DeVaughn was a salaried government employee as a drafting technician, and a part-time singer. He wrote a song called "A Cadillac Don"t Come Easy", which was eventually re-written to become "Be Thankful for What You Got", in 1972. He spent $900 towards getting it recorded with Omega Sound, a Philadelphia production house.
Studio owner and chief engineer Joe Tarsia recorded and mixed the track.
John Davis played keyboards on the track. Frank Fioravanti, the executive producer and co-ordinator, secured the song"s release on Roxbury Records, a subsidiary of Chelsea Records, run by industry veteran Wes Farrell.
The record sold nearly two million copies on its release in spring 1974, reaching #1 on the United States Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track saw two chart entries in the United Kingdom, with the record peaking at #31 (1974) and also #44 (1980), in the United Kingdom Singles Chart.
lieutenant was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA on May 31, 1974.
With a sound and content influenced by Curtis Mayfield, its simple and encouraging lyrics hit home, to the extent that it became featured on gospel radio stations. When his success as a recording artist seemed guaranteed, DeVaughn quit his government job. DeVaughn released an album, mainly of songs with a religious character, and its second single, "Blood Is Thicker than Water", reached #10 Rhythm & Blues and #43 popular later in 1974.
"Give the Little Manitoba a Great Big Hand" had only minor Rhythm & Blues chart success early the following year.
Live, DeVaughn preached to and admonished his audience from the stage. He lost interest in the music industry not long afterwards, working in a record store and again as a draftsman.
Fioravanti gave DeVaughn"s 1980 effort, named after a new song by DeVaughn, Figures Can"t Calculate to Training and Enterprise Council Records in Philadelphia. The title song climbed to #37 in the Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart and a remake of "Be Thankful for What You Got" was also included on the album.
Soon after, DeVaughn recorded a Fioravanti tune, "Creme de Creme", released in Europe on the Red Business label and on Excaliber in the United Kingdom. In 2004, DeVaughn released a new single, "I Came Back", on his own Mighty Two Diamond Records.
In 2014, two previously unreleased tracks, "Staying Power" and "Love Ballad of the Year", were included in the Sound Gems Records oldies compilation Lost Soul Gems. They were written by Fioravanti and others