& The Violinaires are an amazing throwback to yesteryear's soulful
gospel music that has garnered award-winning albums and fans around the
world for over 60 years! Led by Lil' Blair (Titus Stallworth), who was
passed the reigns of the Violinaires from the legendary Robert Blair, Lil'
Blair & The Violinaires are better than ever! The Violinaires are an
affordable choice when looking for that 'piece of history' for your next
show! The guys are a staple at festivals, theaters and churches throughout
the United States!
THE AMAZING HISTORY OF
The year was
1952. The city was Detroit, Michigan. Isaiah “Lil Shoot” Jones,
Wilson DeShields and Leo Coney decided to form a gospel quartet group.
They would come to be known as The Violinaires. From this humble
beginning the world was introduced to the greatest gospel group to sing
God’s praises. Know for their high falsetto background and lead singers,
the group would make an indubitable mark on gospel music.
they were bless with a great talent in the person of Willie Banks. He would
become their first lead singer. He remained with the group for a short
time before he moved on to form his own group. In the early sixties, they
were blessed with another powerfully talented lead singer, Robert Blair.
That was over 30 years ago and the last time he sang he was still powerful.
His unique style along with their high, sweet, falsetto voices in the background
has become the signature of the Violinaires.
In the early
sixties, they were blessed with another powerfully talented lead singer,
Robert Blair. That was over 30 years ago and the last time he sang he was
still powerful. His unique style along with their high, sweet, falsetto
voices in the background has become the signature of the Violinaires. In
the latter part of the sixties, another extraordinary talent was added
to the group. Charles Brown's exceptional voice and style would enhance
an already super group. .
members early on were, Wilson Pickett (of secular fame) Rev. J.C. Smith
(Smitty), Cleophus Tilman, Jim Byers, Murray "Bud" Durhan, Rick Wilson,
Elder James McCurdy, J. J. Hawkins, Frank Thompson, David Battle and others
played a tremendous part in establishing this group. Many have come and
gone, but the Violinaires are still together. In 1965, they recorded their
first album, "Stand By Me," for Chess Records which propelled them to the
top of Gospel Music Charts all over the country. They recorded 12 albums
during their affiliation with that label.
on the gospel charts constantly until early 1970. Keith Richards and Mick
Jagger of the Rolling Stones also wrote for the group during that time.
They have been very fortunate in recording for some of the top labels in
the industry. In 1972, they recorded for Jewel Records. In 1983,
they recorded for Malaco Records, under the leadership of (the late) Frank
Williams. In 1988, they moved to Atlantic International Records (AIR),
where they recorded one of their biggest selling records, "The Pink Tornado",
which again made the record charts nationwide. In 1992, they recorded for
Paula Records. There they showcased the spectacular talents of Danny Walker's
Fantastics, a solo album featuring the Violinaires. The Violinaires have
showcased many talents and many groups have formed within the ranks.
left to form his own group and The popular "Everreadys" with Jerome and
Freddy Williams all sang with the Violinaires. Down through the years the
group has performed at all types of musical gatherings. From Church Concerts
to Jazz festivals throughout the United States. They have also performed
at major concert halls and civic centers with such gospel greats as Shirley
Caesar, Rev. James Cleveland and The Mighty Clouds of Joy, to name a few.
They have also performed with Sam and Dave, The Manhattans and other popular
music artists. In 1997, the Violinaires signed with Prominence Records,
and have recently released their latest CD, "Live In Atlanta".
The group has gone
through several name changes, from The Violinaires, The Fantastic Violinaires,
The Violinaires featuring Robert Blair, Robert Blair and The Violinaires,
Robert Blair and The Fantastic Violinaires, and now to LIL' BLAIR &
THE VIOLINAIRES !! No matter what name was used by the group, there
was one constant – the incomparable falsetto background and lead singers.
The group never lost their ability to take harmonizing to a level that
would rarely, if ever, be matched by any other group.
Many of the
group’s early recordings are still being played on the airways today.