Friday, April 20, 2012

The (Fabulous) Counts

American soul/funk group The Counts, originally known as The Fabulous Counts formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1968. The band consisted of Mose Davis (organ), Leroy Emanuel (guitar), Demo Cates (alto sax), Andrew Gibson (drums), Jim White (tenor sax) and Raoul Keith Mangrum (percussion). In a very similar way as many reggae groups of the 60's they started out as both an instrumental headliner and backing band for visiting solo acts to the area. They won much local acclaim this way and so the group cut their first song, on local label Moira Records, "Jan, Jan" b/w "The Girl from Kenya" with producer Richard ‘Popcorn’ Wylie. The single proved a success and hit #42 on the US R&B charts in January of 1969.

"Dirty Red" b/w "Scrambled Eggs", was up next, but although similar to "Jan Jan" passed without trace. Un-deterred the group recorded a full LP ‘Jan Jan’ for Cotillion, produced by Ollie McLaughlin. The LP contained their first two singles in their original form, as well as an altered version of ‘The Girl From Kenya’, two new originals, ‘The Bite’ and ‘The Other Thing’, while the rest of the LP is composed of good, bad and well.... interesting covers, including James Brown’s ‘It’s a Mans Mans Mans World’, Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Sing a Simple Song’, Young Holt Unlimited’s ‘Soulful Strut’, Johnny Taylor’s ‘Who’s Making Love’ and ‘Hey Jude’.
The LP also contains their and biggest hit single "Get Down People" b/w
"Lunar Funk". This tune peaked at #32 in the R&B chart, while staying there for 9 weeks, in early 1970. It also sneaked into US pop charts at #88.

This was the only LP the band did with Cotillion Records, and in 1971 they moved to Atlanta, Georgia, signing with Westbound Records. After a couple of personnel changes it was decided to drop the Fabulous from the name and it was here that they released ‘What’s Up Front That Counts’, before again moving , this time to Atlanta and ending up on Aware records for their last LP, ‘Funk Pump’ where they finally called it quits in 1976.

2009 saw The (Fabulous) Counts reunite back in that final line up from 1976 of Mose Davis (hammond, vocal), Leroy Emmanuel (guitar, vocal), Demo Cates (saxes, vocal), Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson (drums, vocal) and Jimmy Brown (saxes, vocal). A record, recorded in 1976, but never released because of the band's split was supposed to come out and the band was due to appear on a summer festival tour in Europe and the US, but I have found no details on either of these events coming to fruition.

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