Chavis, Candi and Barvis discographies

When updating the page on the State of Mind, I started compiling a list of Chavis releases, looking for more garage type singles.

As it turns out, the State of Mind’s two 45s and the Tree’s “No Good Woman” may have been the only rock singles put out by James Chavis on his Candi, Chavis and Barvis labels out of Wilmington, Delaware. The others listed here are gospel, r&b, doo wop or soul.

Since I haven’t seen a complete discography anywhere else, I’m including what I’ve compiled here:


1020: Grand Prees – Jungle Fever (featuring Douglass Pettijohn) / Sit and Cry (featuring Bernice Marsh)

1021: Christian Harmonizers – The Day Has Passed and Gone / The Lord Will Make a Way

1022: Mighty Wonders – God Called Moses / All My Troubles Will Be Over

1023: Silas Phifer & the Mellow Fellows* – Gotta Find My Baby / Edwin Johnson & the Mellow Fellows – You Gave Me Love

1024: Santio’s Premiers and Nat. Miller – She’s Still My Baby / Doggin’ the Twine

1025: Vibra-Tones and George Johnson – I’m Begging You Baby / Willie’s Dream

1026: Empires – Love You So Bad / Come Home Girl (Candi)

1027: Evangelist Mattie Lewis & Travelling Gospelettes – The Lord Is My Shepherd / The Rest of My Days

1028: Eddie Johnson – Mis-Ter Night / I Lost My Linda

1029: Ruth White & the Continentals – Give Us Your Blessings / Dog Time

1030: Humble Gospel Singers – Long Way to the City / The Rest of My Days

1031: Maurice Williams & the Inspirations – The Day Has Come / Never Leave You Again

1032: ?

1033: Empires – You’re On Top Girl

* Mellow Fellows – I’ve read some speculation that this is the same group known as the Mello Souls behind the soul classic “We Can Make It” on the Mello label. Anyone have a scan of that?


1034: Matadors – Say Yes Baby / Carmen I Wish You Were Here

1035: Spidels – Like a Bee / You Know I Need You (1965)

1036: ?

1037: Mighty Wonders – Good News / He Heard Me Cry

1038: State of Mind – Move / If He Comes Back (1966) (CH-2076/7)

1039: ?

1040: ?

1041: State of Mind – Make You Cry / Goin’ Away (1967) (CH-2083)

709: Southern Gate Singers – Somebody’s Always Talking About Me / Laugh Laugh Laugh

710: Miller Family – He Cares for You / I Believe in Jesus (arr. Lee Miller) (CH-1420/1)

730: Mighty Kings of Harmony – I Know a Man / Better World (CH 1460)

7011: Rising Stars – You Need This

7012: Sensational Mighty Wonders – Live On High / A Friend in Jesus (CH 3506/7)

7013: Specializers – Rock of Ages / Oh How I Love Jesus


7010: The Tree – No Good Woman / Man From Nowhere (1967)

125: The Superiors Band and Their Soul Singers – Darling I Love You / Amateur Love

319: The Superiors Band and Their Soul Singers – The Lady Part 1 / The Lady Part 2

Most of the gospel releases were produced by Lee Skinner. James Chavis’ publishing was usually listed with Vandever Music, BMI. Though located in Delaware, Chavis seems to have had some connections in North Carolina, the home of some of his gospel acts, like the Mighty Wonders.

14 thoughts on “Chavis, Candi and Barvis discographies”

  1. The release date for the Tree 45 is January, 1967. Both copyright registrations were notarized that month, and the resulting numbers are printed on each label (The EU #’s).

    The Spidels “Like A Bee” is from 1965.

  2. I think you’re right about the Mello Fellows. They did become the Mello Souls. I played Baritone Sax on “We Can Make It” and “I Got My Pride”, recorded 9/24/1967 and released on Mello 967. I also played in the backup band. When the singing group disbanded, we kept the name.

    1. That is great to hear you played sax on my all time favourite record!
      Do you have a copy?
      Any pictures of the group
      Do you know the names of the two vocalists featured on “we can make it”

  3. I just picked up a copy of the mighty wonders…KILLER group harmony gospel….I work in wilmington twice a week…Im always trying to find anything i can get on these labels:)

  4. If anybody out there has a copy of Candi 1025 “I’m Begging You Baby” by George Johnson and The Vibra-Tones b/w “Willie’s Dream” by The Vibra-Tones, PLEASE respond. I’m dying to hear the “WIllie’s Dream” side of the record and would be interested in purchasing your copy if you’re willing to sell it. The “I’m Begging You Baby” side has been re-released on CD a couple of times and even posted on YouTube, but not “Willie’s Dream.” Here’s hoping that somebody out there can help me find and hear this elusive track. Thanks.

