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Tyrone Edwards aka Tony & Tyrone

Tyrone Edwards aka Tony & Tyrone cover

It took me many years to track down this guy, but eventually I was sitting with him on Detroit’s East Side. Over a ten year period I had been down several blind alleys looking for Tyrone Edwards and Tyrone Pickens, the name he wrote under. But his story starts as one half of the singing duet Tony & Tyrone, who built up a strong reputation around the Detroit city clubs as a lively stage act with undoubted singing skills. Early on they became close friends of Carolyn & Aretha Franklin, who help them whenever they could to develop their careers, Aretha even wrote a song for Tyrone at one stage. This eventually led to contracts with both Columbia and Atlantic through the connection to the sisters.

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They put out one 45 on both, but their initial break came with two release on the local label Ston-Roc, ‘I may not have’ / A fool am I’. The A side is a rockin good R&B dancer, with the standard ballad flip, a good place to start, then a year later ‘Talking about people’ / ‘Don’t ever leave me’. By the time they arrived at Columbia, they had developed their act into a strong duet with perfect matched vocals, as demonstrated on the ballad A side ‘Crossroads’, on the flip they recorded a similar style soulful number called ‘A fool am I’. For their third release came the humorous A side ‘Please operator’ which gained some success in the UK later in the 70’s, getting a release on the back of its popularity on the Northern Soul scene. Somewhere in there also came a release on the UK label Ember in 1970 ‘Whip your loving on me’. Although these saw some success the duet then split up, but this was not the end for Tyrone. He had already proved his talent for singing and writing so was signed up by Brian and Eddie Holland for their newly formed Invictus label. Here he released one 45 ‘Can’t get enough of you’, a very typical Invictus sounding mid tempo number with the signature string arrangements, that also can be heard on Chairman Of The Board 45’s. The flip an oh so soulful stepper, this also saw releases around Europe on the Invictus inprint. But like so many excellent releases on the label, without the Holland Brother full focus the promotion was weak and it did little.

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Tyrone was to have one last burst on creativity now having joined up with writing partner James Anderson. This lead to what would be his last release on James’s Olam label, the strutting funky late 70’s dancer ‘You did it’, backed by a pretty ballad ‘Main ingredient’, recorded at Danny Dallas’s Sound Patterns studio in North Detroit.

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Over the years Tyrone’s life has taken many a twist and turn, living in many parts of the U.S. During this time he lost touch with his old buddy, Tony Johnson, but now he is home again in Detroit and back in touch with his later writing partner James and together they are working on some previously unissued material, which I hope to help them get released. In a final attempt to get some sucess on this 45 they took it to, the then No1 Detroit radio DJ, Foody. But instead of playing the 45 on his show, he took his group The Exportations into the studio and recorded it on them. Then in a last twist of fate, the radio station said that these 45's were a conflict of interest and he could play neither.

In the main photo Tony is on the left and Tyrone on the right, the link is to a Youtube post of Tyrone's last 45 on Olam

 




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Very interesting read, thanks!

'Whip your loving on me' came out on german Vogue as well. I once had a date stamped demo Nov 21, 1970. Don't know how accurate that is. Nice pic sleeve. I attach a scan I nicked off Discogs. Can supply better quality scan from my collection if you want?

I think 'Please operator' also came out in Germany but am not sure.

Tony & Tyrone.jpg

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16 hours ago, Benji said:

Very interesting read, thanks!

'Whip your loving on me' came out on german Vogue as well. I once had a date stamped demo Nov 21, 1970. Don't know how accurate that is. Nice pic sleeve. I attach a scan I nicked off Discogs. Can supply better quality scan from my collection if you want?

I think 'Please operator' also came out in Germany but am not sure.

Tony & Tyrone.jpg

That's nice Benji, a hi res scan would be nice when you get a chance. Also if you ever see 'Please operator' Germany release, think of me

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Dave just to add a little something myself and Andy Tats Taylor met Tony Johnson in 1990  It was something Betty Lavette arranged for us as Tony was in the Magnetics (same group as Lady in Green) but prior to that. The Train song was nearer to his time. We met in a bar The Locker Room (Curtis/Levonia) at some late hour and it emerged that thru a conversation with Tats that he was one half of Tony and Tyrone.

                             He was one of the nicest guys I ever met in Detroit, he came to see us the next day, sold us some 45s and then without warning began to sing a few songs that he was working on with Barrett Strong, yes we did have a video recorder with us but we didn't know he would sing for us, but he did the result being its very emotional.

                              With speaking to him it emerged his sister was at university in Oxford so we said because he (Tony) had been so sweet with us that on our return to the UK we would afford his sister some of our time and we did just that. Andy bought her down to my house and we went for a meal and afterwards Tats took her to some soul event, I couldn't go to that for some reason but at least we kept our promise  Gilly

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9 hours ago, Gilly said:

Dave just to add a little something myself and Andy Tats Taylor met Tony Johnson in 1990  It was something Betty Lavette arranged for us as Tony was in the Magnetics (same group as Lady in Green) but prior to that. The Train song was nearer to his time. We met in a bar The Locker Room (Curtis/Levonia) at some late hour and it emerged that thru a conversation with Tats that he was one half of Tony and Tyrone.

                             He was one of the nicest guys I ever met in Detroit, he came to see us the next day, sold us some 45s and then without warning began to sing a few songs that he was working on with Barrett Strong, yes we did have a video recorder with us but we didn't know he would sing for us, but he did the result being its very emotional.

                              With speaking to him it emerged his sister was at university in Oxford so we said because he (Tony) had been so sweet with us that on our return to the UK we would afford his sister some of our time and we did just that. Andy bought her down to my house and we went for a meal and afterwards Tats took her to some soul event, I couldn't go to that for some reason but at least we kept our promise  Gilly

Gilly , I remember watching that on Video (which Rob Thomas lent me I think ) was that when you were both sat in his car in a carpark ?

The song he sung was awesome , did it ever get a release ?

Cheers

Swifty:thumbsup:

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Are Mr Swifty, I think I met you on Saturday didn't I, well yes that was the car park singing episode. He sang 2/3 songs and we asked to bring the songs back to the UK to see if we could help them along, now Tony was up for it but Barrett said no. At the time Tony was selling womens clothes door to door from out of his trunk to make a living having owned a string of beauty shops his wife divorced him taking his last penny.  As I said he was a fantastic human being

                                           Regards Gilly

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Yep ! was a bit pi**ed Saturday night , good night though!! :thumbsup: . Thought the songs were superb especially considering he was sat in a car singing , don't suppose you have any clips you could put on here Gilly ?

Cheers mate

Swifty

 

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