Signed with A&M Records in April 1968 and guaranteed three tours with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Jerry Moss suggested Phil Spector produce the group's first album and Spector chose the songs for the album. According to Checkmates member Harvey Trees, the group did 43 takes of "Black Pearl" then Spector added balalaikas to the song and sped up lead singer Sonny Charles' voice. "Black Pearl" was the initial single from the album. The B side "Lazy Susan" was the only song by the Checkmates that A&M released.
Original copies of the single "Black Pearl" were credited to Sonny Charles. A&M Records relabeled the single to The Checkmates, Ltd. featuring Sonny Charles.
The group also recorded "Proud Mary." According to her book I, Tina, Ike and Tina Turner borrowed the Checkmates arrangement for their version of the song and had a hit record with it.
SOURCE: The Checkmates, Ltd. Harvey Trees. Goldmine, May 15, 1992.