Alvin Cash was born Alvin Welch in St.
Louis, MO on February 15, 1939. His parents had a big family: Alvin was
one of eight children. While in elementary school he formed a song and
dance group with three of his brothers: Arthur, George, and Robert. The
brothers did tap, soft shoes -- the works. They aspired to become the best
dance act in the world and called themselves the Crawlers. Alvin attended
Summers High in St. Louis with other future R&B luminaries like Luther
Ingram, Billy Davis (Fifth Dimension) and Anna Mae Bullock (who became
Tina Turner). Having established a name for himself in the St. Louis area
in 1963, Alvin moved to Chicago, IL seeking a record deal.
Former Fortune and Motown Record
artist Andre Williams worked for Onederful/Mar-V-Lus Records and had caught
the Crawlers' act. He invited the guys to the studio to chant some lines
over a dance track he had co-written with Verlie Rice. The two previously
wrote "Shake a Tail Feather" for the Five Du-Tones. The tune "Twine Time"
was in the same format as Andre's 1957 hit "Bacon Fat," a funky instrumental
augmented by chants and sayings. "Twine Time" surprised everybody by zooming
to number 14 on Billboard's pop chart in February 1965. On the label the
artist was listed as Alvin Cash and the Crawlers, though it's unclear if
his brothers were in the studio. Alvin brought his band the Nightlighters
to the studio with him. The band changed their name to the Crawlers and
accompanied Alvin on gigs, eventually changing again to the Registers.
Alvin abandoned his siblings after the hit and went solo with the band.
His post-"Twine" recordings never
measured up commercially, and although many were far better recordings,
the most successful was "the Philly Freeze," which reached number 49. The
follow-up to "Twine," "the Barracuda," fizzled at number 59. He recorded
many tributes to pugilist Muhammad Ali including an LP titled Alvin Cash
Does the Greatest Hits of Muhammad Ali. Alvin appeared in the Buddy Holly
movie as a member of the Five Satins and in a few black action films. Alvin
still lives in Chicago and is still wheelin' and dealin.' -- Andrew Hamilton,