They have called themselves “The Del Rios”, “Chubby and the Realities”, and “The Turnpikes” but most of the world knows the six brothers originally from Rhode Island — later moving to New Bedford Massachusetts — as simply Tavares. With a rich musical background that started with their dad, who was of Cape Verdean descent, Butch, Chubby, Tiny, Ralph, Pooch, and Victor began a long musical journey that would span over five decades. The Tavares household was always full of music starting with their father Feliciano “Flash” Tavares who was an accomplished guitarist in his own right with a deep background in Cape Verdean and Portuguese musical traditions. So it comes as no surprise that the brothers Tavares would choose music to become their livelihood. Through the 1950’s and 1960’s the band played under various names with seventh brother John joining them in some of the ensembles, as well as drummer Joey Kramer, before leaving in 1971 to become a founding member of Aerosmith. The group played all over New England from Jim Nance’s Lounge in Roxbury to the Blue Flame in Onset to opening for the O’Jays at Basin Street in Boston. The band was paying their dues while quickly earning a reputation as a top notch R&B act inspired by both of the emerging Philadelphia and Motown sounds happening at the time.
Realizing that they needed to move beyond just the New England music scene the group began pursuing record executives in New York City to try and convince a label to give them a record deal. After working Manhattan’s Tin Pan Alley the group finally got an audition and their first record deal with Capitol Records in 1967. The band toured extensively for the album and opened for national acts, but even so sales were low and disappointing for the record. Ralph decided the band needed a well known booking agency to gain exposure nationally and got the group signed with the Bowen agency out of New York. It was just what the group needed and shortly thereafter the agency got them booked to open for Ike and Tina Turner in Boston. The band was getting noticed and on their way to becoming a sought after national act. Timing was also an important component as the music scene at the time was very accepting of the brothers close vocal harmonies and deep R&B roots.
1974 was a breakout year for Tavares as they had three major hits with the “Hard Core Poetry” album; “Too Late”, which reached # 10 on the R&B charts, “Remember What I Told You To Forget“ which got to # 4, and of course “She’s Gone” (written by the Philadelphia based Daryl Hall & John Oates) charting all the way to # 1 and becoming the groups first # 1 hit. 1975’s “In the City” was a huge success as well featuring three hits including the #1 smash “It Only Takes a Minute.” Sky High” released in 1976 was another major success featuring “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” and “Don’t Take Away the Music” hitting the R&B charts at #3 and #15 respectively. The group rounded out the 70’s by contributing the Bee Gees penned “More Than a Woman” to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack earning the brothers a Grammy in 1978. In 2014 Tavares was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame for their many achievements and contributions to the music world. The group continues to tour to this day throughout New England and beyond.
(by Mark Turner)