and Haynes was looking for more lively treatments. Haynes simply walked out, and soon formed the 3 Flames. (Unfortunately, the few late 1945 mentions of the 3 Flames are about a roller skating act.)

The February 14, 1946 California Eagle said:

Rex Stewart, trumpet man with Duke Ellington's ork for ten years, now conducts his own outfit called the Suave Sextette, currently playing the Three Deuces in N.Y. His lineup includes Wilson Myers, bass; Sandy Williams, sax and soloist; Pete Clark, alto sax; "Pazuza" Simon, tenor sax; Bay Perry, drums, and Joe Turner on piano.

However, the December 7, 1946 Billboard said: "Plink, Plank and Plunk new at the Hotel Plaza Palm Room [Philadelphia]." I have no idea who was in the group. Wilson Myers was still with Rex Stewart, Bob Mosley was still in California, and Tiger Haynes was still with the 3 Flames. I suppose Paul Curry could have carried on for a while.

Decca 48036 But that's the last we'll hear of them for a long while, with one exception: in June 1947, Decca finally got around to releasing the three-year-old "Salt Peanuts" (with vocal by Wilson Myers and Tiger Haynes) and "Sermon On The Blues" (vocal by Wilson Myers). It was mentioned in Billboard's July 5, 1947 Advance Record Releases column, and reviewed on July 19:

Label re-issues this instrumental and vocal blend of piano, guitar and bass. Trio stacks up best for its Sermon On The Blues, a bright boogie-woogie blues, with a solo voice piping it in rugged race style just right. All three chime in for Salt Peanuts, a jive novelty of little account and entirely too talkative in their interpretation. Their playing is only for rhythm support. Sermon On The Blues may make some nickel change at the race spots.

I have to wonder about the "re-issue" statement. I'd like to believe it, but there's no trace of a former issue on Decca.

Did Decca release it to compete with Dizzy Gillespie? His original 1945 Guild recording had been purchased by Musicraft, which now reissued it. Musicraft advertised it in Billboard on November 15, 1947, although it wasn't in the Advance Record Releases column until the November 22 edition. Since Decca released Plink, Plank And Plunk's recording in June, they were, once again, not reacting to Gillespie. Actually, for some reason, Decca released a bunch of recordings that were years old at this time (they included the Jubilaires, Bea Booze, Jay McShann, and Tab Smith).

On August 14, 1947, Tiger Haynes and his new group, the 3 Flames, recorded a version of "Salt Peanuts" for Columbia, which released it in October. Writer credit went to "Haynes, Mosely [sic], and Myers" and used most of the same lyrics as Plink, Plank And Plunk. This was, presumably recorded in the wake of the PPP release.

at Brownlee's Tavern On August 4, 1949, "Plink-Plank-Plunk" were at Brownlee's Tavern in Sandusky, Ohio. The ad called them "Stage and Radio Artists", although I've never found any radio work that they'd done. Who were they? Wilson Myers had gotten a new group together, but it'll be a while until I can name any others.

at Cusate's A November 2, 1949 ad said that PPP were currently at Cusate's, in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

at Al's Chateau at the Coronet In April 1950, they ("radio & television stars", although I can't find them on either medium) were at the Coronet, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Cumberland [Maryland] Sunday Times of May 28 said: "Al's Chateau has booked the Plink, Plank, Plunk trio for the coming week. This negro outfit played at the Main Stem spot when it was known as the Alibi." They opened the following night

Somewhere along the way, they'd hooked up with the Jolly Joyce Agency of Philadelphia. Their name appeared in a big September 1950 Joyce ad, but only on a list of "Other Feature Attractions", not the big acts (which had photos) like the Red Caps, Buddy Hawkins & the Key Notes, the 4 Tunes, Herb Kenny, and Grandpa Jones.

at the Melody Inn The week of October 2, 1950, they were at the Melody Inn in Lancaster. Pennsylvania.

at the Piccadilly Plink, Plank And Plunk - 1950 at Club Normandy In November 1950, they appeared at the Club Normandy in Mishawaka, Indiana. This time, they were called "Wilson Myer's [sic] Plink-Plank 'n Plunk". On December 1, they were at the Piccadilly in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A photo ran with the ad, showing Wilson Myers and guitarist Jack Jackson (whom I can pick out by comparing him to a later photo when the members were named). The third member, presumably the pianist, is unknown.

