Formed 1969 as Black Gems Rare.
The group consisted of:
Debra Givings (singer)
Charles E. Givings (drummer / singer)
Johnny Ross (keyboards / singer)
Jimmy Gough (guitarist / singer)
Darryl Coleman (bassist / singer)
Tony Coleman (percussionist/singer)
Based in Los Angeles, Rare Gems Odyssey were a disco / funk / soul combo that recorded albums from the late '70's, up until the present.
The band were formed in 1969 and were originally known as Black Gems Rare, becoming Rare Gems Odyssey in 1970.
Their first single was called 'Touchdown' / 'It Don't Take Much' on Renfro Records.
rare gems odyssey - 1977 / million dollar disco - 1978
Produced by Arthur G. Wright, their self-titled debut album came out on Casablanca in 1977.
Due to poor initial sales figures, Casablanca dropped Rare Gems Odyssey, however, due to the late Eighties 'rare groove' scene in the U.K., the track 'What Is Funk' , and the album, became highly collectable.
In 1978, the band omitted Odyssey from their name (possibly because they didn't want to be confused with the group Odyssey, who had a major hit with 'Native New Yorker' in 1977) and started performing under the slimmed down identity Rare Gems.
Utilising that name, they recorded their second album, 'Million Dollar Disco', for the small, L.A.-based California Gold label in 1979.
As with the first album, the sales figures were not as anticipated.
Rare Gems left California Gold Records and continued to record and perform.
The band played Las Vegas and other places in the California area.
The group opened for Ray Charles at the Shrine.
Charles Givings then formed his own label, Imagination Records, and started releasing the groups new material.
Rare Gems still tour to this day, with 2001 seeing the release of a 'Greatest Hits' package.
Rare Gems Odyssey (Casablanca Records 1977)
Million Dollar Disco (California Gold Records 1978)
Welcome To Our Party (California Gold Records 1981)
Bouncin' Back (California Gold Records 1987)
Rare Gems For Christmas (California Gold Records 1988)
And The Band Played On - A Tribute To The Temptations (California Gold Records 1998)
Into The Millenium - Rare Gems Sing A Collection Of Their Favourites (California Gold Records 1999)
Rare Gems Greatest Hits (Imagination Records 2001)