Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tavares - Hard Core Poetry

The five-brother singing group Tavares may be best known for such up-tempo hits as the million-selling single "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel," "More Than a Woman," and "Whodunit," but they first came to national attention with the luscious ballad "Check It Out." Their crisp vocalizing and clean-cut, young-men-next-door image made them favorites on TV shows starring Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, and Dick Clark's American Bandstand. In 1974, Tavares also had the first hit version (number one R&B) of "She's Gone" written by the then relatively unknown duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates. Hall & Oates scored a number seven pop hit with the song in 1976.

The Tavares brothers — Arthur Tavares, Ralph Vierra Tavares, Perry Lee Tavares, Antone Tavares, and Feliciano Tavares nicknamed "Pooch," "Tiny," "Chubby," and "Butch" — started the group in 1964 as Chubby and the Turnpikes in New Bedford, MA. Their grandparents taught them traditional Cape Verde folk songs, while their older brother John schooled them on doo wop singing. In 1969, the group became Tavares. They began singing in New England clubs and were signed to Capitol Records in 1973.

Their debut album, Check It Out, was issued in early 1974. The title track slow jam single went to number five R&B on Billboard's charts in summer 1973. The next single, the ballad "That's the Sound That Lonely Makes," hit number ten R&B in early 1974.

Check It Out was followed by Hard Core Poetry in the summer of 1974, helmed by songwriting/production duo Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter (the Four Tops' "Aint No Woman Like the One I Got"). It listed the soaring number ten hit "Too Late," the number one hit "She's Gone," and "Remember What I Told You to Forget," which hit number four in 1975.

Lambert & Potter produced the brother's next album, In the City, released during the summer of '75. The set yielded three singles, the number one hit "It Only Takes a Minute," a cover of the Edgar Winter Group's 1973 pop smash, "Free Ride," and "The Love I Never Had."

Tavares' next album, Sky High (spring 1976) was the group's first collaboration with producer Freddie Perren. Perren seemed to have an affinity for family singing groups, having had hits with the Jackson 5 ("I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save") as a member of the Motown arrangers/songwriters/producers collective The Corporation, and would later go to have hits with the Sylvers ("Boogie Fever"). Sky High boasted the sparkling number three R&B hit "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (Part 1)" from summer 1976.

Their fifth LP, Love Storm was issued in spring 1977 and included the clever number one R&B hit "Whodunit" in spring 1977. A greatest hits set, The Best of Tavares, was released in the fall of the same year.

"More Than a Woman" was specifically written for Tavares by the Bee Gees and was issued as a single from the blockbuster Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. "More Than a Woman" was also on their Future Bound LP released in spring 1978.

On 1979's Madame Butterfly LP, the group worked with Philly soul arranger/producer Bobby Martin (the Manhattans, LTD). The sweet ballad "Never Had a Love Like This Before" went to number five R&B in early 1979.

At the start of the 1980s, Tavares left Capitol Records, signing with RCA. They had one last major hit, the ballad "A Penny for Your Thoughts", from their 1982 New Directions album. Sadly, subsequent releases failed to match this success.

In 1983, after the release of their Words & Music album, brother Ralph stepped down from the group, and Tiny left in the mid 1990s, but the other three members continued to tour.

In 1994, Canadian label Unidisc released The Best of Tavares Revisited, which had re-recordings by the group of their past hits.

In 2004, Tavares released the EP Old Dawg New Tricks on the indie Eye Candy imprint. For this release, Butch Tavares handled both the production and writing duties. The CD is now available over at As of this writing, Butch and his wife Elizabeth are living somewhere in New Hampshire where he produces local talent.

Source: Tweaked from the writings of Ed Hogan, All Music Guide.

Unfortunately, Hard Core Poetry is long out of print but you can still find an original vinyl copy on the cheap right here or here.

Featured cut: "Too Late"

Listen to the full album here


Anonymous said...

Butch is married to Grace and they live in NH together they write music and have been doing so for more than a decade

Anonymous said...

I think I'm in love with Chubby.............He has such charm and grace :)

Anonymous said...

I think butch is one of the finist men I have ever seen, and the way he moves is out of sight, I wonder if he is married. I love to hear him sing and talk. He is a real dream boat

Anonymous said...

I agree with comment #3, Butch is so handsome and charming, love all the Tavares brothers.

lyricistvocalist said...

Butch is definately one of the most handsome men ever! His dimples, the way he moves...amazing!

Claude said...

Indeed, so true, Butch looks even better then 3o years ago, so sexy!

Anonymous said...

I'm in love with Butch is so handsome and sexy, all of them are nice looking but, Butch tops them all.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Butch is married with young children at home. They say the thirt time is a charm...but shame on all of you acting like teenagers and heading for retirement...who said lust has an age limit..Tiny is still single check him out!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

O no, Tiny isn't single! He's Living Apart Together! Hands off! (And hands off Chubby too!)

Anonymous said...

Butch is a great singer, dancer & writer! Devoted Christian and father. The whole family is tight. At this age of life, they want to leave a legacy for the children to continue on with music and God. More power to them. They have great voices together..they should be in the hall of fame by now! Hey, whatever happened to Victor & Ralph?

Anonymous said...

wow! I go way back w/the brothers...The best times in my life touring w/them....I have so many pics from the 1980's....from NJ...boys you have to remember Linda, cricket, donna & Maureen...Good Times<3

Charles Perry, Jr. said...

"It's Christmas by Chubby Tavares on iTunes. "Jealousy" in February or March 2012...continue the love and support of TAVARES

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