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(Don Julian)

Money 106

No. 7    January 16, 1965




The Larks–or the Meadowlarks, as they were first called–were an L. A. unit formed in 1953 by Don Julian

(lead vocals, tenor), who tapped the vocal talents of his fellow high-school choirmates.   The original crew

included Ronald Barrett (tenor), Earl Jones (baritone, bass), and a later member of THE PENGUINS,

Randy Jones (bass).   Cornell  Gunter, of the Flairs and later the Coasters, took  an interest in the guys and

introduced them to the Bihari brothers at Modern/RPM.    A few singles were waxed and shipped, but

nothing caught on.   Barrett dropped out of the group.


While daydreaming in a warm bath, Julian wrote a nifty number called “Heaven  And Paradise.”   With

Earl, Randy, and a new tenor, Glen Reagan, Don approached Dootsie Williams, owner of the DooTone/

Dooto label.   In a flash, Dootsie knew the group had put together a doo-woppin’  classic.   “Heaven And

Paradise,” “Always And Always,” and a number of  other disks were issued.   Members came and went;

Don and his gang recorded for a while as the Medallions, backing up Vernon Green.


A decade passed.    Don Julian had managed to have some further singles released  under various names,

but none of them sold very well.   Then Don happened on to a new dance in his sister’s front room.   “I went

over to my sister’s; the kids were dancing to Martha  & The Vandelias’ “Dancin’ In The Street,”‘ Julian

recalled to Goldmine’s Steve Propes.    “I said, ‘Hey, what’s that you’re doing?   ‘One of the kids said, ‘The

Jerk.’ I asked her what it was and she said, ‘If you don’t know how to do it, come on, I’ll teach you.'”


Don dashed home, wrote up some lyrics, and reassembled his Larks/Meadowlarks.   (At this point, the

“Meadowlarks” name was  used to refer to the vocal group’s back-up musicians; “The Larks” referred to

the singers themselves.)   The Larks now consisted of Julian plus two L. A. lads, Charles  Morrison and

Ted  Waters.


Once “The  Jerk” appeared  on the Money label and started climbing the charts, a mess of competition

rushed in to stomp out their own Jerk tunes and hopefully grab a piece of the action.   Before the dust

had settled, Bob & Earl (“Everybody Jerk”), THE CAPITOLS (“Cool Jerk”), Clyde & The Blues Jays (“The

Big Jerk”), THE CONTOURS (“Can You Jerk Like Me?”), the Dukays (“The Jerk”), the Miracles  (“Come

On And Do The Jerk”), Jackie Ross (“Jerk And Twine”) and a mess of other acts had worn the craze out.

There seemed no need for Don and his duo to keep jerking: it had all been said and done.   Consequently,

the Larks’ follow-ups, “Soul Jerk” and “Mickey’s East Coast Jerk,” and  two further albums–Soul  Kaliedo-

scope (1966) and Superslick (1967)–sold poorly.