I never got a chance to see the Motown trio, but I certainly did hear a lot from them, especially during the 1960s when they were Motown's most successful act, scoring hit after hit, with 12 No. 1 singles during the decade.
My connection, oblique as it is, to the group was when I was teaching school in Battle Creek, Michigan. There, I met another first year teacher, Michael Noverr, who moonlighted as a disk jockey, as Mark West, at a rock station in town. Michael introduced my wife and me to Harvey Reese, who was a radio engineer at a station in nearby Kalamazoo. And Harvey, who had turned the radio station's studio into a recording studio after hours, recorded or knew most every aspiring music group in West Michigan, including a locally popular R&B band called Jackey Beavers & the Continentals.
Beavers had grown up in Cartersville, Georgia. And, after high school, had joined the Air Force and soon found himself stationed at Fort Custer in Battle Creek. There, he entered and consistently won weekly talent competitions at the base. After the Air Force, Beavers hung around in Battle Creek and became the vocalist for the house band at the El Grotto Lounge, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars. And I knew Jr. Walker, not only because of his huge hits, "Shotgun" and "What Does It Take," but also because I had a couple of his kids in my classes at Battle Creek Central High School.
But it was Harvey's friendship with Jackey Beavers that led to our invitation to Jackey's new club in Kalamazoo, where Beavers and the Continentals held court most weekends sometime around 1968-1970. Jackey was an excellent host, seeing that we were seated at a good table not far from the stage and the dance floor. We had a great time that night, but probably would have not given the talented, young performer much more thought, if it hadn't been for the fact that his 1962 song, co-written with Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua, turned out to be the last song ever recorded by Diana Ross and the Supremes in 1969, the No. 1 hit: "Someday We'll Be Together."
Beavers went on to record a few regional hits with his Air Force buddy Johnny Bristol and continued writing songs. And still later, he became a minister and focused on gospel, like the song below, until his death in 2008.