Gino Washington



ImageIn 1962, homegrown Detroit R&B was at its apex. As the music of Nolan Strong, Nathaniel Mayer, the Volumes, the Falcons and a gaggle of early Motown hits filled the airwaves, so did the music of Gino Washington. Gino scored two local back to back hits in "Out Of This World" and "Gino Is A Coward" in 1963 and 1964 while breaking down racial barriers by working the white teen club circuit with a Caucasian backing band, the fire breathing Jeff and the Atlantics. Gino, known in those days as 'Jumpin' Gino', was a mesmerizing live performer who was equal parts James Brown and Wilson Pickett if both of those artists had also decided to sing music that drew equally from the wells of rock'n'roll and R&B. After being drafted in the Army at the peak of his early success, he found his bit of micro-fame being usurped by a British based soul singer named Geno Washington, who released several dance albums while our hero was cooling his heels in the service of Uncle Sam. He returned to recording in 1967, releasing old stockpiled material and new sides on local labels into the 1970s when he hosted his own television variety show on a local Detroit station. A collection of the best of Washington's early sides is available on Norton's Out Of This World, a marvelous souvenir of a time in Detroit rock'n'roll history when the possibilities seemed endless.