Native New Yorkers: “We’re back!” With these words The Nobles (Formerly the Joneses) are returning to the recording scene after a two-year eclipse. They have regrouped into a more cohesive unit, with new songs and with a greater drive than ever before.
The Nobles are brothers Wendel, Larry and Ramone, augmented by Sam White, a cousin, and by Jerome Jackson. Born and raised in New York, Ramone and Larry began singing under the inspired guidance of their father Ray Noble, a gospel singer. The elder Noble did not care for “rock and roll,” and his sons were trained to sing gospel.
In 1971 The Joneses was born; the group was short-lived; December 1974 marked the end of The Joneses. Now, the Nobles are reluctant to discuss why the group was disbanded. But one senses that they were badly hurt by the experience. “We were treated wrong,” offers Wendel, expressing the opinions of the others. “As The Joneses, we had a chance to make it really big, and if things had been taken care of, we would have been superstars by now. But poor business decisions and people thinking they were going to ‘get over’ on us, which they did, got us right back down. We didn’t give up, because we’ve been singing all our lives, but we decided that we had to go somewhere else if we wanted to succeed on our own terms.”
Cassette Soap Opera: Verta Mae Grosvenor (author of Vibration Cooking) is Johnnie Mae Brown, “The super-sad wife, in an original cassette-tape soap opera called Personal Problems.”
Personal Problems is described as a tragic situation-comedy, written and improvised by the actors themselves. The characters — including a New York subway motorman, his wife who’s a nurse’s aide and his father — who live in an intricate web of domestic crises. Walter Cotton is Charles Brown — The woe begone husband and Jim Wright guests stars as Father Brown. The original theme music was composed for the production by composer and music critic Carman Moore. Each episode in the series is approximately thirty minutes.
Esther Rolle, former TV star of Good Times, will record her first gospel album, Song For The Elders, written especially for her by Rev. James Cleveland. It will soon be released by Savoy Records.
CBS Records donated $12,500 to the newly established tax exempt Intern Program sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. The program will provide graduate students with a first-hand knowledge of the legislative process.
Ruth Clark, owner of Clark Unlimited Personnel, has formed CUP Stars, Inc., which will represent Black and ethnic actors and actresses for film, commercials and theatre and models for print advertising.
Alexis Deveaux, playwright and author of several children’s books, is the new poetry editor at Essence Magazine.
Poet Quincy Troupe‘s book on the making of the television show Roots, is scheduled for release this month. Quincy says he enjoyed working on the project, which is a switch from his previous work. He combined business with pleasure by partying with Roots’ stars and boating with David Wolper, producer, who coauthored the book.
James Baldwin‘s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, is about to become a TV movie, with LeVar Burton starring and Gil Moses directing.
Thelma Houston will play the late blues queen Bessie Smith in the Columbia movie. Thelma says that her recording company, Motown, groomed her for the role by sending her to an acting teacher.
A full-length film on the life of the First Black Saint in the Catholic Church, St. Martin de Porres, who died in Lima, Peru, in 1697 and was canonized in 1962, is scheduled to begin shooting soon.
Flashback, sung by Dee Dee Sharpe Gamble, will be the theme song for actor Jim Brown‘s new film Do They Ever Cry in America? Jim, who is making his debut as a producer, also stars in the film. He says the “tune relates to our film so well it could have been written especially for us.”