JOHN WESTLY "JACK" JACKSON, Jr. (guitar) was born on January 9, 1914 in Herkimer, New York, and died on October 5, 2002 in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John Jackson, Sr. and Anna Harrison. In 1940, he was a musician, living in Hackensack. In 1950, he was a "guitar player - night club", living in Philadelphia.

On June 24, 1943, he copyrighted a song called "When There's Peace On Earth Again".

at Club Rio A May 1951 ad for the Club Rio in Allentown, Pennsylvania, touted "Plink - Plank - Plunk - featuring Arthur Davy".

Arthur Davy ARTHUR EUGENE DAVY (clarinet & alto sax) was born October 14, 1904 in Apalachicola, Florida, the son of James Davy and Fannie Ard. He died on May 13, 2007 in Denver. His name is sometimes seen, incorrectly, as "Davey".

Davy had once been with Louis Armstrong. In 1943, he had the Arthur Davy Strollers at the Bingham House in Philadelphia. He'd also been with the Red Caps and (more or less) with the 4 Blues (ads for them were extremely vague as to whether he was an actual member or just appearing along with them).

By May 1951, at the latest, he was with PPP, although his status there was just as hazy as it had been with the 4 Blues; both acts were booked by Jolly Joyce. All the June and July 1951 ads for the Cadillac Lounge, in Cumberland, Maryland, say "Plink - Plank n' Plunk, featuring Arthur Davies [sic]". One ad had a photo showing PPP with Davy's head pasted in. Looks like he was just ancillary and not actually a fourth member, but it's hard to tell. Every PPP ad from May 1951 through May 1952 has his name separately; there are no PPP ads for the rest of 1952 (although there are hundreds of references to Leroy Anderson's great hit instrumental, "Plink, Plank, Plunk").

The June 2, 1951 Billboard said they were at Club 421 in Philadelphia: "The current attraction is Georgie Auld's band, plus Plink-Plank-Plunk and Arthur Davey [sic]."

at the China Casino A June 9 ad has "Arthur Davies and his super sensational Plink Plank N' Plunk" at the China Casino in Cleveland. The ad pointed out that they'd been with the Red Caps, even though it was only Davy who'd been. (To see why I point this out, you should read my Red Caps article.)

at the Cadillac On July 16, they opened at the Cadillac Lounge in Cumberland, Maryland. The July 15 Cumberland Sunday Times said: "Appearing with them will be Plink, Plank, N' Plunk. This unit also has a male singer." (Also appearing was the Richard Cannon Trio. Cannon had replaced Maithe Marshall in the Ravens for a couple of months, starting in late 1948.)

Now, we have dueling blurbs. The August 25, 1951 Billboard said: "Plink, Plank and Plunk unit, opening at Lou's Moravian, Philadelphia, now features Arthur Davey [sic], who used to be with Steve Gibson's Red Caps." However, a few days before, the August 20 Philadelphia Inquirer said: "Plink, Plank and Plunk have been held over at Lou's Moravian". I guess it doesn't matter all that much; they were there.

On September 11, they appeared at the Bowling Green Lounge in Detroit.

at the Tic Toc Tap In mid-January 1952, they were at the Zanzibar in Toronto. Late April found them at the Tic Toc Tap (Sheboygan, Wisconsin), whose May 2 ad said that they were held over for two more weeks. They were "Plink, Plank and Plunk, with the outstanding Arthur Davy". Notice that nothing ever said exactly what Davy did with them. He was a clarinetist and sax player, but also sang.

But it's now a moot point. The January 10, 1953 Billboard said he'd left PPP to return to the Red Caps (also booked by Jolly Joyce). However, by May of that year, there was the Arthur Davy Trio, which, mercifully, doesn't concern us. Whether or not he was an actual member of PPP, he was effectively used as one, so let's not split hairs.

at the Del Mar Hotel On January 21, 1953 they opened at the Del Mar Hotel in Soo, Michigan. The ad strangely proclaimed:

SEE and HEAR the
Wilson Myers Trio
The Philadelphia Pitter Patter Boys
"Plink", "Plank" and "Plunk"

at Club Rendezvous A May 26, 1953 ad places them at the Club Rendezvous in Moline, Illinois. It said they'd been at Sardi's in Philadelphia, but not when. It also used the phrase "Arthur Godfrey Talent", leading me to believe they'd been on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts show, but only Club Rendezvous ads ever mentioned that.

