The Counts | Motor City

The founding members of the band are Mose Davis (organ), Leroy Emanuel (guitar) and Demo Cates (alto sax and vocals). Jam sessions with their neighbors Raoul Keith Mangrum (congas) and Jim White (tenor sax) attracted Andrew Gibson (drums). The band never had a full-time bass player, as Davis handled the bass parts with the help of the organ pedals. Performing mostly instrumentals, the group often backed various local singers, most notably Spider Turner, and featuring Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt recorded the demo that became Turner’s 1968 hit version of “Stand By Me.” The group then hooked up with producer Richard “Popcorn” Wiley and in 1969 recorded the R&B hit “Jan Jan” for Ollie McLaughlin’s Detroit-based Moira Records.

The song was such a big hit in Detroit that Moira’s distributor, Cotillion, urgently released a full-length album, “Jan Jan.” The band removed “Fabulous” from its name for its 1972 self-produced album What’s Up Front That-Counts for Detroit’s Westbound Records. The band then recorded three singles under two pseudonyms for producer Marlin McNichols, first called Lunar Funk (2) and then Bad Smoke. They later recorded two albums for the Atlanta, Georgia-based Aware label, 1973’s Love Sign and 1975’s Funk Pump. Although both albums entered the Billboard R&B charts, the group broke up in 1976.