Eric and the Vikings added soulful flavor to the Detroit music scene via Soulhawk records in the late 1960s and 1970s. The Soulhawk label was owned and operated by Richard “Popcorn” Wylie, who had been influential with Motown from the beginning and now operated as a producer, songwriter, and supporter of Northern Soul. Members Eryke McClinton, Cliff Moore, and Phil Taylor recorded their biggest hit for the Soulhawk label, titled “Vibrations (Made Us Fall In Love)” which was released in 1970 to large success in the city of Detroit and around the metro area. The single released by Eric & The Vikings helped propel the group, as well as the Soulhawk label, to achieve success with local Detroit radio stations and “Vibrations” was steadily featured on WKNR/Keener 13. Eric & The Vikings even opened up for Isaac Hayes during a performance at the University of Detroit event center back in 1970, cementing their local influence and their smooth soul success.
Take a listen to Eric and the Vikings with their best-known hit, “Vibrations (Made Us Fall In Love)” below.
Jimmy and Frank Bryant were two brothers from Detroit who worked as session musicians and created a dance-floor hit so groovy, it has been sampled over the years by the likes of British DJ hit-maker Norman Cook (known by most as Fatboy Slim) to create an iconic Northern Soul sound that people for decades have been able to dance to. After working for a long period of time recording music as a session musician for artists such as Gino Washington and J.J. Barnes while his brother Jimmy was completing service in the military, Frank Bryant was asked to do session work for Winifred Terry of The Drifters, and upon Jimmy’s return, the two brothers began to work and record together. While recording a session that was intended to produce a single and a B-Side, the Bryant brothers used the opportunity to show Terry their skill as not only musicians, but vocalists. Subsequently, the original vocalist hired for the songs was taken out and The Just Brothers were able to record their own singles and B-Side. The songs “Honey,” “She Broke His Heart,” and “Things Will Get Better” featured the vocals of The Just Brothers, and the catchy, surf-rock-meets-soul-power B-Side “Sliced Tomatoes” became an iconic tune sampled over the years by Motown and soul-enthusiast DJs and producers. “Sliced Tomatoes” was recorded in 1965, but became more widely known in 1972 when the song was re-released on the Music Merchant record label, reaching a new group of listeners who became fascinated and receptive to the up-tempo beats that all at once showcased the best of Northern Soul, influenced by the Tamla Motown sound.
Check out a video below featuring Frank Bryant and drummer A.J. Sparks, playing “Sliced Tomatoes” as a tribute to the late, great Jimmy Bryant.