The July 15, 1953 Down Beat had a two-page spread from the McConkey Artists Corporation, naming around 70 of the acts they managed. Plink, Plank, & Plunk were there as "Radio, Recording & TV Favorites", although I'd be hard-pressed to recognize many of the other acts (Jump Jackson, Ray Reynolds, and the Bell Boys were pretty much it).

at the Esquire Lounge Plink, Plank And Plunk - late 1953 When they appeared at the Esquire Lounge in Dayton, Ohio in November 1953, the ad had a reasonable photo of the group. Since the same photo was used in late 1954, when the members were named, I'll assume that they were the same now. Along with Wilson Myers and Jack Jackson, we now have Herman Gammage.

HERMAN ZACHARIAH GAMMAGE was born on January 8, 1921 in Sylvester, Georgia, and died on April 8, 1988 in Philadelphia. Son of Joseph Gamage and Jenny Thomas. His WW2 draft registration (July 1, 1941) said he was unemployed, but when he enlisted in the Army in July 1942, his draft record gave his profession as "musician" (although I've been unable to find out what instrument he played; presumably piano). Some of his Army records state that that he was born on January 8, 1920, rather than 1921.

1947-8 ads called baritone Herman Gammage the "Sepia Bing Crosby"; he's always mentioned as a vocalist. He'd supposedly been with Blanche Calloway and Lionel Hampton. There's only this single reference linking him to PPP. He's not in the 1950 photo, so I don't know when he joined.

Jack Jackson was mentioned in a blurb in the November 24, 1953 Dayton Daily News, but, of course, it leads to more confusion:

Of special note are some of the things the Plink-Plank-Plunk trio does at the Esquire Lounge. Bassist Wilson Myers is one of the finest on his instrument I've seen and until you've caught his tremendous bowing on "Dark Eyes," you haven't seen everything that can be done on a bass. He spent several years with the Paris symphony orchestra and was on a great many records with Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club Of France. [True; that was in the late 1930s.] Pianist Jack Jackson spent some time with Jimmy [sic] Lunceford.

So now Jackson is described as a pianist who'd been with Jimmie Lunceford. However, Lunceford's pianist (from 1929 on) was Eddie Wilcox. This means that either (1) they got Jackson's instrument wrong and they should have said guitarist, or (2) they got the name wrong and the pianist was really Herman Gammage. Or, now that I think about it, (3) maybe Jackson also played the piano. (Why do I keep doing this to myself?)

at the Del Mar Hotel at the Del Mar Hotel at the Del Mar Hotel They were back at the Del Mar Hotel from mid-January 1954 through early February; all the ads refer to both PPP and the Wilson Myers Trio. They promised "3 Way Singing - Colossal Comedy". However, they were never again advertised as the Wilson Myers Trio.

at Club Rendezvous at Club Roc-Mar at Club Belvedere Then, it was off to the Club Belvedere in Midland, Pennsylvania, where they appeared starting on February 20, 1954. An April 2 ad said it was their last three nights at the Club Roc-Mar in Schenectady, New York. July 1 found them back at the Club Rendezvous in Moline, Illinois.

at the Shamrock It's almost the end, but they went out with a [verbal] bang. The only real article about them ever written was part of an ad for the Shamrock in Lafayette, Indiana, where they opened on December 13, 1954. It sported a large photo of the group, without, of course, bothering to identify who was who. (It's basically very bad press agent writing and I stuck in commas where I thought they were needed; the writer was seemingly unaware of their purpose. I also added a couple of words [in brackets] to help it all make sense.)

Wilson Myers, the originator of PLINK, PLANK 'N PLUNK, known to everyone in the band business as the "Old Globe Trotter", has had a very complete experience in the band business, taking him back to the days of Bert Williams' Band, Joe "King" Oliver, Don Redman, Lucky Millender, Willie Bryant, and, of course, the famous Duke Ellington. Myers is a very thorough musician, [and] was the arranger for the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, the famed Bunny Berigan, and Ray Ventura's Band in Paris, France. Going back prior to that, he was a member of the famous Sidney Bechet's "New Orleans Feet Warmers". [Unfortunately, they managed to leave out the Spirits Of Rhythm.]

