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The Detroit Emeralds

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The Detroit Emeralds
Also known asThe Emeralds
OriginLittle Rock, Arkansas, United States
GenresR&B, soul
Years active1968–1978, 2019–present
LabelsRic-Tic, Westbound, MCM
MembersJames Mitchell Jr.
Dewayne Loc Lomax[1]
Alfonzo Livingston[2]
Delbert Nelson[2]
Past membersIvory Tilmon
Abrim Tilmon
Cleophus Tilmon
Raymond Tilmon
Marvin Willis
Michael Henderson[3]
LaVel Jackson[1]
Eddie Cameron[1]

The Detroit Emeralds are an American R&B/soul vocal group, best known in the early 1970s. They enjoyed a run of successful records in the decade including their 1973 transatlantic hit single, "Feel the Need in Me".[3]


"The Emeralds" were formed as a vocal harmony group in Little Rock, Arkansas, and originally composed of four brothers, Ivory (September 14, 1941 – September 13, 2014),[4] Abrim (January 12, 1945 – July 6, 1982), Cleophus and Raymond Tilmon.[5] After Cleophus and Raymond left, the remaining Tilmon brothers were joined by childhood friend, James Mitchell.[5] Moving to Detroit, Michigan, and expanding their name to the Detroit Emeralds, the trio had their first R&B chart success on Ric-Tic Records, with "Show Time" in 1968.[6]

In 1970, they joined another Detroit-based label, Westbound Records. When touring in Memphis, Tennessee, they recorded some demo tracks at the Hi recording studios, run by top producer Willie Mitchell, to which they added vocals and strings back in Detroit. This approach worked and brought them another hit, "If I Lose Your Love", which was followed by a run of successes including "Do Me Right", "You Want It, You Got It", and "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)" which all made the US R&B top 10,[5] while the latter also reached number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 1972.[6]

The song for which they are now best remembered, "Feel the Need in Me", reached number 22 US R&B in 1973, and a new longer version four years later also charted. The original track made the top five in the UK Singles Chart in 1973, and the later production also made the UK chart in 1977 (number 12).[7] "You Want It You Got It" was re-released in the UK as a follow-up to the initial "Feel the Need in Me",[5] also reaching the UK top 20 in 1973.[7] Abrim Tilmon wrote all of their hits, while also arranging and producing the tracks. The horns and strings were arranged by the Grammy award-winning arranger, Johnny Allen. The horns and strings were recorded in Detroit with Carl Austin as concertmaster and Johnny Trudell leading the horns.

By 1974, the group was falling apart[5] and, at one point, there were two outfits using the name. Abe Tilmon formed one new group using the Detroit Emeralds' name, whilst James Mitchell, along with Marvin Willis, wrote for another group, the Floaters – Paul Mitchell of the Floaters being James's brother.[3] James Mitchell, Ivory Tilmon and Marvin Willis continued touring as the Detroit Emeralds and stayed active on the oldies and cabaret circuit for some years.[3]

Abrim Tilmon died on July 6, 1982, at the age of 37, in his Southfield, Michigan, home of a heart attack.[5] It was said a reunion of the group was being planned at the time. He was survived by his wife Janyce, son Steve, and daughter Cathy.[8]

In 2019, the Detroit Emeralds was reformed by the group's founding member James Mitchell Jr. along with new members LaVel Jackson, Eddie Cameron and Dewayne Loc Lomax.[9] They released a new single titled "Call Me, I'm Ready" in May 2019.[9] In August 2021, they released the single "Victory".[10] In November 2021, they released another single titled "Face 2 Face".[1] In October 2022, they released another single titled "In My Life".[2]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Record label
1971 Do Me Right 151 23 Westbound
1972 You Want It, You Got It 78 37
1973 I'm in Love with You 181 27
1977 Feel the Need
1978 Let's Get Together
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Abe, James and Ivory (1973, Westbound)
  • Greatest Hits (1998, Westbound)


Year Single Peak chart positions Album


1968 "Show Time" 89 22 Non-album singles
"Shades Down"
"(I'm an Ordinary Man) Take Me the Way I Am"
1969 "Holding On" Do Me Right
1970 "If I Lose Your Love" 32
"I Can't See Myself Doing Without You" / "Just Now and Then" 41
1971 "Do Me Right" / "Just Now and Then" 43 7 95
"Wear This Ring (with Love)" / "I Bet You Get the One (Who Loves You)" 91 18
"You Want It, You Got It" / "Till You Decide to Come Home" 36 5 12 You Want It, You Got It
1972 "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)" / "I'll Never Sail The Sea Again" 24 4
"Feel the Need in Me" / "There's a Love for Me Somewhere" 110 22 4
1973 "You're Gettin' a Little Too Smart" 101 10 I'm in Love with You
"I Think of You" 27
"Lee" / "Whatcha Gonna Wear Tomorrow" 79 Abe, James and Ivory
1977 "Feel the Need" (re-recording) 90 73 14 12 Feel the Need
"Set It Out" / "I'm Qualified"
1978 "Turn on Lady" / "I Just Don't Know About This Girl of Mine" 11 Let's Get Together
"Let's Get Together" / "Have a Good Day"
2019 "Call Me, I'm Ready"
2021 "Victory"
"Face 2 Face"
2022 "In My Life"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Samuels, Darnea N. (November 10, 2021). "First Listen: The Detroit Emeralds go "Face 2 Face" on new single". SoulTracks. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Samuels, Darnea N. (December 13, 2022). "First Listen: The Detroit Emeralds slow down the jam on "In My Life"". SoulTracks.
  3. ^ a b c d Wynn, Ron. "Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  4. ^ "Detroit Emeralds Page". Soulwalking.co.uk. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 69. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  6. ^ a b c d e "The Detroit Emeralds Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 152. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "To Our Dad, STEVE TILMON..." We_luv_grandpa_abrim.tripod.com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2006. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "First Look: The Detroit Emeralds are "Ready" for a return". SoulTracks. May 9, 2019. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  10. ^ "First Listen: The Detroit Emeralds return with a "Victory"". SoulTracks. August 15, 2021. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  11. ^ "Artist / Detroit Emeralds". Billboard Database. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  12. ^ "The Detroit Emeralds - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  13. ^ "CAN Charts > The Detroit Emeralds". RPM. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  14. ^ "DETROIT EMERALDS - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 30, 2017.

External links[edit]