There was no-one else that you wanted to see
But now that you've gone all I do is cry
Once I was the apple of your eye
Because I fell in love too late
There's no correcting my mistake
Time wasn't on my side, hey baby
Because I fell in love too late
There's no correcting my mistake
Now that I'm in love in with you
You say there's nothing that you can do
But my love for you grows each passing day
And girl, oh girl, I've got to find me a way
That special feeling that you had is gone
And like a fool I sit all alone
For the love, for the love that we could have had
Oh girl I know that I need it so bad
Now, when I had you, I just let you slip away from me, baby
Girl, you see, time wasn't on my side
But I feel in love, in love, in love
Can I say, can I say, can I say, that we can start all over again
Too late, too late to apologize, I need you baby right by my side...
[from the lyrics of "Fell In Love Too Late"]
My friends, I've been delaying this post for about two months hoping that I would be able to find a little bit more information about the Exportations, the lovely vocal group from Detroit that is featured today. Unfortunately, I wasn't successful and this time you'll have to enjoy the music with just a few accompanying words...
Let's start from the elusive liner notes written by Clarence "Foody" Rome Jr. of W.C.H.B. Radio 110 AM that appear on the back cover of "Meet the Exportations":
«I've known The Exportations for four years now, but those of you who don't know them let me take time to introduce them to you. The Exportations is a Five member group with three brothers (The Gibson Brothers) Arthur (Rick), Willie (Crick) and Bernard (Bee), also there is Anthony Pilgrim (Amp) and Lucian Thomas (Sonny). Ladies and gentleman you have just met the Exportations and we truly hope you'll enjoy this LP for it is a first, but not the last. Once you have heard this album you'll agree The Exportations sing with close tight harmony and feeling. As you know we could go on and on but I'll let you judge for yourself. While enjoying this album keep these thoughts in mind. Sometimes words can't express feelings but it all comes out in a song. After it's all said and done we couldn't have done it at all without the help of the Lord above.»
Well, at least now we know the name of the five members of the group and we can play a little game: Give every face a name... I bet my luck that the three Gibson brothers are - on the front cover, from the left - the first, the second and the fourth guy, what do you think? It would be way too long to explain how I came up with this conclusion, but I believe that Bernard Gibson is the second guy from the left... Now, seriously, maybe there is someone out there who can match the faces with the names...? Let's get in touch if that is the case, thanks!
According to Jimmy Anderson, who wrote songs for the group and also managed them, all the five members could lead-sing, and Exportations toured nine countries in Europe sometimes during the late'70s or early '80s.
"Meet the Exportations" is the only album that the group recorded. During the '80s it was followed by four singles, most of which are rare - and quite expensive! - nowadays.
Here's the short list:
- "Find Another Day" b/w "I Want You", VIR-RO Records, EXP 1001, 7", 1980
- "Easy Come, Easy Go" b/w "You Did It", VIR-RO Records, VR-001, 7", 1981
- "Party Down (Vocal)" b/w "Party Down (Instrumental)", Birdie Records, BD-1003, 12", 1982
- "Find Another Day (Vocal)" / "Find Another Day (Instrumental)"b/w "Find Another Day (Fresh Mix)", Spectrum X Records, SPX 404, 12", 1986
"Meet the Exportations" original inner sleeve shows United Artists goodies of 1978...
During the mid '80s, the Exportations changed their name to Living Proof and enjoyed a few 12" releases which culminated in their only album (...again...), which was published in 1989 by G.E.M.C. Records; this will be the subject of a future post here on Stereo Candies.
Here's the complete list of Living Proof's output:
- "Hold On To Your Dreams" b/w the same track, Fantasy Records, Fantasy 977, 7" promo, 1986
- "Hold On To Your Dreams" b/w "You Can Make It If You Try", Fantasy Records, D-278, 12", 1986
- "Hold On To Your Dreams" b/w "You Can Make It If You Try", Marquee Records, MQ 100, 12", 1986
- "You're the Apple of My Eye" b/w "You're the Apple of My Eye (Radio Edit)", G.E.M.C. Records, 12-PO18, 12", 1988
- "Where Did I Go Wrong" b/w "Where Did I Go Wrong (Radio Edit)" / "Where Did I Go Wrong (Instrumental)", G.E.M.C. Records, 12-PO29, 12", 1989
- "Living Proof", G.E.M.C. Records, GEM 4002, LP/CD with 8 tracks, 1989
According to this page, during the years Bernard Gibson was also briefly involved with the Five Special and The Floaters; he toured with The Jackson Five and Jeffrey Osborne, and later became a member of the Dennis Edwards Temptations Review for sixteen years.
I truly don't know what happened to the rest of the group; after months of research the Exportations remain almost a black hole for me...
