Universals Groups

From the conflicting information available for the Universals groups, the California groups, the Festival group (with group members listed below) and the V-Tone group can be separated from the confusion.


Universals (LA) (Male) – Never Was A Girl/ Black Beard, ’61 (Kerwood 712) (Same # used for ‘Didn’t It Rain (Part I)/ Didn’t It Rain (Part II)’ by the Tormentors and dated 1965.)



Universals (California) – A Love Only You Can Give/ I’m In Love, ’62 (Shepherd 2200)

Universals (California) as Sis Watkin’s (& Group) – Here I Stand/ Only You Can Give, ’64 (Diplomacy 9)



Universals (Amityville NY) (Group members:  Fred Johnson, Plinius Ruiz, Robert DeLoney, Ollie Johnson, Kenny Johnson and Anthony Jones.)

– I’ll Just Have To Go On (Dreaming)/ Love Bound, ’61 (Festival 1601)

– Dreaming/ Love Bound, ’62 (Festival 25001)



Universals (Jimmy Dee & His) – (In My Heart) You’ll Always Remain/ If It Wasn’t For Pride, ’62 (V-Tone 236)




The Roosevelt Simmons-connected Universals on Mark-X, Cora-Lee and Ascot, listed in Marv Goldberg’s history of the Turbans are part of the controversy surrounding ‘Dear Ruth’ and Jerry Halpern & Ed Krensel.  For clarification, group members listed in Marv Goldberg’s notes have been used.


Universals (Philadelphia) (ref Roosevelt Simmons)

– Again/ Teenage Love, ’57 (Mark-X 7004) (Group members:  Earl Worsham, John Christian, James Oscar Williams, Roosevelt Simmons and Kent Peeler)

–  The Picture/ He’s So Right, ’58 (Cora-Lee 501) (Group members:  John Christian, James Oscar Williams, Roosevelt Simmons and Kent Peeler)

Dear Ruth (2:43)/ Gotta Little Girl, ’63 (Ascot 2124) (Recorded 1962) (Group members:  Roosevelt Simmons, Reggie “Tootie” Price, Kent Peeler, Earl Worsham, and John “Pancho” Christian.)



Piecing together the Universals complexity begins when Jerry Halpern and Ed Krensel (writers of ‘Dear Ruth’) re-enter the music scene in 1960 and release ‘Dear Ruth’ by the Universals on Southern #101.  They owned the label and again used Southern #101 as the label number.  ‘Dear Ruth’ was previously released by the Buccaneers in 1953 on Southern #101.


The members of the Southern Universals group are not known, nor is how and who Halpern and Krensel met with from the Mark-X group.  The result (stated in the Relic LP liner notes) was a recorded practice/rehearsal and session in 1962 from which ‘Prayer Of Love/Have Mercy Baby’ were released on Southern #102 and a recut ‘Dear Ruth/Gotta Little Girl’ were released on Ascot 2124.

Universals (Southern Group)

Dear Ruth (2:19)/ Good Lovin’, ’60 (Southern 101)

Prayer Of Love/ Have Mercy Baby, ’60 (Southern 102) (Book date used but it might be 1962.)


Universals (A Capella Group) (Relic LP 5006) 1973

Side 1:  Again, Good Lovin’, The Love I Long For, That’s My Baby, Ebbtide, Dear Lord (original), Tears In My Eyes

Side 2: Dear Ruth, That’s My Baby, Love Is A River, Have Mercy Baby, I’ll Be Satisfied, Don’t Leave Me This Way, Money Honey


Universals (Unknown Members) – Think, ’85 (Murray Hill LP 000083) (This sounds like Roosevelt Simmons, but confirmation would be helpful.)


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