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The Masqueraders

A fresh interview with The Masqueraders - Update

Soul Express Online, July 2007


THE MASQUERADERS - UPDATE (JULY 2007)

As the years slip by, the appreciation of the Masqueraders keeps getting higher.  The more people see and hear them, the more they are in awe of their harmonizing skills.  Although they never had a huge hit, their unique, classy singing keeps people reverting to their old recordings frequently.

  I talked to the three members of the group – Harold Thomas, Robert Wrightsil and David Sanders - in 2001 about their varied history.  I hope you’ll enjoy the story.  A few days ago I talked to Harold Thomas again, and his comments can be found at the end of the feature.

(The Masquerade Is Not Over; # 2/2001)

The Masquerade Discography

  In early 2004 Grapevine Records released a great set of the Masqueraders recordings between 1965 and 1972, and you can read Harold’s comments on that compilation here.
  You can still purchase that CD at www.garryjcape.com, and it comes highly recommended.

(The Masqueraders,# 1/2004)

The update with Harold was conducted on July 10, 2007:

  Harold: “Sam Hutchins came back in about a couple of years ago, so it’s four of us now – David Sanders, Robert Wrightsil, myself and Sam Hutchins.  Sam had to go to work at one time.  He was a truck-driver.  He had kids, and we weren’t really making any money, so he had to go and get that job and take care of the kids.  They’re all out of school now, and he’s back with us.”

  “We perform every week down at the Blues City Café in Memphis.  We did Prestatyn (U.K.) twice and we played Northhampton, England, and here we’ve been working around Dallas, Kentucky, Alabama…  Our main showcase is old school stuff, like covers of the Temptations.  We do some Elvis and we do some country music, and then we include our original songs in the repertoire.”

  In the course of the years there have been rumours about a new album.  “We’ve put down some demos, but we really haven’t got a budget for it yet.  There’s a new guy in town, in Memphis, who’s interested in us.  He came from Los Angeles.  He worked with Stevie Wonder and with some more Motown acts.  He wants to do some recordings.  His name is Ralph Sutton.  He’s a pretty good engineer.”

  “We’re getting tighter and tighter, preparing for the big time.  We feel like it’s our time now.  All we need to do is hook up with someone that can get us out there.  I just wish that we could get on that world stage to let the world hear what we got.  After all these years it’s really more than just performing.  It’s a spiritual event.  It’s quite an experience for me to wake up every morning and say ‘wow, I’m still here… and I can really sing’.”

  “Back in the day there was really just Lee (Jones) and there was the Masqueraders.  He did most of the leads.  We didn’t want to sing lead, because this guy was so great.  We didn’t even try.  Now Lee may even come back.  I talked to him a couple of weeks ago, and he said he wants to come down and help us write some songs.  It might be an indication that he wants to come back.”

  “But now Sam is strong.  I’ve got my lead developed.  Tex has his lead developed and David always has had a good lead voice.  So now we are all leading; it’s not only one guy.  We’ve all got parts to play.  Now we’re a lot wiser and stronger, and we’re more developed.”

  “We got to put ourselves out there.  We don’t have a manager, but if we prepare ourselves the right way – and that’s what we’re doing, we’re working on our songs and performance – people don’t believe what they’re seeing and what they’re hearing.  This is every time we perform.  They just fall in love.  Back in the past at every turn there was something that would hinder us from going over to the mainstream.  All we really have to do now is to get on that world stage and be seen and be heard.”

Heikki Suosalo

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