Friday, 5 June 2020

Just Now And Then

There's been a few flashes of funk on the site since it started but a full-blown month made some decent strides towards balancing the scales. We'll be doing that again. This month however, we dig into some sweet soul groups, most of which rely just as much on the funk sound, as traditional R n B. Let's dive right in with the delightful Detroit Emeralds. These cats had an impressive string of charting singles into the early 70s, and while bearing resemblance to many of the Motor City's more popular acts, possessed a deeper sound with darker tones. One of the first groups in the area to emerge successfully, juxtaposed to the overwhelming shadow of Motown. 


"The Emeralds" were formed as a vocal harmony group in Little Rock, Arkansas, and originally composed of four brothers, Ivory, Abrim, Cleophus and Raymond Tilmon. After Cleophus and Raymond left, the remaining Tilmon brothers were joined by childhood friend, James Mitchell. Moving to Detroit, Michigan and expanding their name to the Detroit Emeralds, the trio had their first R&B chart success on Ric-Tic Records, with "Showtime" in late 1967. Follow-up singles with Ric-Tic were less successful and in 1970, they joined another Detroit-based label, Westbound Records. When touring in Memphis, Tennessee, they recorded some demo tracks at the Hi recording studios, run by top producer Willie Mitchell, to which they added vocals and strings back in Detroit. This approach worked and brought them another hit, "If I Lose Your Love", which was followed by a run of successes including "Do Me Right", "You Want It, You Got It", and "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)" which all made the US R&B Top 10, while the latter also reached number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 1972. The song for which they are now best remembered, "Feel The Need In Me", reached number 22 US R&B in 1973 and a new longer version four years later also charted. The original track made the top five in the UK Singles Chart in 1973 and the later production also made the UK chart in 1977.  "You Want It You Got It" was re-released in the UK as a follow-up to the initial "Feel The Need In Me", also reaching the UK Top 20 in 1973. Abrim Tilmon wrote all of their hits, while also arranging and producing the tracks. The horns and strings were arranged by the Grammy award-winning arranger, Johnny Allen. The horns and strings were recorded in Detroit with Carl Austin as concertmaster and Johnny Trudell leading the horns. By 1974, the group was falling apart and, at one point, there were two outfits using the name. Abe Tilmon formed one new group using the Detroit Emeralds' name, whilst James Mitchell, along with Marvin Willis, wrote for another group, The Floaters – Paul Mitchell of the Floaters being James's brother. James Mitchell, Ivory Tilmon and Marvin Willis continued touring as the Detroit Emeralds, along with several bands, background vocalists (including Gerald Ervin, first cousin to James Mitchell), and musicians over the years that included The Flaming Emeralds, (Arthur (Buster) Marbury on drums, Kenny Goodman, and Joseph (Jotown) Slanda on guitars and vocals.) The group continued to give live performances and Abe rejoined James and Ivory for a tour in 1977. James Mitchell, Ivory Tilmon and Marvin Willis continued touring with the Detroit Emeralds and their band (Dave Dean on keyboards, Simon Gardner on guitar, Andy Avent on bass and Martin Kautz on drums). They stayed active on the oldies and cabaret circuit for some years. Abrim Tilmon died on July 6, 1982, at the age of 37, in his Southfield, Michigan home of a heart attack. It was said a reunion of the group was being planned at the time. He was survived by his wife Janyce, son Steve, and daughter Cathy.

Just Now And Then delivers just about everything from Detroit Emeralds. Their five full length albums and a complete singles collection spanning 1967-1978. There's probably some unissued and alternate cuts out there somewhere that I haven't stumbled upon yet but the bulk is certainly here. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and mp3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.

2 comments:

JTF said...

Brilliant!

Anton said...

Another Favourite,Classy And Classic Group.
The Perfect Combination Between Memphis Roots And Motor City Sophistication.
Thanks For Sharing !