R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

VOICES Notes and news on R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax releases

Sweet Soul

07 APR 09 DAVID NATHAN

The upcoming Stax release The Soul Of Hip-Hop includes "Why Marry" by my favorite female group, The Sweet Inspirations. That track, along with a fantastic set of soul cuts, originally appeared on Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia, the group's only Stax album.

Mainstream music folks know The Sweets for their years as backup singers with the late Elvis Presley and, even to this day, original members Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith -- with more recent addition, Portia Griffin -- spend a good deal of time on the road with officially-sanctioned Elvis tributes. Soul buffs know The Sweet Inspirations as the quartet fronted by Whitney Houston's mom, Cissy Houston, who backed dozens of R&B artists and toured with Aretha Franklin in the '60s before making some amazing albums for Atlantic Records from 1967-70.

With Cissy's departure, Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia Shemwell signed to Stax for a brief period. Produced by David Porter and Ronnie Williams (who had also worked together with Stax stalwarts, Soul Children) the album has a loose concept -- the ups and downs of married life -- and tracks like "You Roam When You Don't Get It At Home" and "Wishes And Dishes" are superb. A definite treat if you like your music deep and soulful.

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