Sunday, July 17, 2011

No Loving Lost

This blog is goin' into summer break. But I will cheer you off with another gospel delight. It comes, once again, from the Loving Sisters. I already told you something about this family-gospel-outfit from Arkansas; you may read it here. And apart from presenting their 1974 album »The Loving Sisters and Their Sons«, I also made you familiar, if was needed, with their preceding LP from 1973, entitled »A New Dimen- sion«. Check it out here.

ABC Peacock LP # PL-59220 (1975) »A New Day«
For today, we move on to 1975 and to another fine album by the Loving Sis- ters. It is aptly called »A New Day«, after »The Sounds Of A New Era« (1973) and »A New Dimen- sion« (1973). I attribute it to Gladys McFadden, driving force behind the Loving Sisters, that the LPs of this group were so heavily charged with novelty terms, new eras, new dimensions, and new days. Does this express the pride of McFadden and her sisters that they were able, for a number of years, to pour out albums of the highest quality? And add to this the remarkable fact that most of the songs they recorded were not cover versions, but original songs penned by Gladys McFadden herself, with occasional contributions by other members of the group.

Ah well, Bil Carpenter surely has a point when, in his entry on the Loving Sisters, he finds much to praise their art: »... they recorded gospel music that was ahead of its time. ... The half dozen or so albums they recorded during the period (i.e. in the '70s) are some of the best, virtually forgotten, examples of contemporary gospel music.« (Uncloudy Days, page 258). I heartily agree. And what is more, Carpenter singled out the LP »A New Day« as the one recommended recording of the Loving Sisters, and let me quote in full what he has to say about it:
»It's long out of print, but A New Day (ABC-Peacock Records, 1975) is as fine an example of '70s contemporary gospel as one will find. From the biting funk and social commentary of "People Getting Married" to the country church steel guitar of "Old Home Town" to the laid-back, intoxicating horn lines of the ballad "We Are One," it is a warm, enjoyable listening experience.« (Uncloudy Days, p. 258).
But, I'd like to add, the entire album makes for an enjoyable listening experience, and though it happens only rarely that a LP comes without filler or less accomplished tracks, it surely is the case here. Apart from the tunes mentioned by Carpenter - and he missed to say that "Old Home Town" is not only a very countryish song but autobiographical -, we have on this LP »He'll Answer Prayer« (a frenzied, fast-paced gospel boogie) and several others, ranging from ballad (»Find My Dream«) to soul gospel (»I Believe«, »I Have Found The Way«). However, the two songs I want to offer unto your graciously inclined ears are the first tracks of the album: »A New Day« and »Slowly But Surely«. They were both composed by Gladys McFadden, the first up- tempo, the second midtempo and, interestingly enough, again with a strong auto- biographical undercurrent. Before you listen to these beautiful tunes let me conclude by saying that »Love Act«, officially billed on the LP, was the instrumental group composed by the sons of the Loving Sisters, including McFadden's son Leonard Givens. And now we clear the stage for Gladys's potent contralto voice, the vocals of her sisters and the driving sounds of their sons' instrumental backing:

Loving Sisters And Love Act: »A New Day« / »Slowly But Surely« from the ABC-Peacock LP # PL-59220 (1975):

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pat Your Foot

Today, we are just in for some easy listening, R&B style. I thought it a good idea, for this mid-july Friday, to present Brother Jack McDuff's first Atlantic album. It was released in July 1966 and recorded the previous May in New York.

