The Coolbreezers of Washington, DC, started out singing gospel but eventually switched to doo-wop. Their members were Joseph ‘Joe’ Ruth (lead), Richard Steward (first tenor), Sonny Williams (bass), Earl J. Williams, Bob Armstrong, and William Primrose. The vocal sextet was managed by Bea Williams (listed as Bea Tibbitts on record), who was the sister of members Sonny and Earl Williams.
Under sister Bea’s direction, the group recorded some demos that she sent off to New York for consideration. This resulted in the group recording for ABC-Paramount Records in 1957. The label had just formed in the Big Apple two years prior in 1955. Unfortunately, though, The Coolbreezers’ recordings for ABC-Paramount (“You Know I Go for You” b/w ”My Brother”) didn’t go anywhere.
So, Bea Williams/Tibbitts took matters into her own hands, creating her own label, BALE RECORDS, located on 7th Street in Northwest, DC. Thereafter, in 1958, she released two singles by The Coolbreezers: “The Greatest Love of All” b/w ”Eda Weda Bug” and the holiday sides, “Let Christmas Ring” b/w ”Hello Mr. New Year.” They also recorded a song called “Siesta” in 1958 that did not get released.
After that, it doesn’t appear that they recorded any more tunes for BALE. Their next known release - “Just Room for Two” b/w “You Know I Go for You” - came more than a decade later on Roadhouse Records, an oldies store and small collector-oriented label in Silver Spring, Maryland, run by Les Moss, a vocal group aficionado. In the early 1970's, Moss leased the masters - or official original recordings - of songs by The Coolbreezers from Mrs. Lillian Claiborne of DC Records. Moss then placed the group's masters on his Roadhouse label, along with tracks by other acts who recorded for Mrs. Claiborne such as Frank “Dual Trumpet” Motley, The Cap-Tans, and drummer Thomas "TNT" Tribble.
According to Darlene Ruth, daughter of Joe Ruth, he passed away on November 11, 2017.
Courtesy of Jay Bruder
"You magnify my life. For you alone, I'll sacrifice"
- The Greatest Love of All