By 1992 Ray & Syl tired of the grind from playing every weekend and practicing at
least once a week.  Although the caliber of musicians was very high it became difficult
to keep a band together as a unit over a long period of time. The Charades played
every venue that came along from garage’s to show stages.  Ray decided to end the
group after a 35 year run.  They worked with some of the best-known entertainers of
their time and left a legacy that many fans cherish.

Since 1992 The Charades regroup two or three times a year and play a special gig for
those that remember the good old days.  Ray & Syl appeared at an oldies show in
Anaheim, California in 2007 for a benefit concert for Rosie Hamlin (Rosie & the
Originals).  Some of the other acts on the show were Al Wilson, The Jaguars, Thee
Midniters, The Storytellers, Tony Allen, Jewel Akin.  Rosie was present but unable to
perform due to illness.

In 2008 The Charades (Ray & Syl) were invited to perform at an oldies concert in
Burlington, New Jersey.  The show was promoted by Mark del Costello and featured
The Flamingos, The Solitaires, The Kool Gents, The Pharaohs, The Castelles, The
Paradons and another 14 groups.  The sold out concert ran 6 hours long and was a
huge success.  The Charades received a standing ovation when they performed their
minor 1963 hit “Please Be My Love Tonight”.

2009 find The Charades recording a new CD, using many past members to play and
sing. The album will be completed in early 2010.  The group also has bookings for
2010.  It seems once music is in your blood you can never get away from it,
In 1956 five young men from Tulare, California
decided to form a singing group dedicated to the
music of the day,  Rhythm & Blues.  Manuel
Cisneros, Alfi Quintero, Joe Moreno and brothers
Leon and Raymond Baradat named there group The
Latin Knights.  This name was changed to The
Charades a few years later.  The original group sang
first at school assembly’s and school dances.  Soon
they were singing at dances with The Rhythm Aces,
a local band playing both Mexican dance music and
Rhythm & Blues.  By the summer of 1957 three
original members left the group and Leon and
Raymond began looking for replacements.
The new era of The Latin Knights
began with new members Syl Grigsby,
Alex Pilkington, Will Johnson and the
Baradat Brothers. Leon graduated in
1958 and left the group to work and
enter college, the four remaining
singers carried on.
In 1959 it was decided to form a band to
support the singers.  Easy Pena on guitar,
Iggy Perez on drums and Henry King on
bass were added.  The group was now self-
contained and began playing any gig that
came their way.  The Latin Knights became
so popular that they began recording for
Swingin’ Records and Weber Records both
located in Los Angeles.  Although several
songs were recorded, none were released at
that time.  Meanwhile the group continued
to play and was added to the shows of
several traveling Rock & Roll shows.  The
Latin Knights performed with stars of the
day including, Chuck Berry, Johnny
“Guitar” Watson, Little Willie John and
The Coasters.
During this time the group added guitar/sax player Eddie Cuellar to
the band.  Eddie’s guitar playing added extended styles to the band.  
Also added were Henry Vasquez on bass and sax and Louis Fernandez
on sax.  In the years 1963 to 1964 The Charades became the best band
performing in the San Joaquin Valley.  They continued to play with
many Rock & Roll stars of the day including Connie Francis, The
Coasters, The Five Satins, The Penguins, Shirley & Lee, The
Monotones, The Crests, Jimmy Clanton, Skip & Flip.

Recording continued in Los Angeles under the supervision of Anthony
Hilder.  The last session was in May 1964.  Songs recorded were
instrumentals “Christina” and “Sophia”.
Vocals recorded that day were “Open Up Your Heart”, “Shake, Shout  
& Soul” and "Bright Star”. Ray Baradat had been drafted and reported
to the U.S. Army in June of 1964.  Although the group continued to
perform for the next two years during Baradat’s departure the group
did not record again until the mid 70’s.

