miércoles, 23 de diciembre de 2009

Hodges, James & Smith - The HJ&S Story (1963-1979)

Hodges, James & Smith (HJ&S) was the brainstorm of producer/writer William "Mickey" Stevenson, Motown's A&R Director during their glory years. They were originally known as Hodges, James, Smith & Crawford (former Motown artist Carolyn (Caroline) Crawford) and later became a trio: Pat Hodges, Denita James, and Jessica Smith. The girls were handpicked by Stevenson, though they each took different routes to get there. Denita James, who had previously studied ballet and tap dancing, had a solo single ('I Have Feelings Too' b/w 'Wild Side') on Flip in 1963; Pat Hodges played the clarinet in a local band, then attended college, earning a B.A. in music, and had a solo release ('Playgirl' b/w 'Surprise Party') on Keymen in 1966. As for Smith, she had a gospel background. Stevenson had a great vision for HJ&S and groomed them to play the top, plush clubs. He created a snazzy nightclub act for them that rivaled the Supremes, although HJ&S's sound was more aggressive and a lot more Soul/R&B oriented. Their first single was 'Nobody' b/w 'I'm in Love' on the Mpingo Label. 'Nobody' (previously a hit for Kim Weston on MGM) was updated later for the second of their 20th Century albums in the '70s. The group played the sweet gigs throughout Europe and recorded Incredible on 20th Century Fox in 1973, but the only thing incredible about it was the speed it reached cutout bins at discount record stores. Although a solid album, it just didn't get a decent push. Another 20th Century album, 1975's Power in Your Love, disappeared so fast that most people can't recall its title. The lack of recording success though, didn't douse HJ&S' flame; they continued traveling, doing the plum gigs. In 1976, they signed with London Records. What's on Your Mind received quite a bit of promotion and acclaim that, unfortunately, didn't transform into sales. During 1977, they had a few singles that nested in the nose-bleed section of the charts: the Motownish 'Don't Take Away Your Love' and the six-plus-minute chest-beater 'Since I Fell for You', a song that added sax, strings, and rough-and-tumble soul. Combined with 'I'm Falling in Love' in a medley for its single release, it reached number 24 on the R&B charts in July 1977. A second London album, What Have You Done for Love?, was released in 1978. But even when the girls displayed their best talents on songs like 'Darling I Promise,' 'You Know Who You Are,' Stevie Wonder's 'Seems So Long,' and Earth, Wind & Fire's 'You Can't Hide Love', the LP met a similar fate. Other artists including Bobby Womack, and Sylvester used HJ&S on sessions, but after a few more years of the same the trio disbanded, never having achieved the success they and Stevenson tried so hard to obtain. I included here their four complete albums on 20th Century Fox and London Records, Denita James' 1963 single, the A-side of Pat Hodges', the second of the two 45s they released with Carolyn Crawford in 1972 as Hodges, James, Smith & Crawford, plus Sylvester's 1979 two-sider 'Stars' b/w 'Body Strong', which features backing vocals by the girls. 44 songs in all! http://www.allmusic.com/

8 comentarios:

Nosi dijo...



pedro dijo...

it's amazing that this sort of talent never make it big great sound thanks nosi

arne dijo...

Very interesting compilation, with a great sound. I've some of the records, but not all of this very good group!!

Thanks to you & a merry Xmas.

Buddy dijo...

Thank you for a great year and all the goodies:)

Merry xmas and have a great 2010!

All the best to you and yours, bdj

troods dijo...

Whew, this is some collection, done in the Nosi style, xtras and everything. Thank you, this is beautiful.

tonythefunkiest dijo...

beautiful compilation but you've omitted to include "Since I fell for you/I'm falling in love"-London-1977-12". Post it, if you can.
Kind regards

Anónimo dijo...

Funny how things change so fast! R&B and soul artist nowadays would never be on a cover with that size. I think it's the super skinny fashion of modernity. Girls even take viagra online pills in order to get thin and don't say this is not also happening in the musical industry.

Deutscher OSX86 BLOG dijo...

thanks a lot