He is a singer born in St. Louis, Missouri, who was stationed with the US Army in Germany and often sang in clubs over there. When he left service he settled in Columbus, Georgia, and began concentrating on his professional singing career.
He appeared with Wilson Pickett in Georgia and then in 1968 moved on to Chicago to perform some gigs in what was known as the “chitlin circuit”. While there he became acquainted with Curtis Mayfield who opened up the way for him to get a recording session with Weis Records, which resulted in the 1969 song “If I Don’t Lose My Head”. Other singles followed and then in 1972 he changed companies and recorded for the Bell label. He released “The Look On Your Face” and after changing to Aware Records he released his solo album Messing Up a Good Thing.
In 1973 he performed a number of times with the group The Spinners (known as The Detroit Spinners in the UK) but continuing on with his solo career, 1974 saw him achieve his first success with Careful Man, which reached No. 8 in the charts. Aware Records went out of business and so he once again moved on. This time to Cotillion Records. He released a further album Life, Love and Living in 1976 and then in 1977 he took the plunge and became the lead vocalist of The Spinners after Philippe Wynne had decided to leave them to work with George Clinton. This move saw him gaining recognition for his vocals on hits that include “Cupid (I’ve Loved You For a Long Time)” and “Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me Girl” as well as their other chart songs that have appeared since he joined them three decades ago.
A sample of the many albums he has featured on other than his own include Last Mango in Paris by Jimmy Buffett , Elite Hotel by Emmylou Harris, Dancin’ & Lovin’, Down to Business and One of a Kind Love Affair by The Spinners.
In 2000 he suffered a debilitating stroke which caused him to retire but he is still thought of as a much-loved member of The Spinners.
The Spinners recordings
Disco Ride (Jolyon Skinner/ Eltesa Weathersby/Michael Zager)
Atlantic ST-A-37557-SP 3637
Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me Girl (Sandy Linzer/Denny Randell/Michael Zager)
Atlantic ST-A-37811-SP (US 45)
Here he is singing solo on his “Messin’ Up a Good Thing”…