News that he had switched from Prestige to Atlantic reached the informed public in the first week of May (when actually the Atlantic LP had already been taped). »Organist Jack McDuff has been tagged by Atlantic Records. McDuff comes to Atlantic after building a solid reputation on the Prestige label as one of the country's top jazz organists« said the brief notice in the Billboard issue of May 7, 1966 (p. 56). And everything was »top« for him in the following months, as the tune »A Change Is Gonna Come« (Atlantic # 5069, on the B-side »Down In The Valley«) reached the attention of many music lovers - it sold 15.000 copies in Chicago alone -, but it was his album of the same title that was to prove truly successful: It entered the Top Selling R&B LPs chart in August, peaked at # 10 in September and remained on the charts right up to the end of '66. After the effort of the Supremes, some months before in late '65, this was the second time that Sam Cooke's signature song was to win popularity for another artist.
     I always marveled at the cover of McDuff's LP - and the courage of Atlantic to put it out in this manner. Even to the most unsuspicious the cover must recall the visual imagery of Communist regimes of the day, notably that of North Vietnam. We see McDuff in buttoned collar and olive drab, faintly reminiscent of the uniforms, civil as well as military, which were so often seen on the photographs that went with the headlines reporting the latest successes of the Vietcong to the incredulous public in the U.S. And not content with that the artist appears in front of a red sun whose rays beam out and announce that a change is gonna come. Joseph McCarthy was nine years dead when this album cover appeared in the record stores. I guess that he had some postmortal convulsions when his restless soul drifted through the streets of a major city and found herself presented with that provocative cover. Not to mention the aggravating fact that this heretical crypto-communism could be laid at the door of a black musician.
     Atlantic had no such qualms, it seems. They merely were happy to have McDuff on their roster, and the sleeve notes on the back cover of the LP, written by Bob Rolontz, are nothing short of rapturous: The excitement and the emotion that per- vade his playing have won him enthusiastic acclaim and the title of America's No. 1 soul organist. ... This new album, McDuff's first for Atlantic, breaks new ground for the organist. It ... contains a greater variety of material than he has ever recorded previously. ... On every tune he comes through with soulful, moving performances in the genuine down home blues vein. And there is even a hint as to what McDuff's message was - after all, every buyer of this LP might justfiably have held great expectations in this regard, given the programmatic cover image and the no less programmatic title promising upcoming change. But McDuff damped any such highflying expectations, for he is quoted in the sleeve notes with the words: »We don't have any message with our music, except pat your foot and go on with what you're doing.«

So resign yourself to McDuff's quietist stance in things politic and pat your foot. Try tap it to a »Ho - Ho - Ho Chi Minh« beat if you still insist on some political message. You can also hum along. It works beautifully with the first song you can listen to in the following, »Down In The Valley«. I tried that out. The second tune, »What I'd Say«, works fine as well if you modify your chant slightly to »Ho-Ho-Ho / Ho Chi Minh«. Brethren of the earth, raise your fists and pat, tap or hum happily along! If Brother Jack didn't provide us with a message apart from having us move a bit, we've got to do that for him. Here you go:

Brother Jack McDuff: »Down In The Valley« / »What I'd Say« from the Atlantic LP # SD 1463 (1966):

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Second Sweet Inspiration

Before the Inspirations, Part I

You all know the Jackson family, LaToya, the late Michael, Jermaine and all the others, including the earringed patriarch Joseph »Joe« Jackson and arguably the last one of the family to walk around with the face God has given him. One of the most influential families in the music business ever, no doubt about it. But how many of you remember the Drinkard family? Doesn't ring a bell? Maybe the bell starts ringing if I add that part of that family goes by the name of »Houston«, another by that of »Warrick«. The latter was, in 1962, mis-printed on a Scepter label as »Warwick«. »I wanted to pull the record to have the spelling corrected but was promised that the correction would be made on the second pressing. Apparently, that never happened. I remained a wick instead of a rick« says Dionne Warwick in her recently published autobiography My Life, As I See It (New York 2010, p. 22).
     With »Houston« and »Warwick« I'm sure several bells started ringin'. And well they should. The Drinkard-Houston-Warwick family cluster, with all appandages to it and further ramifications, may justly be considered more important than the Jack- son clan; they certainly are longer around in the business. (Don't forget also that opera singer Leontyne Price is a cousin of Dionne Warwick and that Sarah Vaughan grew up with her mother!) But, you ask, what has this to do with the Sweet Inspirat- ions? A whole lot, starting with the simple fact that Emily »Cissy« Drinkard Houston (the mother of Whitney Houston) was part of the group until the late autumn of '69. This is the obvious bit. Less obvious and generally less known is the fact that the Sweet Inspirations evolved out of two or three gospel outfits that had common roots and shared many of their members.
* * *
First and foremost, the Drinkard Singers. On the left photo (publ. in JET-Magazine in the June 15, 1998, issue p. 58) you can see all the members of the group as of ca. 1957 (left to right): Emily »Cissy« Drinkard, Lee Drinkard Warrick, Marie »Rebie« Drinkard Epps, Larry Drinkard, Anne »Annie« Drinkard Moss and Judy Guions (aka Judy Clay), on the piano Nicholas »Nick« Drinkard. They all were brothers and sisters with the exception of Judy Guions who had been adopted (not officially, though) by Lee Warrick.
     In the beginning, the group was formed in the late 1930s when the family was still living in Savannah, Georgia. They later moved to East Orange, N.J., and it was there that their fame spread. Several family members remember East Orange as a very cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic place devoid of racial tensions. Today, the town has almost 90% Black or Afro-American population (making this one of the highest per- centages in the entire U.S.), and in 2008 Obama's Democrats reaped 98% (!!) of all votes cast. In 1951, the Drinkard Singers performed in the legendary Carnegie Hall and backed gospel greats of the day, Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, but also Clara Ward. Then, in 1954, they recorded some tunes to appear on a Savoy LP, and in 1956 they had a single out, again on Savoy.

