• Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls

    Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls (Detroit, Michigan)


    Personnel :

    Bobbie Smith (Elma Holman) (Lead)

    Sheena Carson (Genever Holman)

    Kay Green (Kay Hemphill)

    Tina LaGora (Tina Green)

    Louvain Demps (temporarily)


    Discography :

    The Dream Girls
    1959 - Oh This Is Why / Don't Break My Heart (first version) (Twirl 1002)
    1959 - Don't Break My Heart / Oh, This Is Why (Cameo 165)
    1960 - Don't Break My Heart (second version) / I Could Write A Book (Big Top 3059)

    Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls
    1959 - Crying In The Night / I'm In Love With You (Metro 20029)
    1960 - Love Him / Heartaches (Metro 20034)
    1961 - Wanted / Mr. Fine (Big Top 3085)
    1962 - The Duchess of Earl / Mine All Mine (Big Top 3100)
    1962 - Here Comes Baby / I Get A Feeling My Love  (Big Top 3111)
    1962 - Now He's Gone / Your Lovey Dovey Ways (Big Top 3129) 

    Bobbie Smith
    1964 - Walk On Into My Heart / Miss Stronghearted (American Arts 2)
    1965 - (You Know) I'll Be Around / Wait (Bell 628)
    1966 - I Can't Say No To You



    The Dream Girls are probably one of Detroit’s best kept secrets when it comes to girl groups of the 50’s and 60’s. While they cranked out 10 singles between 1959 and 1965, they stood in the shadows of hit-makers like the Supremes, the Shirelles, the Marvelettes, and the plethora of girl groups that hit the scene during this early era of Doo Wop, R&B, and Soul.  Discovered by Irving Micahnik and Harry Balk of Artists, Inc. based in Detroit, the group was made up of four young girls that included Bobbie Smith (Elma Holman), her sister Sheena Carson (Genever Holman), Kay Green (Kay Hemphill), and Tina LaGora (Tina Green). Bobbie and Kay were 18 years old when the group started, and Sheena and Tina were 21. Bobbie sang lead as she had the best voice and the most versatility in the group. Balk and Micahnik wasted no time recording the girls. At the time, Balk managed Little Willie John and Kenny Martin, and created the Twirl Records label in order to get 1000 singles pressed and distributed locally in a hurry.

    Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls       Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls

    Bobbie Smith at the Apollo (1960)                                                                                                               

    The session yielded: The Dream Girls’ songs “Don’t Break My Heart” / “Oh This Is Why.” Micahnik and Balk released “Don’t Break My Heart” on Twirl #1002. The single got almost immediate airplay in Detroit and surrounding areas. Harry and Irving initially pressed 1,000 copies, and found themselves reordering another 1,000 singles of the Dream Girls.“Don’t Break My Heart” did pretty well, and Balk and Micahnik managed to lease that single out to Cameo Records.  Artists, Inc. and the newly formed Twirl label were off to a good start with the single climbing the charts. At the next session The Dream Girls recorded “I’m In Love With You” and “Crying In The Night. The recordings were released on MGM Records’ Metro label, which helped twofold in that these records were manufactured “in house” by MGM and distributed nationally through MGM’s distribution network, allowing for better exposure than the Twirl label could ever hope for.

    Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls    Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls

    In early 1960, Harry Balk brought the Dream Girls over to Berry Gordy’s Motown Studio on Grand Boulevard in Detroit, where the group recorded “Love Him” (written by stable artist Shirley Jackson) and “Heartaches” (written by Royal Jokers’ Ted Green). While “Love Him” was a good effort, it proved unsuccessful as a single, but did make a little noise in the Midwest. Then the girls recorded “I Could Write A Book,” There wasn’t a B-side, so Balk had the girls re-record “Don’t Break My Heart” for the bottom side and they released it on New York’s Bigtop Records.  It was at this time that Tina from the group got pregnant, and temporarily had to leave the group to give birth, and so an ad was placed in the Detroit newspapers to fill her spot in the Dream Girls.  Louvain Demps auditioned and filled that spot in the group. With “Wanted” and “Mr. Fine” as a double-sided hit single in the Midwest, the Dream Girls started getting some good gigs booked with Motown artists like Smokey Robinson, Martha & the Vandellas, the Temptations, and the Four Tops.

    Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls

    When Gene Chandler had a hit with “Duke of Earl,” Maron McKenzie wrote an answer to the Duke, with “The Duchess of Earl.” “The Duchess of Earl” was soulful with R & B flavor and the flipside “Mine All Mine” was more in the Doo Wop vein. After the “Duchess,” Tina rejoined the group and Louvain left to find work as a background singer at Motown. In the summer of ’62, Bobbie Smith & the Dream Girls recorded “Here Comes Baby” and “I Get A Feeling My Love.” As with their previous three singles, this Dream Girls’ 45rpm was released on Bigtop. Jones’s, however, was issued on Mr. Peacock Records, a somewhat obscure label that included acts like Nino & the Ebb Tides and the Viscounts.  “Now He’s Gone” b/w “Your Lovey Dovey Ways” was another promising single for the Dream Girls. Years later, the Detroit Cobras would go on to cover “Now He’s Gone.”  In 1963 the girls were in their 20’s, some of the girls had a baby or were getting pregnant, or they didn’t want to sing anymore, and the group broke up.

    Brian C. Young


    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim) 

    The Dream Girls

    Oh This Is Why / Don’t Break My Heart (first version)     Don't Break My Heart (second version) / I Could Write A Book

    Bobbie Smith & The Dream Girls

    Crying In The Night                       Wanted                                    Mr. Fine       

    The Duchess of Earl             Mine All Mine                  Here Comes Baby

    Now He's Gone            Your Lovey Dovey Ways

    Bobbie Smith

    Walk On Into My Heart          Miss Stronghearted              (You Know) I'll Be Around





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