    1. I have the record. Considering selling it right now. Willie’s Dream has a nice intro and then goes into a bit of a almost funky, repetitive shuffle beat with horns so it sounds like ska. Kind of like The Mohawks ‎Sound Of The Witchdoctors though not as good and without as many breaks. Didn’t like it on my first listen I remember. I relistened to it after reading your post and it’s not bad at all.

      Creating the listing now:

  5. anyone have any details about the Empires? Are they white or black? any names?

    Silus Phifer and the Mellow Fellows are definitely the Mello Souls on Mello, Silus ssang lead on the We Can Make It Side. A friend of mine met him in a nursing home some years ago, wasn’t well then. Another friend just got three copies from band members or relatives.

  6. “Like A Bee” by the Spidels (Chavis 1035) is not 1965. The issue date is
    Nov. 1966, and was a WDAS-AM breakout single in Philly. “You’re On Top Girl” by the Empires (Candi 1033) was a breakout single at WAMS Wilmington De. in the Summer of 1966. I’ve checked with Mitch Zatto of the Zatmandu Directory Universal Soul Database and he comfirms this.
    I’m surprised that there is so much confusion about these issue dates.

  7. it’s a little off the subject of the Chavis label, but the Zatmandu Directory Universal Soul Database also has accurate issue and/or airplay dates of “Hands Off She’s Mine” by Herb Ward (March 1964) and She Tried To Kiss Me” by The Butlers (5/64). I was delighted to find accurate data regarding these and many other obscure “turntable hits” that have kept collectors guessing for so long!

  8. ya, but nobody can authenticate the issue date or airplay date “Sonny” by the Camotions. Arsa doesn’t show any station surveys with a listing of it, and there isn’t any copyright entry authenticating the month & year od registry (the song is written by Charlie Webb). This song is completely off the radar screen. I believe the Camotions were a Philly Group. They changed their name to the Commotions in 1968 when they switched labels. The mystery deepens…..

  9. “Sonny” by the Camotions is on one of Jerry Blavat’s “For Dancers Only” compact discs. The estimated issue date is 1966, possibly during the summer of that year. It was played in the Philly region on stations such as WRAW, WAMS WSBA AND WMID. The issue date of this record is truly one of the great mysteries, since I’ve not seen a single radio station survey with it listed. It is one of the few records listed in The Zatmandu catalogue that has an estimated issue date attached to it as “1966”. How about the “Soul Harmony Singles” book? That book may have a mo/year issue date assigned to it.

  10. Sonny by Camotions: There is a song “Sonny” listed in the copyright register dated April 1968 that is written by Lou Wayne, whoever that is. The song by the Camotions is written by Charlie Webb, but, hey, who knows? Maybe they’re the same person, and perhaps it’s a pseudonym. Anyway, I do associate “Sonny” by the Camotions as being played on the radio around 1968, but I can’t be certain.

  11. There is absolutely NO evidence of any airplay of this record, on ARSA, or in the copyright entries. It is one of the very handful of songs whose airplay date cannot be confirmed. Another song that can’t be confirmed is “I Know That She Loves Me” b/w “All this Madness” by Jean Wells. There is a 1963 copyright for a song titled “All This Madness” by a Ginnie Mae Wells, which is probably Jean Wells birth name. However, the actual record (on both the Emerson and Phila. record labels) was issued in late 1964, just prior to the Butlers release of “Laugh Laugh Laugh” in January 1965 on the Phila. label. This is substantiated in a Cash Box trade publication of that month and year as a “Songs To Watch”, or something like that. Nevertheless, no actual evidence exists that the jean wells song received airplay in Philly or anywhere else. I don’t believe WHAT radio published a weekly “Livewire Survey” as far back as 1964. That may precede the arrival of program director George Wilson in early 1966, who set in motion the formatics of a newer, more modern sounding WHAT at that time, complete with heavy reverb, faster turnover of hits, and a new lineup of personalities. He may be the one who initiated the “Livewire Survey”, but there may be evidence to suggest it existed earlier under program director Richard Harvey. That period of WHAT’S history is referred to as “Activated Music 1340”. Jerry Blavat was part of that lineup as far back as 1963. The mystery deepens…

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