The Tempos Story by Rob Moss
The Tempos Story
The lineage of vocal groups, male and female, in the 1950s and 60s can be as difficult to establish as any family tree. Line-ups would frequently change as individual members came and went, group names could be dropped and replaced completely or entirely different personnel brought in to replace decampers. On a few occasions in the 1960s several different groups, with the same name, managed to co exist. An entire book, devoted to the various and varied formations that represented 'The Drifters', provides a clear indication of the complexity of personnel peripety through the decades, and they certainly weren't the only ones. Legal wrangles over name usage, and performance rights persist to this day, affecting groups like the Contours, Temptations, Four Tops, Coasters, Drifters, Marvelettes to name a few. Some of us can still recall 'known' groups touring Britain in the 1960s purporting to be their more famous compatriots, and believing that the addition of a prefix like 'Fabulous', 'Original' of 'Fantastic' would, in some way, legitimise the ruse. The Invitations toured as 'The Original Drifters', the Velours came as the 'Fantastic Temptations' (later to become the Fantastics) and there were others. An expose of the practice even made it to the pages of the News of the World newspaper, such was the outrage. This could have all been avoided, of course, if the 'real' groups had come in the first place. Ironically, soul devotees would have been quite happy to see these same groups perform as themselves!
Local singer James 'Jay' Davis happened to perform with two Detroit groups with names that appeared elsewhere - the Moments and the Tempos. " I don't know if we were the first to be called the Moments, 'cause I honestly can't say, but Diamond Jim (Riley) told us to change the name when he heard there was a group out of New Jersey, or somewhere like that, with the same name. 'Cause he was kinda managing us then we did what he said. We were the same guys and we just became the Tempos." The (Detroit) Moments was actually started by Herschel Hunter in the early 1960s and comprised of himself, Buford 'Fab'Glatton, Sam Pearson and James Davis...
note from the soul source team - sorry but all Robs non-current articles are now clipped due to a future book release - watch out for news of that!