The Five Embers (2)
The Five Embers (2) (Owensboro, KY)
Richard Brown (Lead, First Tenor)
Charles Brown (Lead, First Tenor)
Sonny Rates (Second tenor)
Raymond Johnson (Baritone)
Melvin Smith (Bass)
1959 - I'm free / My Fragile Heart (Royce 006/X bat 1006)
The Five Embers came about from a loosely organized group of individual talents who were part of this scene in the northern Kentucky town of Owensboro. The members all attended Western High, an all-black school in the area. An early version of the group had a brush with success in 1957 when they won a NFA competition at Tennessee State College. Part of the prize was an appearance on WLAC radio, Nashville, with Roy Acuff.
In 1958, the act was organized under the management of Gerald Emberton. The groups' name was derived from the manager's last name. They play in the local clubs, which included the Savoy Club and the Little Brown Jug in Owensboro, as well as several regular appearances in neighboring Indiana. Evansville's Roberts Stadium provided them with one of their larger audiences. Their manager felt that the Embers needed a record, and, in 1959 contacted Royce Morgan. Royce and his partner Bobby Anderson were operating a label out of the State (movie) Theater in Central City.
Released in early 1960, local reaction was excellent, with many jukebox plays, and heavy promotion from LeRoy Woodward, who operated a local record store called the "Wax Works", and had a weekly radio show on WVGS, Owensboro. The record got as far as Louisville, where Charles recalls it being a pick-of-the week on WHAS. A session at a Nashville studio (near the Ryman Auditorium) followed, and produced a few demos, including a tune called "Marie". They even cut a background track for Elvis in Nashville, which was, apparently, never used. In 1961, Richard enlisted in the Army. Sonny Rates followed.
My Fragile Heart I'm Free
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