"The name was formed when the manager, deciding what to call these young men, took his pen and was tapping it on his desk -- during that time they had the inkwells -- and a drop of ink fell onto the blotter," says second tenor Gregory Carroll. "And that's how the name Ink Spots became available."
The original Ink Spots, who first came together in 1932, are dead, but the concept and the name, Carroll says, "just kept going on and on and on, like Sears and Roebuck." Carroll, who shares the same home town, Baltimore, with the group's original lead tenor, the late Bill Kenny, says of the quartet's founding fathers, "I knew them all personally." With first tenor Rodell Middleton Carroll, bass and narrator Arthur Bix, baritone-guitar Smokey Watson and their backup trio of piano, bass and drums, the Ink Spots will be at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis, through Aug. 4.
"We do the same materials that the originals did, but with updated '80s flavor," says Carroll. "If we get a new tune, we take an hour or so to get it under our belts, we see what we can improve or embellish on it, the band plays it down and, if we feel comfortable with it, we'll try it out that evening on the late show."