A Most Refreshing New Group

:: Till There Was You ::

:: Big Bad Jane ::

Signed to Warner Bros. in the early sixties while that label struggled to find an identity (and sales) before Peter, Paul and Mary put them on the map, The Four Saints didn't help much in the sales department and they were duly dropped.

Even though a major label and major stardom were not in the cards, The Four Saints soldiered on and prospered throughout the 60s. By the time they came to record their Warners debut as a matter of fact, they'd already been around for a dozen years. Formed in Jr. High by band leader John Howell and the girlishly tenor voiced Bob Erickson, with Jerry Duchene and Doug Evans joining soon after, the group scored a "quartet scholarship" to the University of Puget Sound on the stipulation that they stay together as a group until graduation.

That they did, and then they joined the Air Force together. There they acted as singing recruiters, touring the nation, playing the White House, and visiting over 40 countries representing everything that was good and wholesome about America.

After leaving the service, they began touring as civilians with a ready made club act. Not unlike their jazzier cohorts The Four Freshmen, each Saint played multiple instruments which were incorporated into the act. They also worked comedy into the routine, as evidenced here by "Big Bad Jane".

After their big time record deal fell through, They continued to record for smaller labels, did commercial jingles and toured the lounge circuit. As far as the "where are they now?" part goes, I couldn't find anything on the other 3 guys, but John Howell continued his music studies, eventually earning a doctorate degree before settling down as a music professor at Virginia Tech.

This album harkens back to a much more innocent time when stuff like this could entertain people without the presence of irony. If this had come out maybe 5 years earlier, it may have found a much larger audience. By the time it saw the light of day in 1962, the times they were a changin', or somethin'. "Till There Was You" was included no doubt to help promote the Warner Bros. film, "The Music Man". Of course this song was later warbled by the someday to become Sir Paul McCartney as well, but the Saints' rendition is a little bit different, to say the least. Oh, and I love how Big Bad Jane busted out of prison with a "crashin' slam from her big rear end", only to die trying to kill a mouse. Big Bad John she ain't, but hey, whadya want from a big dumb fat chick?

Smart, Skinny Mike
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Sunday, March 12, 2006 6:13:00 AM

Thanks for The Saints.
For me you may post the whole Album,is great nice music.


Friday, March 17, 2006 12:47:00 PM

This is great )))    

Thursday, June 01, 2006 5:15:00 PM

Hey, if you'd like some more accurate information, or corrections for the errors you've posted, I'd be happy to oblige.

"Saint" John    

Friday, June 02, 2006 2:18:00 PM

Dear Saint John,

Yes, please feel free to send some accurate info my way. I'd be honored to get it from the source. This whole thing is a learning experience for me, so my apologies for any glaring inaccuracies. My time and resources for research are severely limited, to say the least!


Thursday, July 20, 2006 11:59:00 PM

My father was Douglas Evans. He passed away in 1982. I appreciate you posting this about the Four Saints.

Stephen Evans    

Thursday, December 14, 2006 2:58:00 PM

Hello Stephen:

My wife and I were very good friends of your parents...We have been trying to contact them since they left Oxon Hill MD in 1962.

Bob and Jean    

Sunday, December 23, 2007 12:31:00 PM


Friday, March 26, 2010 12:12:00 PM

My name is Patrick DuChene...son of the late Gerald L. DuChene. I just found this and thought I would find out if anyone had any video of them. We have them on the Ruth Lyons show but thats all I have. Id love to see my dad in action again!
thanks alot    

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 9:33:00 AM

To Patrick DuChene,
Your dad was my wonderful friend, in his 2nd career with the Knights of Columbus. We met back in the '80's perhaps, you might remember.
Jim H.    

Sunday, January 27, 2013 11:36:00 AM

Hello Jim H.

I am Patrick's mother, Jerry's widow... and yes, I remember you... I saw your name many times when I helped Jerry in the office. All is well, there are currently 7 grandchildren. Thank you for remembering us and responding.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013 7:24:00 PM

John Howell died on May 3.

Part of his obituary from his family reads:

"John was a force of nature in the Blacksburg arts community since joining the Virginia Tech music faculty in 1979. He directed “The New Virginians” from 1979-93, entertaining countless thousands while instilling in his students a sense of professionalism and the importance of community. In 1996, John founded the Virginia Tech Early Music Ensemble, which he directed until 2012. He was a prominent member of the Blacksburg Community Band, Community Strings, and the Summer Musical Enterprise, and constantly worked to write new compositions and arrangements, organize parts, or fill in on whatever instrument happened to be missing for any given concert."    

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 7:29:00 PM

Re. service for John Howell:

The Memorial Service is on Thursday at 6:00 pm at the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, 701 Church St. SE, Blacksburg VA

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in John’s name to the Blacksburg Summer Musical Enterprise (http://www.civic.bev.net/sme/sponsors/sponsors.html).    

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