The Four Bars
The Four Bars, originally The Four Bars of Rhythm, were formed by Armstrong High School student Eddie Daye, and were revived after his discharge from the Army in 1953. The group, which built a reputation as a top vocal group in the DC area, consisted of Daye (bass) along with Melvin Butler (second tenor), Alphonso Feemster (lead), and Francis Henry (baritone), who briefly performed with The Rainbows.
Longtime member of The Four Bars, Alphonso Feemster - a third generation Washingtonian on his mother's side - grew up in Southeast DC. Feemster had the ability sing both the lead and second tenor, adding variety to the group's arrangements. (Alphonso's brother Herb Feemster - aka Herb Fame - found success in the 1960's and 70's as part of the R&B duo, "Peaches & Herb.")
Recognizing the groups' commitment, Deborah Chessler - who managed vocal group The Orioles from Baltimore, MD - brought Eddie Daye and Jerry Blaine of Jubilee Records together. (Chessler was unable to manage the group, though, because The Orioles objected to her taking time away from her managerial duties for them.) Daye, ever the professional, arranged to sign with Josie Records, a Jubilee subsidiary. The recording sessions were held in New York City, and the result was three singles by The Four Bars that were released between 1954 and 1955.
The group continued to record for a variety of small labels. Beginning in 1958, they recorded for Time Records of Philadelphia, PA in 1960 they had a record on Cadillac Records of Detroit, MI, and in 1963 the group had two releases on Shelley Records of Long Island, NY. The Four Bars performed at several DC area venues such as Turner's Arena, The Blue Mirror, Evans' Grill, as well as a talent show at Carr's Beach, Annapolis, MD.
Group members changed over the years, including at one time or another Eddie Daye's brother William (baritone), Ellsworth Grimes, Otis Grissette (first tenor) and their first documented female member, Betty Wilson. During Betty's tenure, the group released "I'm Yours" in 1967, which was arranged by Donny Hathaway. (He left Howard University that year to pursue his musical aspirations.)
A few years prior in 1963, Eddie Daye founded his own record label Dayco Records and released various singles from the 1960's through the 1980's. He had regular gigs with TNT Tribble at Jimmy McPhail's Gold Room in NE DC. Eddie often performed with his wife Denise as "Eddie & Denise and the Good Time Band", until Denise's untimely passing in March 2008 at age 55. One of their popular recordings was "Sexy Senior Citizen" (1998), which received airplay on DC's "Jazz and Justice' radio station, WPFW 89.3 FM. Eddie Daye passed away on August 6, 2009, at 78 years of age.
The Four Bars
Courtesy of Marv Goldberg. (Top) Eddie Daye, Alphonso Feemster, (Bottom) Francis Henry and Melvin Butler
“When I first met you darling, I fell in love with you and now I still feel the same”
- Why do you treat me this way
The Four Bars