Verve LP # V-8245 (1959)
Yet they hit it big in July 1957 when they were invited to appear at the Newport Jazz Festival, sharing the stage with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and countless other renowned musicians. Verve Records, aptly headed as well as managed by Norman Granz, taped the entire festival, and the stage show of the Drinkard Singers, on the afternoon of July 7, 1957, was released, in December 1957 as the A-side of Verve LP # MG V-8245 (Gospel Singing At Newport). Meanwhile, and aided by appear- ances on local TV stations in nearby Newark, the Drinkard Singers came to the attention of RCA. Thus another LP was recorded, in April 1958, entitled A Joyful Noise (RCA Victor LPM-1852) and actually their first fully-fledged studio album.

During their performance at Newport several members of the group had solo spots or leading parts, Marie Epps, Ann(e) Moss and Judy Guions. The only member of the later Sweet Inspirations to have participated in Newport was Cissy Houston, 23 years old at the time, but unfortunately the Verve LP as released contains no song where she does the lead singing (according to Hayes / Laughton's Gospel Discography, the song »My Rock« with lead vocals by Emily »Cissy« Drinkard was recorded but remained unissued). So, the obvious choice for this blog is to make you listen to the song which features Judy Guions as lead singer. She was later not a member of the Sweet Inspirations but still had close ties to them because Judy's sister, Sylvia Shemwell, was. As for Judy, she became a moderately successful soul singer in her own right, billed from 1961 onwards as »Judy Clay«. She recorded for Ember, Scepter, Stax and Atlantic, and many dozens of her unissued recordings have been made accessible on CD. Her greatest success came when she teamed up with white soul singer Billy Vera, together being the first racially integrated duo ever to appear nationwide in the U.S. (or rather, not always to appear as they would have liked to because several TV stations below the Mason-Dixon line wouldn't present a black & white duo on their screens ... as late as 1967!).
     In the beautiful 6-minute-plus rendering of »That's Enough« you can hear Judy Guions Clay (clearly) and Emily »Cissy« Drinkard (Houston) (less clearly because part of the choir, but she probably did the high soprano parts you can hear in the song). Apart from being a performance worth listening to, it is an important document for anybody interested in the »gospel roots« of singers who in the '60s left their mark on the secular soul scene. The introduction at the beginning is spoken by Joe Bostic, a famous gospel DJ of the day (read about him here and here). He had brought the Drinkard Singers to Carnegie Hall back in 1951 and for some years managed them; he then announced them at the Newport Festival on July 7, 1957:

The Drinkard Singers (feat. Judy Guions): »That's Enough« from the Verve LP # V-8245 (1957):

Note: For a while I thought (and had written so in the text above) that the Verve LP # 8245 was only released in 1959; several discographies (printed and on the web) do state this. However, a look into the contemporary music press (especially the issues of Billboard) clearly confirm that the album was released already in December 1957.

To be continued ...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

»Been To Church Lately?«

Remember Al Bundy's motto »Sunday Funday«? Well, I can't say that of today, unfortunately. Sky's grey, climate's goin' wild and my nose's runnin'. So what about today's post? I try to make the best of it.