...the warmth of music brights up a cloudy day, sort of...
"Meet the Exportations" contains the following tracks:
01. Strange Sensations (4:14)
02. Fell In Love Too Late (5:31)
03. Kiss Me Love (5:07)
04. Main Ingredient (3:33)
05. You've Been a Long Time Coming (8:19)
06. Music (6:52)
07. Strange Sensations (Instrumental) (4:09)
All tracks were remastered from vinyl in June 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files. Both formats offer complete printable PDF artwork.
Please have a look at the comments for the download links.
"Meet the Exportations" was released sometimes in 1978 by United Artists with cat. number UA-LA872-H. No singles were excerpted from the album, except a promo version of "Strange Sensations" which contains a mono version of the track on Side A and a stereo version on Side B.
I guess that the album wasn't supported or promoted very much by the label and it probably didn't sell well; most of the copies that are available for sale nowadays have a cut corner and we all know what this means...
Side A starts with "Strange Sensations", a track written by producer Clarence W. Rome, Jr.; the song has a nice arrangement and is a fine way to begin an album. The group show off their individual features and it would be interesting to know who's singing what, the falsetto, the tenor, the harmonies, etc.
"I Fell In Love Too Late" is one of my favourite tracks from the album, and the only one whose lyrics I was able to decipher in their entirety. The song was written, once again, by Rome along with bassist Alfred Boyd, Stephen Nathaniel Pettis and Eugene Pettis; the harmonies on this piece are particularly effective and I guess it's no coincidence that the song was recycled on the Living Proof album in 1989.
With the faster "Kiss Me Love", we enter in a more Funky territory. Just like the previous number, this piece was written by Rome with Boyd and the two Pettis. The second half of the song has a long instrumental section and I'd like to give a particular mention to the arrangement which succeed in keeping the track busy without making it overcrowded.
First side closes with "Main Ingredient", another slow song written by the band's manager, Jimmy Anderson, along with Soul singer and songwriter Tyrone Pickens of Tony & Tyrone fame.
Side B starts with the veeery long (...more than eight minutes...) "You've Been a Long Time Coming", another piece written by the Rome / Pettis / Boyd / Pettis team. The song begin with a relaxed intro but soon changes direction to almost reach the Disco dancefloor. The refrain stucks in your head and you can't help to wonder why this song wasn't released as a single...
"Music", written by producer Clarence W. Rome, Jr. alone, is for sure the funkiest track on the album. Its repetitive structure only allows a couple of breaks and includes the usual chit-chat as found in other more famous songs, for example the full version of The Intruders' "I'll Always Love My Mama" or the beginning of Isaac Hayes' "Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)".
The album ends with an instrumental version of "Strange Sensations" which doesn't suffer much from the lack of vocals.
Here's the complete credits and personnel list of "Meet the Exportations" as they appear on the back sleeve:
Arthur "Rick" Gibson
Willie "Crick" Gibson
Bernard "Bee" Gibson
Anthony "Amp" Pilgrim
Lucian "Sonny" Thomas
Dave Davidson: lead and rhythm guitar
Willie Hollis: keyboards, piano and Clavinet
Tony Longgrear: bass
Norman Perry: drums
Butch Lomax: drums
Wendell Spencer: string synthesizer and Clavinet
Jimmy McKee: Clavinet
Dennis Addison: congas
Clarence W. Rome, Jr.: congas and bongos
Art director: Bill Burks
Album design: Earl Klasky and Jeff Lancaster
Photography: Houser D'Orio
Rhythm arrangement by Foverro and Dave Davidson.
Rhythm arrangement on "Strange Sensations" and "Music" by Foverro.
Horns arrangement by Jimmy McKee, Foverro and Harold Jones.
Horns arrangement on "Strange Sensations" by Jimmy Roach.
Mixing and recording engineers: Mike Grace and Mark Calice
Recorded and mixed at The Sound Suite, Detroit, Michigan.
Produced by Clarence (Foody) Rome, Jr., for Foverro Productions.
Special thanks to all the Sound Suite Gang, John, Mike, Karen and Mark, Major Anthony, Jack, Pat and Spencer, Mike Stokes.
God bless Mrs. Lillie Mae Gibson, Mrs. Lenore Pilgrim and Mrs. Kathryn Thomas, our mothers, for their strenght, guidance and prayers.
Right on to Al (Perk) Perkins for his help and encouragement.
Special thanks to Masai Karega Kenyatta (Fred Goree) of W.C.H.B. Radio 1440 AM, Detroit, Michigan, for his very much accepted advice and idea for the song "Main Ingredient".
The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Fell In Love Too Late", "Kiss Me Love", "Main Ingredient" and "You've Been a Long Time Coming"!
More information about the Exportations and Living Proof is available here:
If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!