Detroit Emeralds (1966-1978)

The Detroit Emeralds, an R&B/ soul vocal ensemble, was formed in 1966 in Detroit, Michigan, by two brothers and a childhood. However, they were originally from Little Rock in Arkansas. The members were brothers Ivory Tilmon (born September 14, 1941), composer/ lyricist Abrim Tilmon (born January 12, 1945, and Lead Singer James Mitchell Jr. (born May 27, 1949) from Perry, Florida. He wrote all of the ensemble’s hits.

The ensemble’s first hit was “Show Time” in 1968 for Ric-Tic imprint (which became a part of Motown Records). It peaked at no. 22 on the R&B chart and no. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1970 they followed with the singles “If I Lose Your Love” from the album Do Me Right that reached no. 32 R&B and “I Can’t See Myself Doing Without You/Just Now and Then” that peaked at no. 41 on the R&B chart.

In 1971, the Detroit Emeralds released two singles from the album Do Me Right for the Janus label. They were “Do Me Right” that reached no.7 R&B and no. 43 Billboard Hot 100, which sold more than 500,000 copies, and “Wear This Ring (With Love)” that reached no. 18 R&B and no. 91 Billboard Hot 100.

Their 1973 album I’m in Love with You, scored two single hits, “You’re Gettin’ a Little Too Smart,” that peaked at no. 10 R&B and no. 101 Billboard Hot 100 and “I Think of You” which reached no. 27 on the UK chart. Their 1973 album Abe, James, and Ivory produced “Lee” reached no. 79 on the R&B chart.

Despite their success in the late 1960s and early 1974, the Detroit Emeralds began dismantling in 1974 as Tilmon formed a new singing ensemble using the original name, and Mitchell began writing music for the R&B vocal group, the Floaters.

The reorganized Detroit Emeralds brought the decade to an end with hits from two albums, Feel the Need (1977) and Let’s Get Together (1978), for the Westbound label. Both albums released singles with the title, “Feel the Need” that became a disco hit, peaked at no. 12 on the UK chart and no. 14 on the U.S. Dance (Disco) chart, no. 73 R&B, and no. 90 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Let’s Get Together” peaked at no. 11 on the Dance chart.

Abrim Tilmon died on July 6, 1982, in Southfield, Michigan at the age of 37; Ivory Tilmon died on September 13, 2014. He was 73.

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