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Monclairs / Montclairs/ Don Gregory and the Montclairs / Don Gregory and the Soul Trainers / Little Eddie Woods

Cleveland, 1963-73


The Monclairs were true "soul survivors" in Cleveland. The group was lead by bassist/singer Don Gregory Jones and the Monclairs were a self contained band.

The Monclairs started out in the R&B clubs as teenagers, competing with groups like Lou Ragland and the Bandmasters, and the Sahibs. The band included Don, Clarence Samuels on guitar, Jay Cooper on drums, Richard Jordan on sax, and Little Eddie Woods on lead vocals. The group made their first 45 in mid 1964, with the R&B song "Is It Wrong" featuring Eddie, and the instrumental "Bug Killer". The group became the house band at the Music Box.

In early 1965 they recorded "Happy Feet Time" for the Sunburst label. The songs' origin was in the Happy Feet Dance Party held every Wednesday at the Music Box. The song was a hit on Cleveland's R&B and top 40 stations and the group appeared on Upbeat. Atlantic records picked up the 45 for national distribution, keeping the Sunburst name.


The Monclairs released two more 45s for Sunburst (three more songs) but were not as successful. They continued to play local clubs through the 1960s, as well as opening up for several national acts. Eddie Woods left the group around 1967 and became one half of Taurus and Leo.

In 1972 they released a 45 on the ABC label subsidiary APT records. Due to a conflict with another Montclairs on Paula records, the group was billed as the Soul Trainers although they continued to use the Monclairs name in Cleveland. The 45 was a funky dance number called "Soul Line". This band included Don, Clarence, and Richard, with new members Dickie Payne (drums), Stanley Watkins (alto sax), Joe May (organ), and Tony Dial (percussion).


The band's name had been the Monclairs but they were often listed as the Montclairs. Don Gregory's writing credits are listed as Don Jones on the records. He aslo wrote for Marlene and the Debs. Don passed away in 2016. According to his obituary, he was the last surviving member of the "Happy Feet Time" band lineup.

Is It Wrong / Bug Killer - Comet 2165, Aug 1964
Happy Feet Time / Wait For Me (Sunburst 106) c. May 1965
Pull Your Coat / Wait For Me (Sunburst 113) late 1965
Sore Feet / Poopsie (Sunburst 115) early 1966
Soul Line / Soul Line (instrumental) (APT) 1972