I Found It All in You – The Story of The Trey J’s

Posted: September 7, 2014 in Northern Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Soul
Tags: , , , , ,

Trey J's Sign

The Trey J’s Story.

The Trey J’s were a vocal duo which featured James Binford and Joseph Smith. James Binford originally from Indianapolis, Indiana began singing in various local Doo-Wop and church ensembles from the age of 9. Something he continued to do after enlisting in the Marine Corps as a 17 year old, often performing in Officers clubs where he was stationed. He also ventured out of camp to perform in local clubs, building a solid reputation as a performer. While stationed in Albany, Georgia James was introduced by his then wife to one of her relatives Mr Eddie Harris, the band leader of one of Alanta’s most popular acts, the Eddie Harris Review.   Following his release from the Marine Corps James took a job with International Harvester in his native Indianapolis before being transferred to the Macdonald Douglas Aeronautical Engineering Company in Atlanta. Here he once again hooked up with Eddie Harris working as a backing singer as part of his Review. James later had aspirations of forming his own ensemble so under the guidance of his manager Johnny Glover, James, began to form his own review.

 

In 1968 James and Johnny held an audition for a baritone vocalist through a local radio station. From a 150 hopeful applicant’s a 28year old Detroiter by the name of Joseph Smith was chosen. Joseph who had previously moved to Atlanta some 10 years earlier where he had married his first wife Jacklyn and raised a family of 3 children.

Trey J's Photo

 

Joseph Smith and James Binford

Thus with the addition of Joseph the Trey J’s were born, their name being taken from the Americanisation “Trey” a derivative of the French word for the number three “Tres” and the first initial of James and Joseph and their late manager Johnny Glover’s christian names, hence Three J’s equals the “Trey J’s”.

By the early 1970’s The Trey J’s had become regular performers at Atlanta’s most infamous Black night club ‘The Pink Pussy Cat’. It was while performing at the Pink Pussy Cat that the Trey J’s came into contact with a local record producer by the name of Thomas Fletcher Davis more commonly known as Tee Fletcher. Tee a successful recording artist in his own right with a string of recording for several labels such as Josie, Shurfine, and Tragar had begun his own production company Tee Gem Records.

 

Trey J's - We Got A Thing (Going On) - Tee Gem

The Trey Js – We Got A thing (Going On) – Tee Gem

 

James Binford had previously written the basic lyrics for a songs entitled “We Got A Thing Going On” and one day while at the Pink Pussy Cat with Tee Fletcher accompanying him at the piano he began to recite the lyric’s. Together they composed this and a further song entitled “I Found It All In You” which Tee eventually released on his Tee Gem label (PS-4044).

Trey J's - I Found It All In You - Tee Gem

The Trey Js – I found It All In You – Tee Gem

Although the Trey J’s only ever had the one 45 release, they continued to performed live shows on both the college and Chitlin circuit as the Trey J’s Review. The Trey J’s Review also featured Ray Ransom and Reggie Hargis who later became members of another Atlanta ensemble, known as Brick who enjoyed a successful recording career of their own from the mid 70’s through to the mid 80’s, scoring a number 1 R&B/pop hit in 1976 with the song “Dazz”. The Trey J’s also once featured as part of a tour that included Chicago recording artists, The Chi-lites and Ruby Andrews. (Due to Ruby being a friend of Johnny Glover’s wife).

In 1972 Joseph who by now was married to his second wife Barbara a former pastry chef who he had met while working as a waiter at the Morrison Cafeteria returned home to Detroit. Although he initially tried to find work as a singer he eventually embarked upon a career as a social worker, gaining a masters degree in social studies, his full time occupation until his retirement. Sadly Joseph passed away in 2010 from lung cancer.

In 1974 James Binford entered into the Islamic faith, taking up the name of James Hassen Ameen. He later returned to Indianapolis where he became a promotional booking agent his occupation until his later imprisonment during 1992 although he is reputedly due for parole sometime during late2014.

The Trey J’s “I Found It All In You” is currently enjoying a current reactivation due to it’s dramatic funky edge guitar and horn rifts fitting perfectly into the current funky soul genre. While it’s haunting deep soul ballad flip “We Got A Thing (Going On)” is a must for any real soul collector.

 

TREY.JsSJ526A TREY.JsSJ526B

Words by: David Welding.

Acknowledgements to: James Binford, Carolyn Binford, Barbara Smith and Thomas (Tee) Fletcher.

The above article is an extract from the sleeve notes of the forthcoming Soul Junction CD album “We Got A Sweet Thing Going On” Catalogue number SJCD 5009. This compilation will feature both of the Trey J’s tracks, “I Found It All In You” and We Got A Thing Going On”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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