Splendour

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Splendour's -- Charles White, Tommy McClarin, Clarence Davis, Aaron Clark, and Bobby Alexander -- long reign in the music business proves you don't have to have a hit record, or even a record period,…
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Splendour's -- Charles White, Tommy McClarin, Clarence Davis, Aaron Clark, and Bobby Alexander -- long reign in the music business proves you don't have to have a hit record, or even a record period, to be viable and make money. The Atlanta, GA, group met the S.O.S. Band's keyboardist Jason Bryant when both groups gigged at a local club in the early '80s and discovered he was producing an album on Eddie Kendricks for Atlanta International Records' Ms. Dixie subsidiary. Mainly a gospel label, Ms. Dixie was the company's secular music division. Splendour was asked to contribute backing vocals, which White jumped at since he always admired Kendricks, who he calls "the King of the Curly Qs," and sang in a similar voice to the ex-Temptations' falsetto. They accompanied Kendricks in fine fashion on "Reasons" and a remake of an old Temptations' tune from the Temptin' Temptations album, "Born To Love You." The album I Got My Eyes on You suffered from poor promotion but was easily Kendricks' best post Motown album. Keeping it real, the group relocated to Richmond, VA, for about a year working for Mike Louman [sic] and living in his big house. Louman was attempting to produce a movie about the Temptations with Splendour playing the Tempts, he even hired a writer from New York to write the script. Nothing came of the movie and Splendour sprung at the chance to go on tour with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks. Both ex-Tempts solo careers had languished so they decided to band together and put on a Temptations show that included the two singing their biggest solo hits on the show as well. The gig lasted from 1983 to 1988 and according to White "was the best times of my life." He describes Ruffin, known for his terrible temper and drug addiction, as fun loving and out going, and Kendricks as extremely quiet. "You could be around Eddie for eight hours and he wouldn't say more than two words," said White; "many were uneasy around him, because you never knew where you stood, but I loved his singing." When they didn't have a gig with Ruffin and Kendricks the group played the Atlanta clubs and once did a show with future Ali Woodson at the 617 Club. As a songwriter, White co-wrote two songs on Ruffin and Kendricks' RCA album "One for the Lonely Hearts Club" and "Goodnight Pillow." In 1988 they got an opportunity to play overseas in Mallorca, Spain. Mallorca is an island off the mainland and is considered Europe's top vacation spot. In Mallorca the group did tribute shows of popular soul groups. The Mallorca gig became too much of a grind for White: "The gig lasted six months each year, you played seven days a week for six months; I loved the country, you got free drinks and everything, and of course, Mallorca's as live as you can get, but I wanted to spend more time in Atlanta."Before the gig ended, White left to raise his daughters, who were born in Spain, in Atlanta, where he had recently bought a house and began exploring the local entertaining scene. He continued to gig with Splendour when their six-months-a-year Mallorca gig ended. The group's booking agent in Germany found them jobs in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany; White would fly over and appear with the group and then return home until the next phone call. After 20 years on the scene, Splendour started the new century without a hitch and without ever having to release one single. White, born February 21, 1953, had been around even longer, having started as a songwriter for Quadran Records when he was a 16-year student at Atlanta's Booker T. Washington High School.