The ABC- Dunhill Recording Group
"The Greatest Band Never Heard"

This web page is dedicated to the memory of my good friend, and a wonderful guy to all who knew and loved him.

"Big Dee Ervin"

(Sometimes Spelled Erwin)

A member of the "Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame", who went to meet the Master

but will live on through the great songs he sung, wrote and produced.

Dee Links

Just Go To Google And Type In Either

Big Dee Ervin Or Big Dee Erwin


My name is Earl Foster, In 1974, I was called by my good friend the late Difosco T. Ervin, aka Big Dee Ervin, a staff producer at ABC-Dunhill Records, to play and sing on a track that was actually the fade out of a record that he produced, the fade was jammin' harder than the record.
After I added my touch to the track, Dee named the record, of all things, "Coke" and named the artist
"Tribe", I don't know how he came up with these names, except that Dee was a man with a great sense of humor, and if you knew him, you knew that this move was vintage Dee.
Since all of the leads on the track were done by me, I became
Tribe by default, talk about being in the right place at the right time!
I made Dee promise that if the record did anything, the recording contract was to be mine, and Dee agreed.I continued playing with my group "The Fourth Parallel", cool name huh?, a local L.A. Band and promptly forgot about the record.
About a month later, Dee called me and told me that the record had made the charts, and was climbing fast. But if you know anything about the record business, it's best not to, "
Count Your Chickens", or you might be in for a stay at the Heartbreak Hotel.

You can imagine my shock when a week later I was contacted by Dee, and was told to come in to ABC- Dunhill for a meeting with Otis Smith, who was then, the Vice-President of the R & B division.
Can you believe it, me,
Earl J. Foster Jr., was signed to a recording contract with ABC-Dunhill Records, on the strength of a song I recorded as a lark, the fade out of a song whose name could be a great trivia question, in fact I don't know the name of the original track.

I promptly changed the name of my band from, "The Fourth Parallel", to "Tribe", and we went on to do many concerts, and TV shows, and did quite well, go figure! The original members of Tribe were Bob Apodaca bass, Eddie Romias, Guitar, Benton Miles Little, drums, Donald Eubanks Percussion and Earl J. Foster Jr. Keyboards.
Because of the controversy the name "Coke" caused, the record was renamed, "Smoke", because it rhymed with coke, and although the record was riding the charts, the confusion caused by the name change doomed the record. The group however, went on to record the album "Ethnic Stew" and the album rode the charts led by the hit single "Tribe".

"Cashbox, Record World, Billboard and the Top Ten British Singles Chart"

Hell, we even had the number one record in Todendorf Germany and Washington DC, how's that for diversity?
The group traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East. After a complete personnel change, the Group recorded another two albums, one for ABC-Dunhill Records, called
"Tribal' Bumpin'", and a record called "Dedication"for an Indie Label called Farr Records before finally disbanding. There are a lot of groups out there calling themselves Tribe, but we were the original, the real McCoy, and now, you know:

"The Rest Of The Story"

Tribe Discography:

This is the first edition of the group Tribe that was founded and produced by Big Dee Ervin. The Members from Right to Left are:

Benton Miles Little (Drums & Vocals),

Donald D. Eubanks (Percussion & Vocals),

Earl J. Foster Jr. (Keyboards & Vocals),

Edward H. Romias (Guitar & Vocals),

Robert P. Apodaca (Bass & Vocals)

"Ethnic Stew" ABC-Dunhill ABCX807 

This is the second edition of the group Tribe that was founded and produced by Big Dee Ervin & Earl Foster The Members from Right to Left Top are:

Gelon Lau (Violin & Vocals),

Benton Miles Little (Drums & Vocals),

Edward H. Romias (Guitar & Vocals),

Robert P. Apodaca (Bass & Vocals)

Earl J. Foster Jr. (Keyboards & Vocals),

 "Tribal Bumpin'" ABC-Dunhill ABCD859

This third edition of Tribe was produced by Jardine Clyde Powell, Harold Davis & Earl J. Foster Jr. for P.D.F. Productions.

The Members from Right to Left to Right Are:

Earl J. Foster Jr. (Keyboards & Vocals),

Clyde Jardine Powell (Bass)

Billy Soto (Guitar & Vocals)

Jimmie A. Clapper (Saxaphone)

Benjamin Taylor (Lead Vocals)

Harold Clayton (Lead Vocals)

Harold Davis (Drums)



 "Dedication" Farr Record FL1003This album also featured some of the finest musicians in the world:

David Stout (Trombone & Flute,) David Grover, (Trumpet & Trombone) Greg Philliganes (keyboards) Benjamin Bridges (Guitar) Al Vescovo (Guitar) Harry Hall (Woodwinds) Miroslaw KudyKowski (Guitar) Ray Maldonado, Harry Kim, Bill Lamb (Horns) Marcy Weber, Susaye Green, Shirley Brewer, Scotty Harris (Background Vocals) The Sid Sharp Strings

Coming Soon Tribe IV Featuring The Mighty Voice of

"Joe Leavy"





Earl J. Foster Jr.

Shampén pronounced (Champagne), the former leader of the ABC-Dunhill group Tribe, and now the leader of The Chill, started his music career at the age of 5 years old singing in his mother's church choir. Earl, who is a Taurus, was born in Houston, Texas. But was raised in Los Angeles, California where he attended high school, UCLA and the Eubanks Conservatory of Music and Art.

His first professional experience was musical director of a singing group out of Boston, called The Fabulous Lords. After performing with The Lords, he was hired by the owner of the famous Sugar Shack in Boston Mass as the main house musician and music director for the Shack. While working at the Sugar Shack, he had the privilege of working with the O'Jays dynamite rhythm section backing the group when they worked the club. Many great artists worked the Shack, groups such as, The O'Jay's, The Moments, The Delphonics, Funkadelics, the Temptations The Dells, to name a few.

The Shampén Group Inc., consisting of four separate and distinct companies.
Shampén Productions Int'l. A company that specializes in record production, movie and video soundtrack scoring, jingles and commercials.
MidiCity Sound A full featured state of the art, digital midi pre-production recording studio.
Shampén Artworks A company that specializes in computer design of CD and album covers, posters and art related to record promotion.
Rising Sun Records A newly formed Indie label, with an artist roster of four acts.
Wilton Street Music An Active BMI Publishing company.

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