The Embers

Band members                             Related acts

- Johnny Barker -- keyboards, vibes
- Gerry Davis -- vocals, bass

- Jackie Gore -- vocals, guitar
- Jackie Hamilton Gore -- vocals, guitar
- Johnny Hopkins -- trumpet, percussion, backing vocals

- Dave Norket --

- Frank Reich -- (1967-)
- Doug Strange -- keyboards, backing vocals
- Bobby Tomlinson -- drums
- Craig Woolard -- vocals, sax




- The Swinging Embers  




Genre: garage

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Embers Roll Eleven

Company: JCP

Catalog: #2006

Year: 1965

Country/State: Raleigh, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG /VG-

Comments: plays with some hiss and a couple of clicks throughout; vinyl is quite scratched

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5107

Price: $110.00


Having made their reputation playing school dances and clubs, 1965's "The Embers Roll Eleven" captured The Embers in their element - namely a live set recorded at North Carolina State University's Erdahl Cloyd Student Union (named after Theodore Erdahl and Edward Lamar Cloyd).  You normally see this one described as a garage effort, though most of eleven songs were covers of popular soul songs.  As such the album would actually be better described as blue-eyed soul.  Sonically the results were a little crude, but for a live act these guys sounded surprisingly good (credit post-production work?).  On the down side creatively you won't find anything startling here.  The performances were professional, but never strayed from the norm, making for a quick and pleasant listening experience.  Just because it offered a minor change from the norm, the standout track was their Beatles cover 'All My Lovin' '.  Still, not worth the big bucks being asked by some dealers ...  

"The Embers Roll Eleven" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Stubborn Kind of Fellow   (Marvin Gaye - Stevenson - Berry Gordy Jr.) - 2:35

2.) Gypsy Woman   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:16

3.) Um Um Um Um Um   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:21

4.) Memphis   (Chuck Berry) - 2:15

5.) Stay   (Maurice Williams) - 1:58

(side 2)

1.) Money   (Berry Gordy Jr. - Janie Bradford) - 2:45

2.) Everybody Loves a Lover   (R. Allen - R. Adler) - 2:30

3.) Searchin'   (Jerry Leiber - Mike Stoller) - 3:02

4.) Kidnapper   (J. Douglas) - 2:45

5.) When My Little Girl Is Smiling   (Carole King - Jerry Goffin) - 2:40

6.) All My Lovin'   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 1:45



Genre: garage

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Burn You a New One

Company: EEE

Catalog: No. 1069

Year: 1967

Country/State: Raleigh, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap; minor click on 1st track, 1st side

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4263

Price: $100.00



Released by the Raleigh, North Carolina-based EEE label, 1967's "Burn You a New One" wasn't a major change in direction. Like the first two collections, the LP offered up another set of popular pop and soul covers. What was truly interesting was how four of the nerdiest white guys you've ever seen (check out the back cover photos), could turn in such impressive performances. Sure, covers such as Get Ready', 'Groovin', 'Wish You Didn't Have To Go' (erroneously credited to Spooner Oldhann, rather than Oldham) and 'Wish You Didn't Have To Go' didn't offer anything to improve on the originals. Still, vocalist Gore displayed a truly amazing chameleon-like talent and the rest of the band turned in stellar backing. The results make for a wonderful set of '60s beach music. In addition to sporting a classic album title, we've always loved the throwaway album cover design ...

"Burn You a New One" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Get Ready (Smokey Robnson) - 2:27
2.) Groovin (Felix Cavaliere - Eddie Brigati) - 2:26
3.) Teasin You () - 2:29
4.) Hurt So Bad (Randazzo - Weinstein - Harshman) - 2:37
5.) Wish You Didn't Have To Go (Dan Penn - Spooner Oldhann) - 1:57

(side 2)

1.) Walk On By () - 2:18
2.) Aware of Love (Jerry Butler - Curtis Mayfield) - 2:34
3.) Reputation (Randazzo - Harshman) - 2:39
4.) Ain't No Big Thing (G. Sims) - 2:37
5.) Shake Rattle & Roll (Jesse Stone) - 2:00



Genre: gpop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Just for the Birds!

