If there were to have been a dream to be fulfilled, what a more likely one than this. The dreamer: Robert (Rabu) Arrington.
The place: Rahway State Prison, where countless dreams have taken place; some happen, and others are just that, dreams.
THE ESCORTS originated within the walls of Rahway Prison. Robert (Rabu) Arrington became a member of this group in 1971.
Rabu saw in The Escorts the possibility of a profession and a new way of life.
The Escorts always had been a changing group. Rabu brought about more changes, recruiting within the prison until the
group's sound and style were at a professional level. At the same time, he initiated, by letter, a series of contacts which
led to an opportunity to record.
Two LPs were produced on Alithea Records: All We Need Is Another Chance, recorded in January 1973, to be followed by
Three Down And Four To Go. The latter title refers to the fact that three members had been released since the prison's singing
group was formed, while the others continue serving their sentences. Among the hits from those LPs were, "Sweeter Today Than
Yesterday", "Ooh, Baby, Baby", and "Let's Make Love At Home Sometime". Those LPs have created a following which has been waiting
a long time for the third.
The first live concert of The Escorts at Symphony Hall in Newark NJ on February 17, 1973 created a sensation. The reception
was overwhelming and the reviews were excellent. They had tried and succeeded at something no one else in this country had
ever done before. The Escorts was a "success", receiving much more publicity than they had ever expected. News of what they
had done was broadcast across the country. Fan mail, letters of congratulations, letters wishing then good luck and much success
poured in from everywhere and everyone.
But the glamour, glitter and fame, quick to come, was also quick to leave.
When Rabu was released from prison in 1975, the group was idle. Rabu again made contacts. Several attempts were made
to reactivate the group. More promises were made and broken. It was not to be until 1979 when The Escorts and producer Herschel
Dwellingham of Helva Records Production came together, that The Escorts would return to the studio,
In 1978, through Larry (Laurence) Franklin, Dwell Management, under the direction of Alva J. Dwellingham, saw the escorts
in personal appearance and liked what she saw. Knowing that with hard work, professional and guidance, The Escorts could regroup
and become one of the super groups of the eighties. It was through her that Helva Records became involved. It has been hard
work in the reorganization of The Escorts and "helping a young man's dream come into being", says Alva, "but when you see
and hear The Escorts, you too will agree you just can't keep a good group down. They're back...".
Besides Rabu, only tenor Larry Franklin remained from the original group. George Byers, who had never been in Rahway,
but had joined The Escorts for public appearances, provided a link. He had worked with another group called Standing Ovation,
and he and another member from Standing Ovation, Grover Troutman, joined.
These, now, are The Escorts:
Robert (Rabu) Arrington, an original Escort, in Rahway from 1971 to 1975, is the leader, the heart and soul of the group,
the man with the dream, the shy but determined Gemini, who makes The Escorts work.
Laurence (Larry) Franklin, another original Escort, In Rahway from 1970 to1973, a singer all his life, with The Councillors,
Mary and The Statisticts, and Nip and The Neptune, before The Escorts. Larry is the living Librarian of The Escorts, remembering
every detail of every vocal arrangement. Larry is co-leader of The Escorts, and sings first tenor.
George Byers, performing since childhood with The Cubaneers and the Uptones, was a member from the outside, singing in
public appearances with The Escorts, and was with Standing Ovation through the mid-seventies. George is the stabilizer, the
lifetime pro, who keeps the group tight but loose. George sings first tenor.
Grover Troutman, one of the new Escorts, sang with Standing Ovation from 1972 to 1976, and earlier with Grand Prix. A
trained dancer as well as a singer, Grover is the in-house choreographer for the group and sings second tenor.
Frank Harris, the newest member of The Escorts, got his start as a gospel singer. Performing from 1976 to the end of
1979 with the King's Ransome, an R & B vocal group, Frank brings to the group a new and exciting baritone (bass) voice.
All the Escorts, with the exception of Rabu, began performing publicly in childhood or adolescence. The group has a total
of 81 years of professional experience.
They are long overdue. So here they are: The Escorts...their time is now...