The Volumes Biography

This Detroit, Michigan, R&B vocal ensemble comprised Ed Union (lead), Elijah Davis (first tenor), Larry Wright (second tenor), Joe Travillion (baritone), and Ernest Newsom (bass). Formed in 1960, the Volumes’ one hit on the local Chex label, ‘I Love You’, reached the US R&B Top 10 and pop chart number 22 in 1962 and showed them to be a typical transition ensemble. Their exotic riffing harmonies undergirded by Newson’s marvellous burbling bass work harkened back to the world of doo-wop but Union’s soaring and searing lead looked forward to the emerging soul era. Despite recording a body of magnificent music over the next decade on a succession of small Detroit labels, the Volumes never were able to achieve commercial success again. The group and their lone hit had been forgotten until 1986, when New Jersey-based Relic Records put out a compilation of their early 60s sides and unreleased a cappella numbers, and the world learned what an underestimated group the Volumes were.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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