United Artists LP # UA-LA203-G (1974)
I'd like to speak about an album that left me puzzled. Its title is »The Gospel According to Ike And Tina«. What Gospel could that possibly be? one might ask. Somebody on the net put it thus: »Tina Turner singing Gospel music?!!!« Very tricky question, this one. A tentative answer must come in two parts.
     First: We cannot judge the religious senti- ment of individuals. On the face of it, Ike (son of a Baptist minister) certainly didn't come across as a model believer, and looking at how he behaved towards others (and towards Tina in particular) must leave us sceptical of whether he had understood even the most basic precepts of Christian teaching. However, it might be objected that he was too weak a person to live a righteous life, and it has been correctly remarked that God doesn't love sin but he still loves the sinner. So be it, and let's leave it that for Ike is no longer among us. Judgment is pending.
     And Tina? She's a hard one, too. As a child she grew up in a Baptist and Pente- costal context. The services of the latter she found »more exciting«, but she didn't really connect to the worship. »I knew I could never be part of that religion« she said. »But for a little girl, those sanctified services were something to see« (quoted in her autobiography I, Tina, p. 17). She was impressed by the music and dancing that was going on, yet later in life she also said that she was really singing »Baptist and blues«. During her '60s career, there were little, if any, signs of outward affil- iation to any church. And as she was more and more criticized for her too blatantly sexy and provocative stage appearance towards the end of the decade acceptance of her person in church circles was nil. Her private life was always troubled, though, and Tina was later to state: »I had always held on to the Bible and the things I'd learned as a little girl ... And I prayed every night, you can believe that« (I, Tina, p. 171). Then, famously, she got introduced to Nichiren Buddhism, and although it is impossible to say exactly when it must have happened sometime around the time Ike & Tina recorded their gospel-album (in October-November 1973), possibly even before that. Officially (or semi-officially) she's been counted a Buddhist since 1975.
     And another point worth considering: Does it need religious convictions to sing gospel? Or even to like gospel as music? Is it something intrinsically Christian, closed to other religious approaches, or to non-religious-minded people for that matter? Another tricky question that will get many answers according to whom you ask. I leave it open but would, in any case, not favor any answer that starts with a categorical yes or no. However, leaving this question open leads us conveniently on to the second part.
* * *
Second: In 1974, the boom of everything that could be labeled »soul-gospel« or even »pop-gospel« was at its very height. Myriads of acts, from both the gospel and secular fields, ventured into this realm, and a large group of former »secular« soul singers, having lost both the public and most of the independent record companies in the early '70s, went gospel. In token that this development did not pass unnoticed by the music industry, the Grammy Academy was handing out awards in the category »Best Soul Gospel Performance« since 1969 (Ike & Tina's 1974 album was shortlisted for this Award but didn't win it), and Billboard adopted the category »Soul Gospel« in autumn 1973. Aretha Franklin's return to Gospel in 1972 was of momentous importance, and many others, not the least among them the Staple Singers and Andrae Crouch, had prepared this trend. Nina Simone, who was, I believe, sincere to the bone and never did something with the exclusive aim of pleasing either the public or her label, released »The Gospel According To Nina Simone« (Stroud LP # 1006) in 1973. Then, when the soul gospel train was rollin', Ike & Tina jumped on it, a little belatedly, in 1974.
     This, at least, is the less sympathetic interpretation of why they recorded a gospel album. Given that during these years they struggled hard but (with the exception of »Nutbush City Limits«) mostly in vain to put their name back on the charts it seemed a good idea to switch to soul gospel for a change. In a kinder mood, however, we could equally conclude that at this point in their checkered career the duo was ripe for gospel. Tina certainly was, in a sense. After all, I am still puzzled of what lies behind that album, really.

* * *
Let's talk about the LP and the music. The album was hyped by United Artists with a fullpage-ad in Billboard (May 25, 1974). The accompanying text does suggest that Ike & Tina were playing around with some gospel tunes in the studio, then realized how »uplifting and exciting« it was and finally went about producing this album. Well, I'm not convinced. And much of my credulity is shattered by what we find at the bottom of the ad: »Been to church lately?« What a stupid slogan: Congrats to the promotion & sales guy at UA for having come up with this! Certainly he hadn't, lately.
     Then let's have a look at what the Billboard critic had to say about this album:
»... this gospel LP is a strong and successful attempt to bring the commercial world of soul music to the church. Not the church to soul music as is usually the case. The weakest point in the LP is Ike's vocalizings. Otherwise the pro- duct makes lots of sense for all the energy and urgency of the Turner's music is aptly put to use on this their first LP of gospel tunes. There is enough church choir sounds behind the instruments ot take us all on a religious trip.« (April 27, 1974, page 53).
This critic must have been a close relative of the UA sales manager. Apart from that I don't get the point fully of what he meant by bringing soul to church and not vice versa, he felt enough uplifted by what he had heard to get the swoop of a religious trip. That it had little to do with traditional religion, however, was not lost on him as becomes clear from his final advice for record dealers: »This is commercial, not pure gospel, so it can be stocked with the Turner's other soul products.« What sort of reasoning is this? It seems that the reviewer was, after all, aware that this wasn't a LP a record dealer would like to put under the eyes of the gospel buying public. And what does it tell us about the reviewer's religious trip? Was it to be a »commercial« one, not »pure gospel«? Ike could have given him some useful advice for that!

