• The Emeralds (4)

    The Emeralds (4)

    Jeff Okun, James Fischer, Joe Barnett and Cubie Maddox

    The Emeralds (4) (South Haven, Mi)

    Personnel :

    James Fischer (Soprano Lead)

    Joe Barnett (Baritone)

    Jeff Okun (Tenor)

    Cubie Maddox (Bass)

    Discography :

    1959 - The Lover / Madamoiselle (Venus 1002)
    1963 - Marsha / You're Driving Me Crazy  (Venus 1003)


    Biography :

    By Joel Chandler - Four High School boys from South Haven High School compose a quartet known as the Emeralds. Two sophomores, 15 year old Joe Barnett and sixteener Jeff Okun, and two juniors, 16 year old Cubie Maddox and seventeener James Fischer are the singers who working together since early 1958 . The group started out in 1956 as The Cloves, an unreleased group. They made it on a local TV station, WKZO-TV. The Cloves lasted about a year, until about 1957, when they changed their name to the Dell Chords.

    The Emeralds (4)    The Emeralds (4)

    The group of boys that are known as the Emeralds was formed in September of 1958 and began performing almost immediately, as most of them had been in the Dell Chords. Possibly as a result of winning a talent show, The Emeralds got a recording deal with Venus Records, Inc at 1111 W. 62nd Street in Chicago. The first record was Venus 1002, Mademoiselle b/w The Lover, and it was released sometime during the week of May 25, 1958. The second one was Venus 1003 (You're Driving Me Crazy), and it was released sometime after that.

    The Emeralds (4)
    James Fischer, Jeff Okun, Joe Barnett and Cubie Maddox

    They attended the Southwestern Michigan Vocal festival at Western Michigan University as members of their choir, they were greatly applauded by almost 1300 attending students, and were commended for their fine harmonisation. The Emeralds entertained frequently in town and in neighboring towns including such places as the boat Show, ’59, Queen Contest, ’59, Post Prom frolics, Bangor and South Haven talent Shows, school dances and at Watervliet High School.

    The Emeralds (4)     The Emeralds (4)

    In June of 1959, the group was featured on both Chicago Band Stand (which was on WNBQ-TV) and the Howard Miller Radio Show on WMAQ. After that, the group lasted another year until Maddox and Fischer graduated. The Emeralds got back together in 1961, but it didn't work out and the group was done.

    Songs :
    (updated by Hans-Joachim) 

    The Lover                                         Madamoiselle

    You're Driving Me Crazy                               Marsha         

  • Comments

    Wednesday 23rd October 2019 at 17:49
    Bobby Diskin
    Wednesday 18th November 2020 at 01:15

    I have and enjoy both of the Emeralds records on Venus Records.  But the word "unique" cannot be used for  "You're Driving Me Crazy" as it's a play on the Heartbeats "Crazy Foir You" and the flip side "Marsha" is taken from "My Only Love" by the Falcons on Falcon Records, which was also recorded by the C-Quins on Ditto Records and by the Parlaments (spelling is theirs, AKA the Deltones) on USA Records.  The Emeralds did retitle the two songs and changed the words and "Marsha", by the Emeralds, has always been a favoritie of mine.  I played it twice, in the 1980s, on Don K. Reed's Doowop Shop on WCBS - FM when I programmed some of Don's shows.  I was hoping to hear some demos by these Emeralds and also to see a picture of this group - maybe one will turn up.

    Bobby Diskin - Brooklyn, NY.

      • Joel Chandler
        Sunday 22nd January at 06:18
        Joel Chandler

        Some photos have been found! Check it out!

    Joel Chandler
    Monday 16th January at 02:23
    Joel Chandler

    The town name of Watervliet in the last paragraph is misspelled Wateryliet. Won't hold it against you though, it's a very small town and I'm surprised that one of my favorite groups visited my area of Michigan!

    Joel Chandler
    Monday 16th January at 05:00
    Joel Chandler

    Halt the presses! This group wasn't from Sterling Heights, they were from South Haven. It was a mixed racial group. The two juniors were African American and the two sophomores were white. The names are correct and all, I looked them up in the 1959 South Haven High School Yearbook.


    Joel Chandler
    Friday 20th January at 15:54
    Joel Chandler
    I have a few photos of this group, unfortunately the group photo I have is very blurry, although it has signatures. I'd love to share them.
    Friday 20th January at 17:44

    Yes thank you, maybe i can clean it , send me it at :  jcpiazza26@gmail.com

    Thank You Joel

    Bobby Diskin
    Friday 12nd May at 05:41

    Joel - thank you very much for the pictures!  Appreciate it - Bobby Diskin

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