William L. Powers（Bass）
Fred Parris of 24 Sperry Street in New Haven, Connecticut, was expelled in 1953 from a vocal group known as the Canaries. The avid ball player (he once had a tryout with the Boston Braves) decided to form his own group and labeled them the Scarlets. The quintet of Hillhouse High School students included Sylvester Hopkins (first tenor), Nathaniel Mosely, Jr. (second tenor), Albert Denby (baritone), and William L. Powers (bass).
Since Fred wrote the songs the guys made him lead singer. The rehearsed under the influence of THE 5 ROYALES, THE CLOVERS, THE DOMINOES, and THE FIVE CROWNS. Fred was a particular fan of the Velvets and THE FOUR FRESHMEN. As the group’s leader, Parris was saddled with the responsibility of finding them a record label, but the 17-year-old had little idea how to go about it. He traveled to New York without so much as a tape in hopes of finding Red Robin Records (home of the Velvets), which was operated out of a record shop at 301 West 125th Street in Harlem.
First he encountered Bob Shad, a record shop owner who also owned the Jax label (Bobby Hall and the Kings). Shad sent Fred down the block where he met Red Robin proprietor Bobby Robinson. When the Scarlets lead told Robinson of his group he got the same response elicited from Shad, which in effect was “go home and bring me a demo tape.” When Fred did return with a tape of the self penned “Dear One,” Robinson still wasn’t impressed, but his brother and partner Dan did like the group and convinced Robinson to record them.
In early spring of 1954 the Scarlets were given 15 minutes to cut “Dear One” and another ballad called “I’ve Lost.” “Dear One” had a classic rhythm and blues harmony sound. Fred’s Plaintive lead, shifting to falsetto riffing while the baritone and bass took over, helped make the record a New York hit in the spring of 1954. The flip, “I've Lost,” was another solid ballad with more than a hint of the melody line from the 1948 Benny Goodman tune “Beyond the Sea.”
The group got better with each release as December’s “Love Doll” and the later “True Love” demonstrated. Even though “True Love” was almost a clone of “Dear One,” the harmonies had a more confident sound. Parris had his first hit as a writer with the B side but not via the Scarlets. The rocker, “Cry Baby,” was cut a year later by three moonlighting nurses from Bellevue Hospital called THE BONNIE SISTERS, reaching a healthy number 18 on the Pop charts. The New Haven quintet was called by Uncle Sam in 1955 with the promise that they could stay together. Thus assured, the Scarlets foresaw a great time entertaining troops and officers. Instead, one member wound up in Alaska, One in Texas, and other in Korea, and so on. After basic training in Texas the group returned to New York on leave and cut one farewell single for Red Robin called “Kiss Me.”
Fred was then stationed in Philadelphia and was able to return to New Haven for weekends. He formed a new group that included Lou Peebles (tenor), Ed Martin (baritone), Stanley Dortch (tenor), and Jim Freeman (bass). Fred wanted a new name since none of these new members had been in the Scarlets. He liked the idea of something soft and red like the Velvets and the Scarlets. The result: the Five Satins.