Having played the club circuit since 1961 under the name The Sunliners, it was on joining Motown‘s subsidiary Rare Earth Records – set up by Barney Ales as a home for white rock acts – that the band took up the same name as the label, recording 11 albums between 1969 and 1978 for Berry Gordy’s stable.
They weren’t Motown’s first white group, but they were the first one with a hit.
Their psych R&B cover of The Temptations‘ 1966 classic Get Ready catapulted the Detroit quintet to fame. Having recorded a 21-minute version for their debut LP (the entire first side of the album), they took a three-minute edit and found themselves at #4 in the US charts in 1970.
That same year they repeated the formula, this time taking their Norman Whitfield-produced rendition of The Temptations’ I Know I’m Losing You from their second LP, Ecology, into the Top 100.
Elongated Acid Rock guitar solos punctuated with growly soulful vocals on covers of Tobacco Road, Feelin’ Alright and What’d I Say? followed with variable commercial success, the band revealing themselves to be musically more akin to Vanilla Fudge.
Pete Rivera (Pete Hoorelbeke)
Rod Richards (Rod Cox)
John Parrish (John Persh)
Bass, trombone, vocals
Kenny James (Kenny Folcik)