Luther Bond & The Emeralds©2008JCMarion


The Emeralds got together in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio during the spring of 1953. The members of the group were lead singer Luther Bond, baritone Will Miller, tenor voices Charles Godfrey and Cedric Cox, and bass Clyde Giles. As they worked on their harmony and stage presence, they were encouraged to try their hand at area amateur shows. These talent promotions were quite common in the early n nineteen fifties and were the route that opened the door for so many of the vocal groups trying to make their way to fame and fortune. Soon they had themselves a manager who was a local radio personality named Ernie Waits. He searched around looking for a chance for the new vocal group to have an opportunity to record and soon they hit paydirt with the Savoy Record Company located in Newark, New Jersey. The group was signed to the label by Fred Mendelsohn the A & R chief for Savoy.

A short time after New Year's Say in 1954, The Emeralds gathered in their home town for a session with the label. With some session musicians (Russ Hampton, Edwin Conley, Wilbur Jackson, and Charles Montgomery) they recorded the songs "See What You Done" and "What If You" on # 1124. The record was listed as by Luther Bond "And His Emeralds". By March the trade papers have good sales figures for the record in the label's home of Newark, and a testimonial by "Moondog" Freed from Cleveland. In June of the year Savoy releases two songs from the January session - "You Were My Love" and "Starlight, Starbright" on Savoy # 1131.

Luther Bond & The Emeralds appear at a big show and picnic outing held by radio station WNJR in Newark on July 4th. Later in July "You Were My Love" is named a pick hit of the week in the group's home town of Cincinnati. The group made a number of appearances for the rest of the year in support of their two recordings. The group had another recording session for the label in late March of 1955, again in Cincinnati. By this time Wardell Fallon had replaced Charles Godfrey with the group. "It's Written In The Stars" and "I Won't Believe You Anymore" were released by Savoy on # 1159. Two other tunes were recorded - "I'll Love Again" and "Chicka-Lee" but were never issued. All the songs were written by Luther Bond. "It's Written In The Stars" was one of the true stylistic songs of the time that demonstrated the sound that was so popular then, and remains so today for so many. During the summer Savoy Records highlights the group and their record in the music trade press. It was interesting to see that in one ad the group was identified as "Luther Bond's Emeralds", and in the other as for the record, the vocal performance was listed as by "Luther Bond" (no group). This could have been a possible reason for the break up of the group by the end of the year.

By the beginning of the new year (1956) Luther Bond had put together a new group of Emeralds consisting of John Johnson, Willie King, and Robert Trice. John McGue was the group's accompanist on guitar. This time they scored a recording deal with home town company Federal Records. In September of 1956 Luther Bond & The Emeralds recorded "I Cry" and "He Loves You Baby" on Federal # 12279. By November it was a pick hit in the trade press especially in Cincinnati. The record however never really took off and The Emeralds receded into R & B oblivion - for a couple of years anyway. After sporadic live appearances and recording sessions that failed to materialize, the group gave it one more shot.

In the summer of 1959, Luther Bond & The Emeralds hooked up with Showboat Records based in Nashville, Tennessee. This label was in partnership with New York based Apollo Records and recorded the group with the tunes "Gold Will Never Do" and "Jitterbug Jamboree" on Showboat # 1501. The record got initial airplay in the cities of Nashville and Memphis, but sales went flat and did not get national attention. In November Federal Records released two songs by the group that had been held in the can for two years. The songs "Old Mother Nature" and "Six Foot Hole" were released on # 12368. Not helping the group's attempt at resurrecting their career, Ray Scrivener was involved in selling off his Republic Records label and also buying out his share of Showboat Records from Apollo.

The group had one more recording session that resulted in "Someone To Love Me" and "Should I Love You So Much" on Showboat # 1505 in early 1960. Soon after that record also failed to get much attention, Luther Bond & The Emeralds called it quits. So they faded into history as another R & B vocal group that remained on the periphery of the musical scene, but contributed to that very history that they so much wanted to become a greater part of. Unfortunately Luther Bond passed away in 1979, but the awesome sound of "It's Written In The Stars" will live on as long as there are admirers of this musical style.

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