Carlis "Sonny" Munro was brought up in the doo-wop traditions of Detroit making early recordings with the Ramblers and the Fabulous Playboys including the excellent ballad "Forget The Past" for Don Davis' tiny Daco label. This was leased to Apollo who also put out the even better R & B slowie Tears Tears Tears" on which a young Sonny wailed like banshee, with some exhilarating falsetto bursts.
In 1962 the group then became the second incarnation of the Falcons after the original group went their separate ways, and recorded several sub-Motown 45 for Lupine and Big Wheel. Among the best of these was “Standing On Guard”, an easy snapping, gently swaying song with a tuneful hook and some of the best harmonies the group ever laid down. This was a massive local seller, breaking into the national top 30 R & B charts in the autumn of 1966. The tuneful ballad “In Time For The Blues” made a welcome change from the dancers that dominated Detroit music in the 60s.
When the group broke up Sonny went solo for Johnny Powers who leased four sides to Epic of which (Tears) Will Only Make The Problem Wet was the outstanding cut. Paul Riser's lovely arrangement was matched by Sonny's most committed vocal performance for years. On the reverse was a whole hearted version of Darrell Banks' anthemic "Open The Door To Your Heart". Sadly neither of these 45s dented the charts but Sonny soldiered on recording his only LP for Westbound at the end of the 70s, but the disco dominated "I Was Made For Love" got lost in a crowded marketplace - and in truth doesn't have a lot to recommend it to a real soul fan.
Sadly Sonny Munro passed on quite recently.
UPDATE ~ Olof Lundgren has written with some interesting info - "Surely it's the Fabulous Playboys version of the Falcons that is singing on the live Apollo Saturday Night album? The more I've listened to them the more I seem to recognize Sonny's voice rather than Pickett's." He may well be right - can anybody else confirm? I'm grateful to Olof for this great spot.
NEW UPDATE ~ Davie Gordon writes to confirm Olof's views - "I'd agree tht its the Fabulous Playboys lineup of the Falcons on the "Apollo Saturday Night" lp. The album was recorded on the night of Nov 16, 1963 - the original group had long since dsipersed by that time, Pickett's third Double L single was released about the time the album was recorded. There's a Falcons outtake from the Apollo album - a live version of "Fine Fine Girl" so I'd say there's no doubt about which version of the Falcons is on the album." I'm grateful to Davie for this confirmation.
The heaven and earth / Don't you know ~ FEDERAL 12286 (1956)
THE FABULOUS PLAYBOYS
I fooled you / Sweet pea and the broncbuster ~ CONTOUR 004 (1959)
Nervous / Forget the past ~ DACO 1001 / APOLLO 758 (1961)
Tears tears tears / Honky tonk woman ~ APOLLO 760 (1961)
Fine fine girl / Oh Baby ~ ATLANTIC 2207 (1963)
Lonely nights / Has it happened to you ~ LUPINE 124 (1964)
I'm a fool I must love you / Love love love ~ BIG WHEEL 321/2 (1966)
Standing on guard / I can't help it ~ BIG WHEEL 323/4 / 1967 (1966)
Love look in her eyes / In time for the blues ~ BIG WHEEL 331/2 / 1971(1967)
Good good feeling / Love like you've never been loved ~ BIG WHEEL 333/4 / 1972(1967)
Buy now pay later / Just can't wait ~ MOIRA 102
I'm never gonna hurt again / We've got to tighten up ~ EPIC 50098 (1975)
(Tears) can only make the problem wet / Open the door to your heart ~ 50174 (1975)
I was made for love ~ WESTBOUND 6106 (1978)
Note ~ All the Big Wheel Falcon's cuts can be found on the Soul Junction CD "Good Good Feelings". This CD also includes several unissued cuts from Sonny's time with Epic - "Haapiest days of my life", "On the other side of pride", "Don't leave me alone", "Why do I let you do the things you do", "I'm tired of being your plaything", "Your love is dy-no-mite", "Finished product".