During the '60s, Columbia Records was putting out albums of relatively unknown female singers and announced the featured artists as »electrifying« to the buying public. They did it with Aretha Franklin when, in 1962, they released their second album, »The Electrifying« (Columbia LP # CS-8561). And they did it again in October 1965 when they released another LP which, to my greatest dismay and utter surprise, didn't succeed in bringing fame and glory to its protagonist. This LP went by the title »Introducing an Electrifying New Star« ....
|Columbia LP # CS-9185 (1965)|
Rheta Hughes w/ Tennyson Stephens:»The Music That Makes Me Dance« from the Columbia LP # CS-9185 (1965):
This song comes from the musical »Funny Girl«, which was first shown on Broadway in 1964, with Barbra Streisand in the title role. But Rheta Hughes, a perfect singer on her first album, made much more of that song than the Broadway production. And this can well be said of all songs we find on her album. Not one of them is less than stunning, and most are prime examples of the so-called Chicago jazz vocal tradition, which was alternatively also called »Soul-Jazz« or »Bluesy Jazz«. Rheta is accompan- ied by Tennyson Stephens on piano, and both had played together in Rheta's church back in Dallas.
Lost And Lookin'«, a »medium-tempo bluesy number« (that's what the backcover says), then »I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl«. The latter song was announced in Dom Cerulli's sleeve notes with the words: »Hear Rheta blow hot and sexy on the slow blues«!
Rheta Hughes with Tennyson Stephens:»Lost And Lookin'« / »I Want A Little Sugar in My Bowl« from the Columbia LP # CS-9185 (1965):
The songs on Rheta's beautiful album were produced by Ralph Bass who during his career took part in, and helped to bring about, many a memorable recording; he also was around when the Meditation Singers recorded in Chicago for Chess/Checker Records during the late '60s.
* * *Rheta Hughes's Columbia-LP did not prove a commercial success and only by hindsight can be judged an artistic success. Back then, she didn't profit much from it. Around the same time, in the mid-'60s, she started appearing on stage as »Rhetta Hughes« what later became her regular artist name. After 1965 she toured through supper clubs and nightclub venues, together with Tennyson Stephens, but they didn't hit it big. Once in a while her name appeared in the rainbow press, e.g. in May 1965 when she was said to have a romance with Tom Jones whom she had met in Las Vegas. In 1969, she recorded another album for the Tetragrammaton-label. This LP has remained rather obscure to this day, although the song »Light My Fire« became a favorite with soul-aficionados.