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R.I.P.: Ron Banks

I just wanted to give a belated acknowledgment to the legendary Ron Banks, founder of the Dramatics singing group, who passed away late last week in a Detroit hospital.

Even after Motown Records left Detroit in 1972 and its trademark "sound" began losing some steam, the Dramatics, who were never signed to Motown but rather to Memphis-based Stax/Volt Records, continued to remind the world of Detroit's centrality to soul and R&B. During the '70s, the Dramatics dropped hits such as "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," "In the Rain," "Toast to the Fool," "Be My Girl" and a luscious remake of "Me and Mrs. Jones." They even got love from the hip-hop generation after a guest appearance on Snoop Dogg's debut album in 1993.

Just as importantly, for local music fans hurt when Motown moved to LA, Banks and the Dramatics were yet another reminder that, while record labels may come and go, this city will always have talent.

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