When it comes to The Contours these days, one has to check the “scorecard” to know which band you’re getting.
Group members Sylvester Potts and Joe Billingslea have each led their own versions of the Motown group — best known for its hit “Do You Love Me?” — since 2004. Potts doesn’t like to go into specifics about the schism, and after a couple of lawsuits that were settled out of court he says that he and Billingslea lead a peaceful co-existence.
“We’re still casual and friendly,” says Potts. “Joe has his group, and I have mine. It wasn’t a bitter breakup; he went his way and I went mine. I really don’t think about him. I think about my group. I don’t wish them any bad luck, and hopefully they don’t wish me any.”
This weekend Potts and his Contours perform, as they often do, with the Temptations Revue featuring Dennis Edwards
— who, in fact, was a member of the Contours before joining the Temptations in 1968.
“Dennis and me are like brothers, and we enjoy being on the same show with each other,” says Potts, who recalls being referred to Edwards by Clarence Paul, Stevie Wonder’s music director.
“(Edwards) was singing at a club, and we went to see him and we liked what we heard,” remembers Potts, who lives on Detroit’s northwest side. “We got him in the group and found out he couldn’t sing, so we taught him. Everything he did with the Tempts, we taught him.
“(The Contours) were on hiatus for a few years, and Dennis told me the Tempts wanted him to sing with them, but he didn’t want to leave us ’cause he felt a loyalty. I said ‘Man, that would be a great opportunity for you ... by all means sing with them.’ Now he has his own group of Temptations.”
Legends of Motown with the Contours featuring Sylvester Potts and the Temptations Revue featuring Dennis Edwards, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $35.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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