Soulful Detroit Archives - January 2007 Whatever Happened to Jessica Cleave of EWF Previous Next

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Florence Thompkins (fjt)
4-Laureate
Username: fjt

Post Number: 162
Registered: 6-2004
Posted From: 12.108.97.218
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 3:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If this subject has been addressed before please excuse my ignorance.

Whatever happened to Jessica Cleave who recorded with Earth, Wind, and Fire on their early stuff? Such a beautiful voice especially on "I'd Rather Have You." Is she still in the business?
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 519
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 71.167.234.253
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 3:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Florence, baby, I've been trying to find out what's going on with Jessica Cleaves for over 3&1/2 years now and it's been killing me every day. She started out in The Friends of Distinction, left for EWF and later wound up in Parliament Funkadelic. The last thing I know she did with them was the Dope Dogs project and then
poof! She was gone again... I've heard sad stories about what happened next but they're only rumours without validation so I won't spread them here. All I can say is she is the reason I joined this site and my all time favorite female vocalist in ANY genre and I hope
she is well wherever she is...Love you, Jess...
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Marc taylor (mellow_q)
5-Doyen
Username: mellow_q

Post Number: 324
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 205.188.116.134
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 3:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've spoken to Harry Elston of the Friends of Distinction (Jessica's first group) on a couple of occasions.

Without getting into detail, let's just say that Jessica's not doing that great.
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Marc taylor (mellow_q)
5-Doyen
Username: mellow_q

Post Number: 325
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 205.188.116.134
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 3:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Splanky,

You and I have probably heard the same stories, but I consider Harry Elston to be a reliable source.
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 521
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 72.89.109.117
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 4:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As would I, Marc. As would I.
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Florence Thompkins (fjt)
4-Laureate
Username: fjt

Post Number: 163
Registered: 6-2004
Posted From: 12.108.97.218
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 4:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Spanky/Mark,

I'm sorry to hear that. She was a great talent.
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Walt B (walt_b)
4-Laureate
Username: walt_b

Post Number: 152
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 67.38.253.18
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 5:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I posted about her with the same question in the past. And yes, I believe we've all heard the same stories. I couldn't agree more when it comes to her talent.
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bee soul (bsoul)
4-Laureate
Username: bsoul

Post Number: 78
Registered: 8-2004
Posted From: 205.188.116.134
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 9:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

so what is the story
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Juicefree20 (juicefree20)
6-Zenith
Username: juicefree20

Post Number: 8365
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 24.47.225.121
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 11:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would simply say that she's not doing very well & leave it like that.

The details of her present situation isn't as important as the sad reality that she isn't doing well. To give details of her circumstances would be somewhat unfair to her & to me, would constitute a violation of a former star, who currently, wants no part of her life to be public knowledge & I can understand why she feels that way.

I'm for affording her the dignity of her unspoken
request & will simply say that she could use our prayers. She's alive & as long as she is, there's a chance that with prayer, maybe one day things things will get better for her.

I certainly hope so.
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Funkateer (funkateer)
1-Arriviste
Username: funkateer

Post Number: 6
Registered: 4-2007
Posted From: 71.202.211.181
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 1:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've posed this question many times to several members of P-Funk past and present and nobody seemed to know of her whereabouts. Jessica was a rare talent, one that is missed in the music world. If I may post this clip of her with The P-Funk Allstars from 1986;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =tf-PVoky1w8
Funkateer
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Florence Thompkins (fjt)
4-Laureate
Username: fjt

Post Number: 164
Registered: 6-2004
Posted From: 12.108.97.218
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 9:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Funkateer for posting the clip. I truly hope that things work out for her.
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Soulful Chris (soulful_chris)
3-Pundit
Username: soulful_chris

Post Number: 69
Registered: 3-2007
Posted From: 70.62.70.144
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 10:25 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It may be better NOT to know, Juice. That sounds sad.

I want to echo everyone's comments. Cleaves' vocals have always been much appreciated by me.

Ditto Florence's comments on her performance on "I'd Rather Have You." Thanks to recent events in my life, that song brought tears to my eyes a month or so ago. What a beautiful song and what a beautiful voice to render it so well. It never fails to touch my heart.....every blamed time.

Love her on Friends of Distinction's "I Really Hope You Do", as well.

Whatever her situation, she's certainly in my prayers.
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 522
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 72.89.120.15
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 10:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think of Jessica almost every day. Thanks, Funkateer for posting the clip,and as much as I love P-Funk I never really thought Jess was allowed to reach her potential within it. I know a solo album for her was planned at one time and several tracks later showed up on GC's Family Series, my favorite being Off The Wall. GC himself has called Jess one of the most beautiful voices he's ever heard and I felt that way about her since I was a very young man. She was EWF's second female vocalist, she replaced Sherry Scott whom she could sound remarkably alike at times. Jess's incredible vocal range and flexibility were best heard on tracks like the above mentioned I'd Rather Have You (which rock critics have panned) and on I Really Hope You Do (with the Friends) as Chris also cited. One of my favorite performances by Jessica is on
FOD's Lady Mae. Her delivery is excellent and her
closing with co-member Barbara Love is just too
much for me to describe. I have it on vinyl, as far as I know it's not available in any other form but Felix Hernandez is a big fan of the song and plays it every so often on his show. I know there are also some people who have rare footage of Jess (w/ EWF) but the #&^$%$*'s haven't made it available as they promised they would a couple of years ago...Ah, anyway I'm glad to know there are other people who have been touched by her gift.
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roger (roger)
6-Zenith
Username: roger

Post Number: 1569
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 217.40.169.129
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 11:03 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello All ..

