Vocal group with limited releases, one in fact in their original incarnation, but it was a good one and thanks to a family connection with a much more famous lead singer of two notable groups, there’s at least a chance for some belated historical curiosity.

The Rivals were formed as a New Jersey-based gospel group known as the International Clavichords in the 1940’s with Ira Mumford (bass), Jimmy Smith (baritone), Chandler Tribble (first tenor) and Booker T. Weeks (second tenor). At some point they switched to secular material and secured a contract with Apollo Records in the spring of 1950 where they had just one release that June. Four months later The Larks, featuring Eugene Mumford, Ira’s tenor singing brother, signed with Apollo and would become the label’s first consistent rock act and the foundation of their vocal group roster over the next half dozen years. The two groups however didn’t appear on the label at the same time, as The Rivals never had a follow-up released, nor was Ira involved in steering his brother’s group to the company.

The Rivals apparently had a fairly successful career as club performers following their lone single, eventually settling in Oregon where reputedly they sang for years. Another single by a group called The Rivals came out in 1957 with Alfred Gaitwood writing both sides and singing bass, but conflicting accounts of just when he joined, or if this was indeed remnants of the same group, means there’s no definitive way to wrap up their story.

Ira Mumford died in 1985 at the age of 65, eight years after his more famous brother.
THE RIVALS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date on Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Apollo 1166; June, 1950)
Brilliant performance in a slightly modernized Ravens motif with Ira Mumford’s salacious delivery and excellent group backing with a forward-sounding vocal arrangement standing out and more than compensating for a more predictable, though serviceable, musical track. (8)

(Apollo 1164; June, 1950)
Unforced errors derail this song as the lead vocal requires more range than any one member of the group is comfortable delivering… there are some bright spots but the passive perspective and lack of a more creative way to deal with the vocal obstacles are hard to overcome. (3)