* * *
As to the music, yes, Ike's singing is pitiful. He just hadn't a voice for it and should probably never have attempted it. Of his three songs, »Father Alone« (the opening song) stands out as the most miserable performance, as he clumsily talks his deep voice through to the final bar. Two songs, »Amazing Grace« and »When The Saints Go Marching In«, are duets of Ike & Tina. The remaining five songs featuring Tina (& the Ikettes) alone are much better, as Tina never did something really bad. However, to me she sounds very professional and it's not easy to tell how much she was into it. On the stylistic side, the entire LP repeats the by then well-known formula of heavily synthesized uptempo funkrock as we know it from Ike & Tina's preceding LPs »Let Me Touch Your Mind« and »Nutbush City Limits«. To be truthful, I have become somewhat bored of that sound which, with too sparse variation, tends to become easily tedious (what might be called the James-Brown-effect ... no offense!). It bores me, up to a point, throughout the entire album. And historical hindsight helps us to see that Ike & Tina were near the end of their common way. They did not, as is known, part on musical grounds. It finished in 1976 when Tina, with blood on her clothes and sunglasses to cover her swollen eyes, presented herself at the reception of the Dallas Ramada Inn and pleaded for a room, although she hadn't any money to pay for it. But it did also finish because, musically, they were stuck. Blame for this most often went to Ike who wasn't a 100% gifted composer anyway and towards '74 finally run out of his creative wits.
     Solid cuts on this gospel album, featuring Tina, are »Walk With Me Lord«, »Nearer The Cross« and »Our Lord Will Make A Way«. You can hear them in the following. My personal favorite is »Our Lord Will Make A Way«, the very epitome of a synthesized-funk-soul-gospel tune, Turner style. Happy Funday!

Ike & Tina Turner and feat. The Ikettes: »Nearer The Cross« / »Our Lord Will Make A Way«
from the United Artists LP »The Gospel According To Ike And Tina« (1974):

Friday, July 08, 2011

The First Sweet Inspiration

»I think they're fantastic«

Of all the female vocal groups of the '60s and the beginning of the following decade we know the most about the Sweet Inspirations, with the arguable exception of the Supremes. There are reasons for this: The Supremes aroused continuous interest by the personal conflicts within the group and the very peculiar character of Diane Ross (known as such to the birth register and to the outside world as »Diana«). The lasting fame of the Sweet Inspirations is due to Elvis Presley, who at the beginning of his down-winding career decided to hire the group as backing vocals for his live shows. They were to stay with him for eight long years, from 1969 to 1977.
     Since the claim that Diana Ross is a talented singer would be hard to defend before any court, there is little injustice in that the Supremes became mainly known for the quarrels among their members. Taken out Florence Ballard, it would have been difficult to achieve the same notoriety by purely musical means. But let's forget about the Supremes. In the case of the Sweet Inspirations, there is injustice indeed in that their global fame was cemented by Elvis. After all, they did their best work, and actually almost all their known recordings, before they ever met him. And when Cissy Drinkard Houston left the group after the first series of concerts in Las Vegas in '69, the true story of the Sweet Inspirations was already at its end. The three remaining Inspirations mainly worked for Elvis, did some background singing in recording sessions and relased but one LP in seven years (Stax 3017, 1973). They never again could escape the shadow of Elvis and after his death toured with impersonators. Such was the weight of TCB.

From left to right: Cissy Drinkard Houston, Myrna Smith, Sylvia Shemwell, Estelle Brown.
It would be unfair, though, to not acknowledge the fact that Elvis made the Sweet Inspirations known to the wider world. Most people will have heard their name for the first time during one of his concerts or on Elvis records. As a tribute to this fact I put together a track where you can hear Elvis introducing the Sweets. The sound clips are from the following concerts: June 10, 1972, Madison Square Garden (after- noon show) / May 31, 1975, Huntsville, Alabama (matinee show) / June 1, 1975, Huntsville, Alabama (evening show) / Oct. 14, 1976, Chicago Stadium / Oct. 15, 1976, Chicago Stadium / June 19, 1977, Omaha Civic Center:

Elvis introduces The Sweet Inspirations:

In its truest sense, the story of the Sweet Inspirations lasted merely from the spring of '67 to somewhere towards the end of '69. However, by name the group existed before that and after. It will take me several »sweet inspirations« to tell the story. Today, we're just in for the introduction. And some details of the story are rather murky, especially with regard to the early stages. Then there is the fact that hords of Elvis fans throughout the world show unabated interest in the Sweets because they belong to the outer rim of their TCB-universe. Unfortunately, they most often are pretty ignorant of '60 soul and gospel music, and on the myriad of webpages dedicated to Elvis wrong or partly-mistaken information about the Sweets can be found in abundance. We'll come to all that.

