Hello, Why three different artists, under one heading? Because they are one and the same!!! Carlton Fisher, James Johnson, Dave Govan and Carver Bradley, from Los Angeles, California, originally recorded as The Jayhawks and charted a big hit in 1956 on Flash Records, STRANDED IN THE JUNGLE a novelty flavored song, that became a #18 Billboard Top 100 hit and a #9 Billboard R&B hit in 1956. The record was covered by another R&B group The Cadets who charted a #4 R&B hit and a #15 Pop hit with the song during the same period (July of 1956). The Jayhawks hit proved to be a one-hit wonder for the group.
In 1960 they changed their name to The Vibrations. Carver Bunkum left the group and was replaced by Don Bradley and Richard Owens. The group had a release on Bet Records that did not chart. They were then signed by Checker Records in Chicago, which was part of Chess Records. The Vibrations third record for Checker would become a big hit in February of 1961. Their recording of THE WATUSI a tune that is very similar to Hank Ballard & The Midnighters LET’S GO, LET’S GO, LET’S GO became a #25 hit record on the Billboard Hot 100 and a #13 Billboard R&B hit. In 1964 they would have a hit with MY GIRL SLOOPY on Atlantic Records. The single would chart at #26 on the Hot 100. The Vibrations would then turn to more ballad material with songs like MISTY-#63 in 1965 on Okeh Records. They continued to record until 1976 when they dis-banded.
The Marathons who had a big hit with PEANUT BUTTER in 1961 were actually, The Vibrations. The story goes that the Arvee label wanted to release another hit record but could not wait for The Olympics, the labels main artists at the time to get back in the studio, they had been touring. So Arvee signed The Vibrations who were under contract with Chess Records, to record PEANUT BUTTER. On April 24, 1961 PEANUT BUTTER by The Marathons made its Billboard Hot 100 debut on Arvee Records. The single became a big hit climbing the Hot 100 to #20 and remaining on the chart for 12 weeks. On June 5, 1961 the single crossed over to the Billboard R&B chart and became a #25 hit record. When Chess Records discovered what had happened, they stopped the Arvee release and then released a re-recorded version on their Argo Records label. That was the first and last song recorded by The Marathons. Arvee Records followed up the record with another song by The Marathons, but it was by a non-Vibrations group. A STICKY SITUATION…sorry couldn’t resist.
So there you are, The Jayhawks / The Vibrations / The Marathons…actually one group…but recording three hit records that are a classic part of the “GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL”.