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Keith, Tommy

Guitarist, producer and singer-songwriter who was a member of The Del Rays along with Ron Brown, James Keith, and Levester “Buster” Lockman.  They released “Our Love is True” backed with “One Kiss, a Smile and a Dream” in 1958.  The Del Rays became The Teen Kings and issued “Tell Me if You Know”/”That’s a Teenage Love” in 1959.  They changed their name again to The De-Lites and gave the world “My One Desire”/“Please Take My Love” in 1961 and “Lover”/”Tell Me Why” in 1965.

Tommy went on to join Brothers of Love and they released a handful of singles in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, including “Make Love Not War”/”Yes I Am”, “My Heart’s in Trouble”/”I, You, We”, “Yes I Am”/”Sweetie Pie”,  and “You Changed Me”/”Check My Love”.

He was prolific with the pen, as well.  In 1974, Larry Saunders recorded his original composition, “On the Real Side”.  Tommy had a couple of regular co-writing partners, Al Goodman of The Moments and Walter Morris.  He and Walter were responsible for a pair of The Moments’ U.K. hits, “Dolly My Love” and “Girls”, which was done in collaboration with The Whatnauts.  They published “Sleep Won’t Come” in 1976.

Around this time, Tommy became involved with a group known as First Class, as a composer, producer, and supporting musician.  He produced and had a hand in writing every track on their debut album, Going First Class.  It yielded a pair of hits, “Me and My Gemini”, co-written by Walter, and “This is It”.

Another group he worked with was The Rimshots, and he produced and played rhythm guitar on their 1976 album, Down to Earth.  One of its tracks that he wrote, “Super Disco”, went to #7 on the disco chart and #49 on the R&B chart.

In 1978, Tommy released a solo single of his own material, “You Ain’t Been Loved” backed with “Loving You Comes Easy”.  He and Moe Moore and Mark Roberts wrote “Baby Let’s Rap Now” and it became a latter-day hit for The Moments, reaching #39 on the soul chart.  In 1985, he took another solo shot with “No Monkey Business”/”I Ain’t Gonna Stop”.

You do not have to wander for long in a record store without bumping into a CD with Tommy’s name on it.  A few of the albums that feature him as a composer, performer, producer, or some combination thereof, include The Best of the Moments:  Love on a Two-Way StreetPillow Talk:  The Sensuous Sounds of Sylvia, and The Sugar Hill Records Story.

The Moments recordings
Jack in the Box (Al Goodman/ Tommy Keith/Harry Ray)
All Platinum 6146 318 (UK single)