*When one reflects upon the music of the 1970s and 1980s, which include groups like Shalamar singing “A Night to Remember,” or Chic with “Le Freak” “Everybody Dance,”and “Diana Ross with “I’m Coming Out,” they feel nostalgia for the music of the disco era.
Let’s not forget Rose Royce with “Car Wash” or the melodious sounds of soul singer Teddy Pendergrass’s “Close the Door.”
Who didn’t love to hear Chaka Khan belt out “I’m Every Woman” or love bouncing to the beat of the outrageous Rick James’ song “Give it to me Baby.” I can go on and on talking about performers like Sister Sledge, the Commodores, Marvin Gaye, the Spinners and Taste of Honey or bring up names like Barry White, Donna Summers, Kool and the Gang, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Martha Wash, Earth Wind and Fire, Black Ivory and K.C. and the Sunshine Band, all of them staples of the disco music era.
Included among these performers were a group of 5 brothers who originate from New Bedford, Massachusetts but who can trace their roots to Cape Verde, a small island off the coast of West Africa. The brothers, known as “Tavares” are solid performers consistent in their harmonies and crisp vocalization which garnered hits like “More Than A Woman,” “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel,” “The Love I Never Had,” “It Only Takes A Minute,” “Whodunit, She’s Gone,”and “Check It Out.”
“We started out listening to the folk music of Cape Verde. My father and aunt performed the music of Cape Verde throughout the New Bedford area. Just a few nights ago, the State and City of New Bedford, Massachusetts, awarded the group for our contribution to music,” said Pooch.
The Brothers “Tavares” consisting of Ralph Viera Tavares, (the oldest of the brothers), Arthur Paul (Pooch), Antone Lee (Chubby), Feliciano (Butch) and Perry Lee Tavares (Tiny), prefer to be called by their nicknames Pooch, Chubby, Butch and Tiny. “We have a family who love nicknaming kids. Chubby got the name because he was an 11 pound baby at birth. Once my family puts a nickname on you it sticks. My aunt labeled me Pooch and its been that way ever since. I’m called that so often, sometimes I forget my real name,” stated the fun loving Pooch who never shirks away from a good time or from making good music.
Now a group of 4, “Tavares” will be one of the acts giving Valentine’s Day a jump start as part of the headliners of the “Disco Valentine” celebration at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx at 8:00 p.m., on Saturday, February 13th.
“We have an extensive music background. Before we hit it big, we used to do the Chitlin Circuit working clubs from Buffalo to Boston, New York and even Canada. We had an A&R friend at Capitol Records who knew the record company was looking for a black group since they didn’t have one at that time. Our friend took us there where we became the first black group signed with Capitol Records,” recalled the multi-genre singer.
“Tavares is looking forward to the Disco Valentine Show. We have worked with the Trammps numerous times. They are very good friends as is France Joli.” The Trammps and Joli will join Tavares on the Disco Valentine show, along with Carol Douglas, Randy Jones, the original Village People cowboy, Martha Wash of the Weather Girls, Rochelle Fleming of “First Choice,”and Linda Clifford famous for “If My Friends Can See Me Now.” “We look forward to sharing the stage with these folks and singing one of our staples “More Than A Woman.” People always request that song and I know if we leave that song out of the show, we might get run out of town,” chuckled the hit maker.
“Before joining Capitol Records, we recorded “Check It Out,” a song done by Billy Osbourne who was at one time with the group Friends of Distinction. We covered his song. It was our first single and first hit. It wasn’t a national big chartered hit but it made enough noise for us to become known. Our first #1 hit was “She’s Gone,” and then “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel,” followed as our next hit with other hits to follow.”
Presently on tour, Tavares has performed all over the world. They have performed in England, Holland, Belgium, Germany and throughout the world. “Sometimes, when in England, we do a bus tour to check out the countryside. You can go from one part of Europe to the other in about 6 hours. I like the Netherlands because the people are very warm and friendly. They make you feel like you have never left home. The Europeans know every song we ever made. The first song the Europeans always ask for during our concerts is “Don’t Take Away the Music,” so we find ourselves doing that song in every show we do in Europe.” explained Tavares.
Although, Tavares made hits during the disco era, they consider themselves an R&B group. “R&B is our root. We got put into disco because of that era and the songs that came out that we did. But we are basically an R&B group and always will be. We love to do songs by other artists. We often sing a George Benson’s song called “Turn Our Love Around.” We like to show that other artists had great songs too, so we don’t mind doing them,” continued the enduring singer.
“I personally like the slow romantic songs, so I look forward to singing love songs for the “Disco Valentine” Show at Lehman Center,” claimed Pooch. Fans of Tavares, the Trammps, Carol Douglas, Linda Clifford, Martha Wash, et al., can call the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 and/or go on line at www.LehmanCenter.org.