The term 'one hit wonder' is usually considered a put down and therefore isn't a description that a group welcomes. Although it's a term that has been assigned to the Volumes, it is far from appropriate. Ask a Northern Soul fan to name the track that was the group's most popular cut and you will get any of four answers but none of them will be the group's only US national hit. Their big hit was actually "I Love You" and it shot up the charts way back in 1962, making them just about the top R&B group in Detroit back then. Commercially, they never equaled those dizzy chart heights again, but they had a long recording career and enjoyed many more top releases that have become anthems with soul fans around the world.
Formed In Detroit back in the days of doo wop (1960), members had gotten together on street corners after school (Central High, Chadsey, etc.) to practice their harmony singing. The group consisted of Eddie Union (lead), Elijah Davis (first tenor), Larry Wright (second tenor), Joe Travillion (baritone), and Ernest Newsom (bass). Willie Ewing became their manager in 1961 and he set up Chex Records. The group hit the floor running, as their first 45 release, "I Love You", quickly entered local charts.
It soon broke out of Detroit and rose to reach the R&B Top 10 and Pop Top 30 in 1962. The group's expert harmony work on the cut hide the make shift nature of the instrumental backing (Detroit legend Popcorn" Wylie beating out the rhythm on a suitcase). Chex issued a second 45, "Come Back Into My Heart", but this failed to repeat the huge success of their first outing (though Lamont Dozier played on this). Chex was only a tiny label with few resources and no means of effectively distributing their releases. When "I Love You" had exploded onto the charts, a deal was done with Jubilee Records for national distribution.
Unable to cope with the workload their success brought, Chex handed over the reins to Jubilee almost entirely for the group's next two releases (in 1963). The group had teamed up with Harry Balk and Duke Browner to work on these sides issued on Jubilee. Recording in New York the songs they cut were written by Maron McKenzie (Harry's staff writer) and produced by Duke Browner.
Further label changes were experienced after Balk and Jubilee had a falling out. So the group's next outing was released on New York based Old Town Records (1964), with a second 45 escaping that same year on the American Arts label. These changes weren't instigated by the group themselves and certainly didn't indicate that they were difficult to work with. The production team behind all of these recordings being Harry Balk and Duke Browner (however they worked almost exclusively with Browner).
American Arts was owned by Lou Guarino, a friend of Harry's based in Pittsburg. In fact, Balk was reorganising his Detroit area business set-up and so he placed a number of his artists (Bobbie Smith, etc) with American Arts during that period. The Volumes had made a seamless transition to cutting soul tracks as Eddie Union adapted his lead vocal style perfectly to suit the new sound. Their opening release on American Arts, "Gotta Give Her Love" was a superlative example of this and the 45 returned them to local radio station charts.
The follow up "I Just Can't Help Myself" escaped in 1965 but that same year, Eddie Union left the group to ensure his family was provided with a more steady income.