Company: EEE

Catalog: JCP-2009

Year: 1966

Country/State: Raleigh, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG 

Comments: some seam splitting along top edge and some staining along right edge; occasional pops and clicks, but no skips

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4996

Price: $100.00

Cost: $1.00


I'd love to find an in-depth discography on this North Carolina based garage outfit, but I believe 1966's "Just for the Birds" was their second LP.  Regardless of its chronology, by the time this set was released the band had hit the big time - witness the back cover which included a pitch for their Raleigh, North Carolina club (the cleverly named The Ember Club).  Underscored by the preppy cover photo, their growing success apparently stripped off their garage roots since musically the set found the band opting for a surprisingly middle-of-the-road attack.  Featuring a mixture of popular pop and soul hits, the performances were all professional, though seldom particularly exciting ...  Covers like their slowed down cover of 'My Girl Sloopy', 'Up On the Roof', 'Irresistable You' and 'On the Outside Looking In' came very close to emulating The Tokens catalog ...  Luckily they had good taste in terms of soul acts, turning in a nice blue-eyed soul take on Curtis Mayfield's 'Little Young Lover' and 'Hi Heel Sneakers'.  Because it came close to their original garage roots  the closing instrumental 'Embers Theme - "Before Six"' was the standout tune.  Funniest track was the falsetto-propelled 'Reach Out for Me' which includes some spastic percussion which sounds like it was mixed in from a different song.)


"Just for the Birds!" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) My Girl Sloopy   (Berns - Farrell) - 

2.) Up On the Roof   (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 

3.) Irresistable You   (Divon - Kasha) - 

4.) On the Outside Looking In   (Randazza - Weinstein) - 

5.) Rockin Crikets (instrumental)   (Todaro - Shannon) - 

6.) Little Young Lover   (Curtis Mayfield) - 

(side 2)

1.) Hello My Lover   (C. Toussaint) - 

2.) Reach Out for Me   (Hill Range) - 

3.) Hi Heel Sneakers   (Robert Higgenbotham) - 

4.) I Wanna Be Loved   (Billy Rose - E. Heyman - J. Green) - 

5.) Embers Theme - "Before Six"   (Larry Frazier - Curtis Mayfield) - 





Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  I Love Beach Music

Company: EEE

Catalog: EEE 1070

Year: 1979

Country/State: Raleigh, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear;

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4365

Price: $15.00



By the time 1979's "I Love Beach Music" was released, The Embers had long ago shed their garage rock credentials in favor of having become staples on the beach music circuit.  That's not anything to be ashamed of, though to some extent this album has to be seen as 'product' rather than art.  Anyone familiar with the beach music genre will already know what to expect from this set - namely a highly commercial mixture of blue-eyes soul and outright pop.  Virtually any one of the ten tracks would have sounded good on a top-40 radio station, but the highlights included '', '' and their cover of 'Hold Back the Night'.  Certainly nothing to drastically change your life, but a nice way to spend a warm summer evening ...


"I Love Beach Music" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) I Love Beach Music   (Jackie Gore) - 3:05

2.) Cheaters Never Win   (R. Tyson - A. Felder - T. G. Conway) - 4:32

3.) I'll Come Running   (E. Taylor) - 3:12

4.) I'm Gonna Do Beautiful Things To You   B. Mason - Toni Wine) - 3:14

5.) Hold Back the Night   (Baker - Harris - Felder - Young) - 3:07

(side 2)

1.) Why Did You Leave Me   (Jackie Gore) - 3:56

2.) Sixty Minute Man   (Billy Ward) - 2:14

3.) Would You Believe (Baby I Got It)  (R. Branch - M. Branch - H. Martin - J. Butt) - 3:58

4.) You Keep Telling Me Yes   (Cherry - Clinard - Hutchinson) - 3:13

4.) You Are So Beautiful   (Billy Preston) - 3:50

5.) Summertime's Calling Me   (Johnny Barker) - 2:42



Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  This One's for You

Company: Ripete

Catalog: 392151

Year: 1982

Country/State: Raleigh, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4312

Price: $30.00



The most amazing thing about this 1982 LP is actually the fact that all seven members were on the 1967 "Burn You a New One" album.  Geez, talk about dedication and persistence.  


So what do these guys sound like some 15 years down the road?  We'll "This One's for You" has it's moments, but for the most part these guys are now content to stand as supper club standards for the beach music scene.  The side long "Embers Beach Medley" finds them zipping through some 38 'beach music' song snippets clocking in at 15 minutes, that allows each song roughly 24 second).  I guess the medley shows their flexibility, but it isn't particularly endearing.  The flip side showcases five original numbers that are marginally entertaining, though not one of them measures up to past glories.  Best of the lot (we use the term loosely) may be 'Always In Love' which could easily be mistaken for Pablo Cruise.


"This One's For You" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Embers Beach Medley - 

(side 2)

1.) Always In Love   (Johnny Barker) - 

2.) Canadian Sunset   (Johnny Barker) - 

3.) Love Me   (Johnny Barker) - 

4.) Do What You Want To Do   (Jackie Gore) - 

5.) Take Care of You for Me   (Jackie Gore) - 




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