by Larry Lehna
The Prolifics offer a snapshot of what Motown looked like in its heyday. Unlike most bands today, these guys wear matching suits and embrace the tightly choreographed dance moves that were a trademark of such supergroups as the Temptations and the Four Tops. To see them perform is to take a trip down memory lane for the older fan while for the younger generation it offers a glimpse at the roots of Motown music.
It is another success story for some real Detroit natives. The five of them have known each other since they were kids. That is when they began singing just for the fun of it. When the accolades started pouring in they realized they had enough talent to perform professionally. It was a slow process but they became well known in Detroit music circles. Their playlist consists of almost every Motown hit from the 1960’s and early 70’s. If you close your eyes you can imagine you are listening to the original performers. That is because all five of them can sing lead, depending on the type of voice they need for each song. They are singing the songs of their youth.
There have been some brushes with greatness. Eddie Brown was once asked to try out for the Temptations. He probably would have been selected except for the height requirement. The Temptations wanted all of their members to be about the same height. Rick Littleton once worked with Holland-Dozier-Holland. In 2010 the Prolifics were honored with Best Male Vocal Group at the Detroit Black Music Awards.
This talented bunch has played most of the top venues in the area. You can check their website, theprolifics.com for their schedule. The Prolifics are now the house band on the Detroit Princess; they play about 130 days each year on the reconditioned boat that was once a gambling venue on the Mississippi River. This is their bread and butter and they can’t imagine a better gig. What they really love is the daytime cruises when there are children present. These are not young men, as a matter of fact there are some grandfathers among them, and these gramps just love kids. They are happy to invite children less than twelve years old to come on stage with them. They let the kids dance and even sing if they want. The whole group agrees that these cruises are so much fun they feel guilty getting paid to do it. Of course they would never admit that to the Detroit Princess administrators.
Speaking of not getting paid we should mention their many charity appearances. They are very proud of their work with DTE and the program called THAW, which works to make sure no one goes without heat during our frigid Michigan winters. They also performed for the Knights of Columbus to benefit those with Down’s syndrome, and appeared at the Lake Gala Charity event.
With the cruise season winding down they have been spending more time in the studio. They hope to have their full-length CD of their original music in the stores by January. Feel assured that the new songs will stay true to the Motown sound. The Prolifics have an enviable job. They are singing the music they love and they are making a living with that music. They say that if you can earn money doing something you love you will never work a day in your life and the Prolifics are living that life. Take a cruise with the whole family, even your children will enjoy their time with this group. If you love Motown music it is one of the better bargains in the city.