Who was/is The Fabulous Twilights ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

The Fabulous Twilights

Nathaniel Mayer and The Fabulous Twilights

Village Of Love

A rough, gutsy edge defined early '60s Detroit R&B. The Motor City's brand of doo-wop was a little rowdier (think The Midnighters). As soul saturated the vocal group sound, Detroit kept things real. No label anywhere churned out rawer product than Jack and Devora Brown's Fortune Records. Their studio was the back room of their little record shop, and the low-fi sound reflected it. The Browns wrung aural gold out of that humble setup during the mid-'50s with The Diablos and Andre Williams. That magic happened again with Nathaniel Mayer.

Born February 10, 1944 in Detroit, the teen's tornadic pipes first surfaced in 1961 with the bone-chilling doo-wop ballad My Last Dance With You (authorship credited to Devora Brown). The Fabulous Twilights were co-billed from the outset; who they were is unclear, but they're prominent on Mayer's Fortune encore Village Of Love, especially the bass singer, who kicks off the intro. Mayer sounds as though he's shredding his larynx, the guitar solo is barely miked, and the whole thing is bathed in otherworldly echo. No wonder it took off, backed by another soul/doo-wop hybrid, I Want A Woman (the guitar solo on that side stopped just shy of anarchy). United Artists acquired national rights from Fortune, and Village Of Love charged up the charts to #16 R&B and #22 pop in the spring of 1962.

Fortune kept a steady flow of Mayer releases in the pipeline, though UA proved unable to push the stomping Leave Me Alone onto the national hit parade. Fortune was left to market Nathaniel's Yuletide present Mr. Santa Claus itself at year's end; ditto his '63 offerings Work It Out (a dance sizzler set to the melody of Village Of Love), an exotic I Had A Dream, and the inevitable Going Back To The Village Of Love. Fortune issued a Mayer LP named after his hit. By the time of his '66 swan song, a marvelously titled I Want Love And Affection (Not The House Of Correction), Nathaniel was strutting in James Brown's funky footsteps.

Then Mayer largely disappeared into the bowels of the Detroit ghetto for close to four decades. When he triumphantly resurfaced in 2002, his youthful high-pitched delivery had coarsened into a guttural croak still loaded with soul. Mayer made fresh albums for Fat Possum and Alive before dying November 1, 2008 in Detroit.

Various - Street Corner Symphonies Vol.14, 1962 The Complete Story Of Doo Wop

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