1 day ago
|From Billboard, Aug. 10, 1968|
|Stax LP # STS-2004 (1968)|
|The Staple Singers, from the back cover of Stax # 2004.|
|From Stax LP # 725, back cover|
|Image courtesy of SoulMusic.com|
I had won a singing competition on the local radio station and the prize was a record. Well, I went down to the record store to select it and whilst I was in there, I was just singing along with the record that was playing — not loud, you know, but just to myself really. Anyway, this guy came up behind me and touched me on the shoulder — actually, he frightened me at the time because I didn't expect it. So he said to me that I had a good voice and that I should do something about it. ... Anyway, the next record that was played in the store was Billy Stewart's Summertime and Willie's friend — who is Clarence Reid — said he'd bet I couldn't sing along with that one. Well, I did! So, we went into a local studio and I put my voice down on a few numbers and Willie got excited about it and went round to see my mother, to ask if he could record me. My mother quite naturally didn't want her 13-year-old daughter involved in it all and she refused at first. After a while, though, she changed her mind and she signed over her agreement and I made my first recordings.Altough still of tender age, Betty was already a pro singer if it is true (which I guess it is) that she started singing at age 2 ... being the youngest of seven children of gospel singer Rosa Akins Braddy-Wright, Betty was, together with her siblings, taught close harmony singing by her mother (who also played guitar on occasion). So, in 1956 prodigy Betty's voice appeared on an album by The Echoes of Joy, their siblings' gospel group (I have never heard this LP nor have seen a trace of it, unfortunately, but for more details see here and here). She then performed as member of this group until the mid-60s, reportedly also appearing together with the Staple Singers. In the Sept. 07, 1959, issue of Billboard there is a short review of Avant # 075 by the »Echoes of Joy« (Didn't It Rain w/ Way Back To God). Betty was later to say, »we used to sing in local churches and halls... and we used to make demo discs of some of the religious songs and we'd sell them when ever we appeared at a local hall. I was actually only three when my mother first got me to sing a little and I stayed within the Echoes until I was about ten, I guess. Then, the group started to split up as people made their own way in life« (from an 1972 interview, read it here). However, the history of the Echoes of Joy is far from clear or well- documented; the group broke up in 1965.
|(Click here for a Japanese cover version!)|
|Label of my copy|
|Atlantic LP # SD 8301|
Success might have eluded them, but milestones are what they left us on all three of these LP's. They bounced around on a different label for each decade (...). In 1971 Jimmie and Vella expanded and deepened their sound with 'Jimmie And Vella' released on Atlantic Records. They turned away from commercial stresses, explored more folky grooves and wrote about social issues and injustice. In 'Lord Abide With Me' they came with a heavy gospel and revolutionary feel. This 'self-titled' LP is a fine crafting and example of 'hippie soul' or 'folk funk'. At times laid back and delicate and at other times empowering, passionate and furious. Just a well rounded work.
|Atlantic LP # SD 8301, gatefold sleeve (inside)|
A1 »The Christian Army« (H.L. Brown), feat. Eddie Mae JacksonYou can hear two songs from this album below. The first song, »The Solid Rock«, takes the lyrics from the known Baptist hymn »My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less (Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness)«, written by Edward Mote (1797-1874). However, the melody deviates from the known hymn, and the song is credited to H.L. Brown. Lead voice is by Betty Neely.
A2 »God Counted The Cost« (H.L. Brown), feat. Henry Lee Brown
A3 »It's Time To Live Holy« (H.L. Brown), feat. Patricia Davis
A4 »The Solid Rock« (H.L. Brown), feat. Betty Neely
A5 »No Condemnation« (H.L. Brown), feat. LaVerne Morris
B1 »What Would You Give« (H.L. Brown)
B2 »I Want To Live So« (M. Wilder), feat. Melvin Wilder & Betty Neely
B3 »I Believe That He Will« (H.L. Brown), feat. Henry Lee Brown
B4 »I've Had My Share« (E. Jackson), prob. feat. Eddie Mae Jackson
B5 »Meeting Tonight« (M. Wilder), feat. Melvin Wilder
|Date LP # TEM 3004 (mono, 1967)|
Herb Fame (...) began singing in his church choir when he was seven, and he remembers sneaking out of the house as a child at night to meet friends on a street corner to practice singing. Then, after his graduation from high school, he took a job in a large record shop in Washington (...). His eagerness to make it as a singer paid off when album producer Dave Kapralik and song- writer and singer Van McCoy visited the record shop. The two auditioned Herb, liked his freshly unique approach and signed him to a contract. He had one record released as a solo performer before being paired with Peaches. The idea to team Peaches and Herb came from Kapralik. "On the way to a record hop," he recalls, "the two began singing together in the back seat of the car to pass the time." Their blending of voices so impressed Kapralik that he decided then and there to build a brand new act ...