R&B Vocal Groups
Information on these pages is provided for the purpose of promoting greater understanding and appreciation for vocal group harmony. Copyright 1998-2006. All Rights Reserved. Property of Nikki Gustafson & Jim Dunn. Not to be duplicated, reproduced or otherwise used without permission.
original article 10/1997 - last updated 8/06/2006
(Clockwise from lower left) Kenny Sinclair, William DeVase, Darryl Lewis,
Jimmy Smith, (Oscar McDonald is not pictured)
The Elgins - - Jimmy Smith, William Devase, Darryl Lewis, Kenny Sinclair, and Oscar McDonald - - were formed in 1959. They were very much like the R&B groups of that era, featuring a bass, tenor lead, and doo-wop harmony in the background.
Oscar and Jimmy attended high school together in Beaumont, Texas. Jimmy, on occasion, laments the fact that he came in second place in several talent contests in Texas to Johnny Nash, of "I Can See Clearly Now" fame.
Darryl, Kenny and William attended high school in southern California. Darryl and Kenny were original members of the Six Teens, of "A Casual Look" fame, along with Darryl's cousin Trudy Williams. After leaving the Six Teens, Kenny hooked up with William to sing in various groups while in high school.
Cappie, as Darryl is affectionately called by close friends, reunited with Kenny, his brother Carl, and William. He brought Jimmy into the group to sing lead. This quintet recorded "Lonely Hearts Club" b/w "Bad Man" for the Titan label in 1960 under the name of the Elements. They also recorded "My Illness" as the Elements for Titan, but this was to go unreleased at the time.
Soon thereafter, Carl left the group to devote more time to pursuing an acting career. Jimmy brought Oscar McDonald into the group and the Elgins were born. Along with a change in personnel was a label change to Flip. This was a return to familiar shores. Flip had been the recording home for the Six Teens. Jimmy Smith had also recorded "I Cry And Cry Every Night" b/w "Night Time" for Flip in 1959 backed by the Lockettes. The Elgins recording on Flip of "Uncle Sams Man" b/w "Casey Cop" was released in 1960 and established the group on the west coast. The success of "Uncle Sams Man" certainly caught the attention of George Brown at Titan records. Rembering that he still had an unreleased recording by the group (prior to the name change) still in the vaults, Brown decided to capitalize on their recent success and issued "My Illness" b/w "Extra Extra" in 1961 under the name Elgins rather than the Elements . 1962 saw the record reissued with the title of "My Illness" changed to "Heartaches Heartbreak", a somewhat less somber name for the tune.
1962 saw yet another label change for the group, this time to Lummie Fowler's Lummtone label. Their first release, Lummtone 109 was "Finally" b/w "A Winner Never Quits". Barbara Lewis, who had replaced Devase in the group at the time, is heard on "Finally", behind the lead of Darryl Lewis. Their next release, also in '62 was "Johnny I'm Sorry" b/w "A Winner Never Quits", and was also issued as Lummtone 109. "Johnny I'm Sorry" took on new life when it was issued again as Lummtone 110 this time b/w "You Got Your Magnet On Me Baby". Devase was back in the group for their next outing on Lummtone which was "I Left My Heart In The Big City" b/w "Finally", which was resurrected from their previous release.
This record was also released on the Lantam label as by the Daniels. The Elgins final recording for Lummtone in 1963 was "Your Lovely Ways" b/w "Finding A Sweetheart".
In 1965, the Elgins released a more POP sounding record "Street Scene" b/w "You Found Yourself Another Fool" for the Valiant label.
Sinclair, Devase and McDonald recorded again between 1968-1970 as the Bagdads, putting out three singles, most notable of which was "Bring Back Those Doo-Wops" b/w "Green Power" for the Double Shot label.
The Elgins decided to reunite in the mid 1990s because of popular demand. They were one of the few oldies groups with all original members. Unfortunately we must add that in March 2003 Kenny Sinclair passed away.
Titan 1708 Elements Lonely Hearts Club / Bad Man 1960
Titan 1724 Elgins Extra Extra / My Illness 1961
Titan 1724 Elgins Extra Extra / Heartache Heartbreak 1962
Flip 353 Elgins Uncle Sam's Man / Casey Cop 1960
Lummtone 109 Elgins A Winner Never Quits / Finally 1962
Lummtone 109 Elgins A Winner Never Quits / Johnny I'm Sorry 1962
Lummtone 110 Elgins Johnny I'm Sorry / You Got Your Magnet On Me 1962
Lummtone 112 Elgins Lost My Love In The Big City / Finally 1963
Lummtone 113 Elgins Your Lovely Ways / Finding A Sweetheart 1963
Lantam 01 Daniels Big City / Finally 196?
Valiant 752 Elgins Street Scene / You Found Yourself Another Fool 1965
DoubleShot 128 Bagdads Livin In Fear / Let's Talk About The Bad Times 1968
DoubleShot 133 Bagdads Bring Back Those Doo-Wops / Green Power 1968
DoubleShot 151 Bagdads Keep Those Mini Skirts Up / Let's Talk About The Bad Times 1970
On the Saturday following the UGHA concert (Sept 26, 1997), we had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Darryl Lewis and Jimmy Smith (pictured above). We found them to be very gracious and truly appreciative of the enthusiasm of the crowd the previous night, as well as the interest of fans like ourselves in learning more about the Elgins history. They were quite open and eager to share whatever information they could. The group is hoping to get back in the studio to do some more recording. They also promised us that if they come back to UGHA again, they will be even better. We look forward to both future events.
Nikki & Jim
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