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Old 08-23-2014, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
Lord Larehip
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 895

Detroit’s premier white soul band formed in 1964 and signed with Fortune as the Flaming Embers—after a popular downtown restaurant. Drummer/lead singer Jerry Plunk and keyboardist Bill Ellis were from Tennessee and raised on country music but Plunk loved blues and idolized John Lee Hooker which convinced him to approach the Browns at the store and pitch his band whom they promptly signed (he said he saw Hooker there a few times and was filled with awe).

Bassist Mike Jackson and guitarist Joe Sladich are native Detroiters. All had been in previous bands. Jackson had also been a member of the Reflections ("Just like Romeo and Juliet"). The Embers cut two singles at Fortune, all four songs written by Plunk—"You Can Count On Me" b/w "Gone, Gone, Gone" (actually recorded and produced at Specialty and distributed by Fortune) and "Woe Is Me" b/w "Rain Go Away" (recorded at Specialty but produced at Fortune and with vocals by Ray Kimble). Both singles were locally successful.

The Embers sought out wider distribution and eventually left Fortune although Plunk still recalls those days quite fondly. The band went to the Ric-Tic label and released six singles including "Hey Mama" written by George Clinton but the label folded.

By 1968, the band landed a contract with Hot Wax, Holland-Dozier-Holland’s label and changed their name to Flaming Ember (note the singular). In 1969, their single "Mind, Body and Soul" was released which was a significant nationwide hit and an enormous hit in the Detroit area (I absolutely loved it, my older brother had the single and a musician I know who told me he also had it and literally played the grooves off it and had to buy another). Flaming Ember had two follow-up hits—"Westbound #9" and "I’m Not My Brother’s Keeper." After that, their success died and the band broke up in 1972. Plunk now lives in Tennessee but loves to talk about his Detroit days. Jackson is still active in the Detroit music scene.

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