Late 1959 Alex Pilkington left the group for the U.S. Army.  He
was replaced by Lavern Butler who brought dancing skills to the
group.  1961 saw the return of Alex so the group now included
five singers and three band members.  1962 saw Will Johnson
leave the group and replaced with his brother Johnny “Buddy”
Johnson.  Also in 1962 the group was approached by Anthony
Hilder, a record producer from Los Angeles and asked to record
once again.  Anthony Hilder was a known character, producing
many local L.A. bands and singers.  The first session took place
in L.A. in November 1962.  The two sides recorded were “Close
To Me” and “The Soul”.   At this time Hilder also changed the
groups name to The Charades.   Another session was cut in
1963 to include songs “Take A Chance”, “Promise Her
Anything” and an instrumental number “Delano Soul Beat".  
Lavern Butler left the group to form his own band in 1963.
Later in 1963 the group cut “Surf’n’ Stomp”
and “For You” produced by Ray Baradat
and Al Garcia.  Hilder took the masters and
had them released on Northridge Records
owned by George Sherlock a record
executive for Mercury Records.  The next
session was recorded at the well know El
Dorado studio just off of Hollywood and
Vine in L.A.  This session produced the best-
known record by The Charades “Please Be
My Love Tonight” released on Ava Record
a company owned by Fred Astaire.
Upon Baradat’s return in July of 1966 the group then began playing in clubs as
opposed to the dances that they had done earlier.  During this time Alex
Pilkington was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and was not able to sing an
entire evening.  In 1967 a young guitarist named Tom Johnston joined the
group.  Tom stayed with the group almost two years before moving to San Jose
for college. In a couple more years Tom became one of the founding members
of The Doobie Brothers.  Guitarist Bobby Dennison replaced Tom Johnston.  
Dennison has continued to play with The Charades for over 40 years.  In
January of 1968 Alex passed away. Johnny Johnson, Syl Grigsby and Ray
Baradat continued to play in various nightclubs throughout the San Joaquin
valley with changing band members.  

In 1973 Baradat traveled to Los Angeles in hopes of finding his old producer
Anthony Hilder and locate any surviving tapes of the group.  Hilder was no
longer in the music business but had a carport full of master tapes under tarps
in Santa Monica.  He told Baradat to “take what you want and release them if
you can.”  Hilder also asked if the group would be interested in recording songs
of a movie soundtrack.  The movie Black Lolita was shot during the days of
Blaxploitation films in the early 70’s.  The Charades recorded two songs for the
movie, the main title song “Black Lolita” and the love theme “All My Love”.  
At the recording sessions the group met an engineer/producer from Motown
Records, Art Stewart.  Although the sessions did not go well, two weeks later
Art Stewart called and asked if the group would re-record the songs under his
production.  The Charades returned to Los Angeles for the sessions and a
mutual friendship was established with Art.
Over the next ten years Art produced two Charade
albums “Corruption” and “Looking Like Love”. The
Corruption album was recorded at Motown studios and
at Marvin Gaye’s personal studio.  Art was Marvin
Gaye’s recording engineer.  Several Motown musicians
played on the “Corruption” album including Stevie
Wonder, Gil Askey, and Johnny “Guitar” McGhee.  
McGee was the guitarist for the funk band L.T.D.  The
famous Waters sisters also sang backup on some
tracks.  Stewart and Baradat also produced sides by
Randie Coulter and Arvada Spina.  Under Art Stewart’
s direction the talents of the Charades band played on a
TV documentary for the Braille Institute for the Blind, a
album by Motown session percussinest’s Jack Ashford
and songs for Motown group 21st Creation.

Art Stewart had recorded Marvin Gaye doing a three-
minute jam.  Art thought it had a great groove but
Marvin wasn’t interested in the song.  Stewart asked the
Charades to record tracks to the song so that Marvin
would take an interest and finish the song.  The song
“Got To Give It Up” became a number one hit in 1977.
The Rhythm Aces
1959
1962
1968
1969
1975
The Rhythm Aces
1975
By 1976 The Charades decided to stop playing clubs
and returned to the casual jobs, weddings, reunions,
private parties.  By this time Mike Pruitt replaced
long time member Johnny Johnson.  Johnny was
having medical problems and it became difficult to
continue.
Mike proved to be a versatile performer who sang
great but also wrote songs.  After a couple of years
Mike moved on to become a solo performer he was
replaced by Joe Grigsby who also left after about a
year.   Ray and Syl continued to sing with the band
through 1983 when they added Sally Watson to the
group.  Sally was the first female to join on a regular
basis.

In 1987 Ray decided to record an album of cover
material the group had been performing on stage for
a few years.  The album “Looking Like Love”
contained ten songs featuring different lead singers.  
Art Stewart again produced the project, which started
with basic tracks cut in Fresno and all vocals, horns
and overdubs finished in Los Angeles.
1987
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