lunes, 4 de mayo de 2009

Cissy Houston: Midnight Train to Georgia - The Janus Years (1970-75)

A soul singer who is known primarily as Whitney Houston's mother rather than for her own considerable talents, Cissy Houston was born Emily Drinkard and began her career as a member of her family's gospel group, the Drinkards. In the early '60s, she joined forces with a floating group of singers known simply as the Group (including at various points Doris Troy and Dee Dee Warwick) to provide backup vocals on numerous soul, pop, and rock sessions. They contributed to many Atlantic sessions in particular, and Atlantic executive Jerry Wexler signed the act to the label in 1967. Named the Sweet Inspirations, they recorded some excellent gospel-flavored soul in the late '60s, managing a few hits before Houston left to go solo at the end of 1969. She recorded an impressive album for Commonwealth United in 1970, Presenting Cissy Houston, which yielded a couple of small R&B/pop hits: ‘I'll Be There’ and ‘Be My Baby.’ Much in the manner of the Sweet Inspirations, although the material consisted of fairly well-worn soul, rock, and pop tunes, the state-of-the-art arrangements and gospel-ish vocals made them sound fresh. Her contract was sold to Janus Records later in the year, and while she issued a few singles there until the middle of the '70s, she never received the support and promotion she deserved. A case in point was her little-known original version of ‘Midnight Train to Georgia,’ taken to the top of the charts about a year later by Gladys Knight & the Pips. Houston recorded several albums for Private Stock beginning in the late '70s, as well as continuing her regular work on sessions and commercial jingles. This superlative out-of-print compilation gathers almost everything Cissy recorded between 1970 and 1975, including most of her aforementioned 1970 album, ten songs that were previously available only on singles, and a couple that were previously unreleased in the U.S. Highlights include excellent interpretations of two Bacharach-David classics, 'I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself', ‘This Empty Place’ and Tim Hardin's ‘Hang On to a Dream.’ Needless to say, Cissy Houston is one of my all-time favourite singers. Listen to this and you’ll understand why!

Cissy Houston performs her killer disco track 'Think It Over' on Soul Alive, 1978:

Here's a rare gospel treat from Cissy, recorded on VHS tape via TV antenna in the late '80s:

5 comentarios:

Nosi dijo...

And here’s an extra gift for you: Cissy Houston raucous, stomping rendition of ‘Bring Him Back’, her unique Congress single from 1966, which she released as Susie Houston while she was still a member of The Sweet Inspirations. I am sure you’re gonna love it!

paulomi dijo...

The post about Cissy Houston is really interesting. you have given a wide ranging info about the life and career of Cissy, which helped me lot in my research work. Moreover, I found the videos really fascinating where Cissy is looking awesome. Some days before I found a good deal of info about the Soul artists at It's a site with cool info and breaking news about music industry also.

Bill dijo...

This "Soul Classics" series were great!I missed this one so thanks for sharing!

SoulMonkey dijo...

Thanks for the share, and the extra gift!!

Hej Man! dijo...

Thanks, "Be my baby" is an amazing song! She had such a pure and enjoyable voice! Thank You!