The Showmen were a New Orleans-based pop group formed in 1961. They will be most remembered for their classic track "It Will Stand" on Minit Records. "It Will Stand" (Minit 632) reached #61 on the pop charts in 1961, and when rereleased in 1964 (Imperial 66033) recharted and reached #80. They had another popular hit, the Carolina Beach Classic "39-21-40 Shape" (The label on the 45 was mistakenly printed "39-21-46"). Young Richmonders remember the Showmen at the Tantilla Ballroom.
Unlike the majority of artists that recorded for New Orleans labels controlled by Joe Banashak, The Showmen were not from Crescent City or close surrounds. They all came from Norfolk, Virginia, moving to New Orleans in May 1961 and April 1962 to record fifteen titles under the studio supervision of the then barely known Allen Toussaint.
General Norman Johnson, at the age of twelve, formed the group The Humdingers that would eventually become The Showmen with school friends the same neighbourhood. By this time he had acquired the nickname 'Cricket' ( after the insect)
In the late fifties, Noah Biggs of Norfolk, Virginia began managing The Humdingers, not long after Cricket graduated from high school Biggs organised a demonstration recording session for the group and sent the resulting tape to Joe Banashak set up in New Orleans. The songs on the demo tape were "The Owl Sees You", "For You My Darling", "Skinny McGinny" and "I Go On Loving You". Banashak was sufficiently smitten to despatch Allen Toussaint to Washington D.C. to record The Humdingers professionally.
"Our Love Will Grow" on the Swan label became a classic Northern Soul track listed as number 382 on the Northern Soul All Time Top 500.
- General Norman Johnson, lead singer
- Milton 'Smokes' Wells, bass guitar
- Dorsey 'Chops' Knight, second tenor
- Gene 'Cheater' Knight, first tenor
- Leslie 'Fat Boy' Felton, baritone
The Showmen (managed by Norman Johnson) presently consists of Warren Brown, Rubin Collick, Michael Spratley, and Bill Talley. They are very active and may be booked through Norman Johnson with generalentertainment.com