The Players

The Players recorded two beautiful ballads that stay in your heart, but the singers on their two soul hits made live duplication of the sound impossible. They were a studio creation that scored in 1966 with the heartfelt "He'll Be Back," a floating ballad about a guy comforting a girl whose man is in Vietnam. It hit instantly on soul stations, but didn't enjoy the same success on pop radio; still, it did make them known far outside of Cook County's limits. Singers on the smoothie were Herbert Butler (lead) and four members of the Dells: Chuck Barksdale, Johnny Carter, Vern Allison, and Mickey McGill. Otha Lee Givins and Tony Lee Johnson were recruited to become actual Players and travel with Butler to promote the record and perform gigs. Minit rushed an album, with the new recruits singing most of the tracks. A second single, "Glad You Waited" (1966), equaled the beauty of "He'll Be Back," and told of the returning soldier telling his girlfriend how glad he was that she waited faithfully for his return. Allison, Carter, and McGill didn't appear anymore, but the producer still found a need for Barksdale's bass. The Players now consisted of Butler, Johnson, Givins, and Joe Brackenridge. Minit cranked out two more Players singles in 1967, but "That's the Way" and "Get Right" never got off square one. Nothing else ever surfaced from the group built around Herbert Butler's passionate, sweet first tenor. Joe Breckenridge was with the Von Gayels prior to the Players. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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