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The Downbeats

The obscure Motown act known as the Downbeats included Johnny Dawson, Cleo Miller, and Robert Fleming. They sometimes accompanied Marv Johnson before he hit on United Artists Records, and cut tracks for the Lupine family of labels. (Although nothing emerged, there are gaping blanks in Lupine's discography which may account for the omission.) The flip of the Downbeats' first Tamla single, "Request of a Fool," was published by Lupine Music, and written by Dawson. The A-side, "Your Baby's Back," is a '50s throwback that dropped early in 1962, the next Downbeats' release didn't surface until December 31, 1965. At Lupine they accompanied Marv Johnson, uncredited, on "Once Upon a Time," a beautiful but neglected doo wop release.

Motown issued "Darling Baby" a Holland-Dozier-Holland production on their VIP label, and credited it to the Downbeats. Sandra Mallett joined Dawson, Miller, and Fleming and sung lead on both sides. Mallett had the single "It's Going to Be Hard Times" b/w "Camel Walk" on Tamla as Sandra Mallett & the Vandellas in 1962. Before Motown shipped "Darling Baby," they slapped new labels on the 45s effectively changing the groups' name from the Downbeats to the Elgins. It was a strange choice, since another group of Elgins recorded for Congress Records ("Ritha Mae") and a '50s group from Southern California also used the name.

Lackadaisical promotion doomed "Darling Baby," a tune adapted from Lamont Dozier's solo release "Dearest One" on Melody Records, June 1962. "Dearest One" is the first song credited to the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, and is similar to "Darling Baby." Another Elgin single, "Heaven Must Have Sent You," birthed eight months later, it did better than "Darling Baby," but never blew up.

An album followed by another single, "I Understand My Man," came out, then nothing. The only other Elgin record to surface on Motown was a re-release of "Heaven Must Have Sent You," in 1971. In the late '80s, Ian Levine recorded a revised group of Elgins that consisted of Dawson, Jimmy Charles, Norman McClean, and Yvonne Vernee-Allen; he recorded Mallett solo as Sandra Edwards. ~ Andrew Hamilton
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Encyclopedia Of Doo Wop: Volume 5

Disc 1

2. They Say

3. Is There A Love For Me

5. Cruise To The Moon

7. Alphabet Of Love

8. Cry Like I Cried

9. Stormy Weather

10. Runaround

11. I'll Pray For You

12. Wedding Bells

17. Angel Face

18. Crazy For You

19. Ding Dong

20. There Goes My Girl

21. Heaven Above Me

23. Darling Can't You Tell

24. Rip Van Winkle

25. Let It Please Be You

Disc 2

1. Zoom

2. Little Girl Of Mine

3. Im Not A Know It All

4. Your Way

5. Rendezvous With You

6. I Cried My Heart Out

7. Sympathy

8. Too Young

9. Two People In The World

10. I Talk To My Echo

11. Goodbye To Love

12. I Found

13. Dont Ask Me To Be Lonely

17. Natures Creation

19. Baby Baby

21. Rubber Biscuit

24. Thats The Way It Goes

25. He's Gone

Disc 3

1. Gee

3. Baby

4. Traveling Stranger

5. Sugar Sugar

6. Goodbye To Love

7. Our Love Will Never End

10. On Sunday Afternoon

12. Woo Woo Train

13. You Are So Beautiful

15. That's My Desire

16. I Found Out Why

17. Be Sure My Love

18. Paper Castles

19. You Can Come If You Want To

21. You Baby You

24. Don't Say Goodnight

25. Forever

Disc 4

1. A Thousand Miles Away

2. Little Boy Blue

3. String Around My Heart

5. Beside My Love

6. I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent

7. I Love You Darling

8. In My Lonely Room

10. Summertime

12. You Are

14. Share

15. I Love You So

18. Whisper (Softly)

19. Diamonds & Pearls

20. Snow White

24. Teenage Love

25. Your Last Chance

x

Track List: Virginia Rocks! The History Of Rockabilly In The Commonowealth

Disc 1

2. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

3. Bluest Boy In Town

4. Drugstore Rock 'n' Roll

5. Be-Bop-A-Lula

6. Pepper Hot Baby

7. Stop, Look And Listen

10. Let's Elope Baby

15. Wore To A Frazzel

16. Step It Up & Go

17. Bertha Lou

18. Sweet Willie

21. Sunset Blues

22. Rock Everybody

24. Everybody's Got A Baby But Me

27. Gee Whiz

30. Please Mr. Mayor

31. Grandpa's Rock

Disc 2

3. Woo-Hoo

4. Somethin' Baby

5. Puddin'

9. Geronimo Stomp

10. Gotta Lot Of Rhythm In My Soul

11. Guitar Rock & Roll

16. Craig's Crazy Boogie

18. Janis Will Rock

19. Johnny's Rip

20. If I Had A Woman

21. Sweet Rockin' Mama

29. My Little Girl

Comments

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