Wilson Myers took time out from [the] music business while in Europe to attend school in Paris, and he lived there quite a number of years before returning to the United States in 1940 [actually December 1939]. At this time, Myers wanted to fulfill an ambition to organize his own group, at which time PLINK, PLANK 'N PLUNK were organized [or, at least, they were four years later]. Incorporating his many years of experience in the band business, along with his arranging ability, all of these ideas were integrated into the trio. Immediately, PLINK, PLANK 'N PLUNK began to score very impressively on all engagements. However, the original pianist in the group returned to Europe in 1945 and, because of the scarcity of musicians, the group was broken up. [Not true; original pianist Bob Mosley was with Jack McVea, in California in 1945, not in Europe.]

About a year later, Myers took another hand in reorganizing PLINK, PLANK 'N PLUNK, [and] secured the services of JACK JACKSON, also regarded as an old timer in the music business, who had worked with such outstanding names as Billy Eckstine and also had had his own group under the name of the Harlem Dictators [this was actually Floyd Ray's group, not Jackson's]. Jackson's style and conception blended very well with Wilson Myers' ideas, and they also secured HERMAN GAMMAGE, who was a comparative newcomer in the music business and were particularly impressed because of his outstanding vocal ability. [This is vague enough to imply that Jackson and Gammage were part of the group starting in 1949. However, photographic evidence shows that Gammage wasn't there in 1950. If the photo that had Arthur Davy was indicative of the rest of the group, Gammage wasn't there in 1951 either.]

Gammage's experience and activity in the music business was rather limited; however he blended beautifully with the trio because of his extensive education and training for the concert stage. His very deep resonant baritone voice is indicative of his many years of training. In spite of the short experience in the business, Gammage had appeared with such people as Blanche Calloway in an act known as the Barrons.

PLINK, PLANK 'N PLUNK today with the outstanding ability of each of the individuals, has progressed to be one of the most versatile, flexible colored vocal and instrumental entertaining trios in the business. They stress appearance, conduct and, above all, showmanship and the ability to project themselves as musicians and entertainers.

at the Colonial Tavern Listing a few of the many outstanding rooms which they have played in the past [while I have no reason to doubt these, only the Esquire Room and the Colonial Tavern were ever advertised]:

            Blue Mirror - Washington, D.C.
            Latin Casino - Philadelphia, PA.
            Golden Rail - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
            Brass Rail - London, Ontario, Canada
            Colonial Tavern - Toronto, Canada
            Esquire Room - Dayton, Ohio
            Elkton Hotel - Quincy, Illinois

PLINK, PLANK 'N PLUNK, because of their inimitable style and treatment of vocal and instrumental material places them in the category to play to America's most select and smart clientele. [That sentence is word for word what was written.]

The last ad I could find for the group was when they were held over at the Shamrock through New Year's Eve 1954. However, there's this: in July of each year, Down Beat published a column called "Want To Buy A Combo?", which listed hundreds of combos and small groups for hire. Plink, Plank 'N Plunk (notice the change from "&" to "'N" over the years), now handled by the Associated Booking Corp, were on it from 1955 through 1958. All it ever said about them was "Versatile instrumental and 3-way vocals". In spite of this, I can't find a single appearance they made during those years.

I've always liked "Salt Peanuts" and "Sermon On The Blues". I wish they'd made more recordings. I also wish that someone had seen fit to write about them way back when.


   UNRELEASED; UNKNOWN COMPANY (Wilson Myers Trio; see text)
      Candy (recorded April 14, 1945)
      Flyin' Home (recorded April 14, 1945)

V-DISC (Plink, Plank And Plunk)
496 Salt Peanuts / [I Feel So Good and Tell Me Baby - Big Bill (Broonzy)] - 8/45

      Jammin' For His Majesty (recorded May 31, 1945)

DECCA ( (Plink, Plank And Plunk; had been recorded April 29, 1944)
48036 Salt Peanuts / Sermon On The Blues - 6/47

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