Mittwoch, 14. Oktober 2015

The Elgins (9)

The Elgins (9) (1965 - 1972)
(Ref. The Five Emeralds, ref. The Downbeats)
(Detroit, Michigan)

Top: Duke Miller and Saundra Mallett, bottom: Johnny Dawson and Norman McLean

Group members:

Saundra Mallett (aka Saundra Edwards)* (lead)
Johnny Dawson
Cleotha "Duke" Miller
Norman McClean
Robert “Egg” Fleming (guitarist)
*replaced with Yvonne Vernee (aka Yvonne Allen) in late 1967


The Downbeats

1965 - Darling Baby / Put Yourself In My Place (V.I.P. 25029)

The Elgins (9)


1965 - Darling Baby / Put Yourself In My Place (V.I.P 25029)
1966 - Heaven Must Have Sent You* / Stay In My Lonely Arms* (V.I.P. 25037)
1967 - It’s Been A Long Long Time / I Understand My Man (V.I.P. 25043)
1971 - Heaven Must Have Sent You* / Stay In My Lonely Arms* (V.I.P. 25065) 
*backed by The Andantes (uncredited)


1966 - {Darling Baby} Darling Baby / In The Midnight Hour / Heaven Must Have Sent You / I Understand My Man / Good Lovin’ / It’s Gonna Be Hard Times* / Put Yourself In My Place / 634-5789** / No Time For Tears / How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) / Stay In My Lonely Arms / When A Man Loves A Woman** (V.I.P 400 / V.I.P. VM400 / V.I.P. VS400***)
*actually by Saundra Mallet & The Vandellas
**lead Norman McLean
***stereo version released in 1967


1966 - For Your Precious Love (lead Norman McLean)
1966 - It's A Man's Man's Man's World (But It Wouldn't Be Without A Woman)*
1967 - All For Just Lovin' You
1967 - I Still Love You
1967 - It's Been A Long Long Time (A Long Time)
1967 - Let's Give Love Another Chance
1967 - Love (Is The Answer)
1967 - Love Where Are You Hiding
1967 - My 2 Arms - You = Tears
1967 - Thank You Love
1968 - Another Hurt Like This*
1968 - Life Can Be Beautiful When You're In Love**
1968 - My Love For Your Love**
1968 - That's The Night The Love Died**
1968 - When You Are Available*
*lead Norman McLean
**lead Yvonne Vernee Allen


The Elgins started out as an all-male vocal group in the late 50s -- first recording a couple of singles under the name The Five Emeralds for the S-R-C label and then another two singles as The Downbeats for Peacock Records. In 1961 they got signed to Berry Gordy’s budding Tamla Records label. Their releases for the Motown family imprint were sporadic, however.
Duke Miller, Johnny Dawson, Norman McLean and Saundra Mallett (1966)

In 1965, lead vocalist Saundra Mallett -- one of the finest vocalists in the Motown Records stable -- joined Dawson, Miller, and McLean. Four years earlier, in 1962, Mallett had recorded “Camel Walk” b/w “It's Gonna Be Hard Times” for Tamla as Saundra Mallett & The Vandellas. Motown was all set to issue the quartet’s debut for their V.I.P. label, “Darling Baby” b/w “Put Yourself In My Place“, credited to the Downbeats. Berry Gordy realized that there was another Downbeats group around. Johnny Dawson suggested the name The Elgins to the group and all agreed. They told Gordy about their decision and he was pleased with it. Before Motown sent out the promos they slapped new labels on the 45s with the group’s new name.

Duke Miller, Johnny Dawson, Saundra Mallettand Norman McLean

V.I.P. failed to promote the single outside the greater Detroit area, but it still managed to score a slot on the national R&B charts. Released in December 1965 both sides charted starting in February 1966, “Darling Baby” reached #4 R&B and #72 Pop, while the flip reached #92 Pop. Eight months later, the Elgins issued “Heaven Must Have Sent You” b/w “Stay In My Lonely Arms” in July, but took several months to catch on. The single entered the charts in late September, eventually reaching #9 R&B and #50 Pop.

They followed up with a full album, “Darling Baby” -- the first V.I.P. album -- in October 1966.  A third single, “It's Been A Long, Long Time” b/w “I Understand My Man” proved tru to it's title, since it had been nearly a year since the last single when it was released in June 1967. It reached #35 R&B and #92 Pop, but proved to be the group's last chart success.

Saundra Mallett decided to leave the group in the fall of 1967 to focus on raising her family. The group added another local Detroit singer Yvonne Vernee to front the group and recorded several tracks -- but by then Gordy and Motown had lost every interest in the group and none of their efforts were released.

Surprisingly, Tamla Motown decided to re-release “Heaven Must Have Sent You” in the spring of 1971 in England where it suddenly shut up the charts to become a UK #3 hit in June. (V.I.P. re-released it also in the U.S., although there was no chart action there). It was such a big hit in England, in fact, that The Elgins got to make two tours of the British Isles in late 1971 and early 1972. 



Heaven Must Have Sent You


Darling Baby

Put Yourself In My Place

Heaven Must Have Sent You

Stay In My Lonely Arms

It’s Been A Long Long Time

I Understand My Man

In The Midnight Hour

Good Lovin’

It’s Gonna Be Hard Times


No Time For Tears

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

When A Man Loves A Woman

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