After forming a band called the Motley Crew in 1949 and relocating to Washington, D.C. in 1950, he partnered with drummer Tommy `T.N.T' Tribble and record producer Lillian Claiborne of DC Records, where he sold sides to labels such as Gotham, RCA Victor, Specialty, Josie, Hollywood, Big Town, Quality, Gem, Chess and other small labels. The tracks received favorable notice in the trade publications of the day and represent an important transition between the swing band traditions of the 1940s, and the small-combo rhythm and blues style of the early 1950s that led to the prevalence of rock n roll. The music ran the gamut from instrumental swing and jump blues with call-and-response vocals with vocals generally handled by a large cast. A consummate entertainer with his unique two horn technique that was featured in Ripley's `Believe It Or Not.', Frank Motley's stage show was also built around the antics of featured vocalists like `Angel Face' Kenley and Curley Bridges, saxmen `Little Willie' Hickerson and `King' Herbert Whitaker.
Drummer TNT Tribble, was billed as the`The Walking Drummer Man'. In the mid-50s, with the advent of rock 'n' roll, Motley married and moved northward to Montreal and later Toronto, Canada. After the Motley Crew parted ways, in the 1960's Motley continued to stay on the cutting edge as Frank Motley and the Hitch-Hikers featuring flamboyant transvestite singer Jackie Shane and later a singer named The Mighty Pope. In 1984 after a heart attack, he retired to Durham, North Carolina, remaining active regionally in music through the 1980s and early 1990s with appearances with his brothers' band the Red Toppers in their hometown Cheraw South Carolina as well as for the Durham Arts Council and other organizations promoting jazz music. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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