Left: Billboard ad (May 20, 1967) showing the Sweet Inspirations and placed in occasion of the release of their debut single on Atlantic, »Why (Am I Treated So Bad)«. Behind from left: Sylvia Shemwell, Cissy Drinkard Houston. Front from left: Myrna Smith, Estelle Brown.

The Sweets recorded their debut single (Atlantic # 2410) in New York on April 25 and 26, 1967. The A-side was to be the Staples' song »Why (Am I Treated So Bad)«, penned by Daddy Roebuck. The Staple Singers in 1966/7 recorded two versions of that song, one (the first) politically charged and released on Epic LP # 26196 in May 1966 (check it out here), the second re-arranged in a pop fashion in spring 1967 and released on Epic # 10158. Originally, the song was a protest song, but the Sweets' version features substantially changed lyrics in comparison with the Staples' version, converting the tune into a love song (I'm all alone ... I'm gonna walk up to my baby's door, ask him why he don't love me no more ... he was wrong, said I was to blame, but I walk on in and love him just the same, though he treats me so bad ...). The beautiful performance of that song by the Sweets is a masterful exercise in close harmony singing. Cissy Houston is doing the lead voice, but apart from some humming there is as good as no lead in this song. As such, the song recalls many of the tunes which the Raelettes were putting out at the same time and, especially, on their later album Tangerine LP 1515 (Ray Charles presents The Raeletts: yesterday ... today ... tomorrow).

And yes, I can't think of a better song that could have started their career, their »first starring record« as Billboard had it in the issue of May 20, 1967 (page 14). It obviously underlines the closely-woven and harmoniously tight »together-sound« which for many since has been the hallmark of the Sweets' vocal artistry. Certainly Jerry Wexler, the grey eminence behind all decisions at Atlantic, and in this function overruling at times commercial prospects by his never-failing instinct for artistic value, had the same feeling. It was he who pushed the career of the Sweets from 1967 to 1969 and saw to it that his most talented contracted singer, Aretha Franklin, was supported by them, notably on such classics as »Chain Of Fools« and »Ain't No Way«. Seen from today's perspective, Atlantic was at the very height of its success when they released the Sweets' »Why (Am I Treated So Bad)«. In June 1967, the following Atlantic sides were on the Hot 100 (and I cannot even list them all): »Respect« (Aretha Franklin), »Sweet Soul Music« (Arthur Conley), »You Can't Stand Alone« (Wilson Pickett), »Plastic Man« (Sonny & Cher) ... and the Sweets' »Why«. Stax (still distributed by Atlantic) contributed »Tramp« (Carla Thomas & Otis Redding), »Hip Hug-Her« (Booker T), »Soul Finger« (The Bar-Kays) and »Soothe Me« (Sam & Dave). Well, what an impressive list! And the Sweet Inspirations were part of it, mind you. Here they are:

The Sweet Inspirations: »Why (Am I Treated So Bad)« from the Atlantic LP # SD 8155 (1967):

* * *
POSTSCRIPT / with a comment added 11/16/2011:
From Richie Unterberger's Liner Notes for the Atlantic LP »The Sweet Inspirations«. Please note, however, that »Why (Am I Treated So Bad)?« is not contained on the 1965 Epic LP Freedom Highway (it only features on a modern CD re-issue by the name of Freedom Highway which does not reproduce the original Epic album):
»The group's career got off to a strong start with the mid-1967 single "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)?" It was about as closely tied to gospel music as any soul single could be in that era, having been recorded by the Staple Singers for their live-in-the-church 1965 LP Freedom Highway. As Houston observed in her  autobiography, "It was a slow, languid blues written by gospel singer Roebuck Staples, of the Staples. It was so funky it sounded like it was recorded down in a Louisiana bayou complete with tasty blues licks, a walking bass and seductive horns." The single made the R&B Top Forty and got up to #57 in the pop charts ...«

To be continued ...