Wasn't JESSICA CLEAVES also one of the session singers used to form the "Studio Group" RAW SILK .. who had a big dance hit with "Do It To The Music" on West End records in 1982??

Roger
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Juicefree20 (juicefree20)
6-Zenith
Username: juicefree20

Post Number: 8377
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 24.47.225.121
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 11:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Chris

I understand the curiosity about her. There are so many people whom I've been curious about. I've been fortunate enough to get info & in most cases, such as Alicia Myers, the discovery has been great. In others, not as pleasant.

In this case, the news is not as pleasant. As Jessica has been approached & not enthusiastic about being discovered, it would be very disrespectful to her, to put her personal business out here.

It's much better to simply say that things aren't going too well for her these days & spare everyone the sad details. I believe that she deserves at least that much dignity.

Let's just say that she's alive, life's been a bit tough for her & hopefully, by the grace of God, things will improve for her.
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GEETEE(HPK) (geeteehpk)
6-Zenith
Username: geeteehpk

Post Number: 841
Registered: 9-2004
Posted From: 69.209.229.136
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 12:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I didn't know that was Jessica on the SNL clip with George Clinton. (I have that video somewhere in my collection)
I too had heard some stories about Ms. Cleaves,and I wish her the best and keep her in my prayers.
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Soulful Chris (soulful_chris)
4-Laureate
Username: soulful_chris

Post Number: 71
Registered: 3-2007
Posted From: 70.62.70.144
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 12:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You are right. Self-respect is sometimes all we have left.....besides the Good Lord Himself.

She definitely deserves that much, I would think. My best to her.
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Funkateer (funkateer)
2-Debutant
Username: funkateer

Post Number: 12
Registered: 4-2007
Posted From: 71.202.211.181
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 1:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some song highlights of Jessica's voice;

Funkadelic - 'Tales of Kidd Funkadelic'.
Funkadelic - '(not just) Knee Deep'
Funkateer
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kamasu (kamasu)
6-Zenith
Username: kamasu

Post Number: 4473
Registered: 3-2005
Posted From: 75.66.38.199
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 10:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Did Jessica Cleaves sing Crazy Mary with the Friends of Distinction? Man, that's a killer song.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 1324
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 64.33.131.249
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 12:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kamasu:
Yes, Jessica did sing lead on FOD'S "Crazy Mary" as well as the classics "Lady Mae" and "My Mind Is A Camera" from their third RCA album "Real Friends" (which I'm STILL waiting to see on CD).
Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Funkateer (funkateer)
2-Debutant
Username: funkateer

Post Number: 13
Registered: 4-2007
Posted From: 71.202.211.181
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 12:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I love her vocals on that track Kevin.
Funkateer
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 1327
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 64.33.131.249
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 12:35 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree, Funkateer!
Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Funkateer (funkateer)
2-Debutant
Username: funkateer

Post Number: 17
Registered: 4-2007
Posted From: 71.202.211.181
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 2:01 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another clip of the P-Funk Allstars featuring Jessica Cleaves;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =J_B4zNdS9Zs
Funkateer
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EverythingsAlright (uptight)
6-Zenith
Username: uptight

Post Number: 1402
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 76.81.1.55
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 3:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think about her often, too. A few years ago I downloaded a pretty cool track from iTunes, "Eyes of a Dreamer" from George Clinton & Family: A Fifth of Funk - Family Series, Vol. 5.
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 523
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 72.89.109.140
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 6:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

EverythingsAlright, yes that is a cool track. I wore it out on cassette and had to have it on cd.

Kev and kam, I hate to bring this up but I think you've both been misled. I'm almost 100 percent sure it is Barbara Jean Love who sings the lead vocal on Crazy Mary( as she does on Love Or Let Me Be Lonely) with Jess and the guys on the choruses. I used to mistake the leads myself years ago. Both girls had great voices that worked well with each other kinda like Bobbie Smith and Phillippe Wynne Spinners tunes... It's ironic that both Jess and Phil wound up in GC's
organisation. I always wished George would have given Jess her own spot in concert as he did Phillipe at a show I saw down south which I remember to this day. Incidentally, just as British jazz musician Courtney Pine made excellent use of Susaye Green's voice on his Children of The Ghetto and Canadian jazz vocalist
Jeri Brown invited the participation of EWF's original female singer Sherry Scott on her album Firm Roots, I always wished someone outside of P-Funk would have made similar use of Jess...the possibilities...
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Funkateer (funkateer)
2-Debutant
Username: funkateer

Post Number: 18
Registered: 4-2007
Posted From: 207.200.116.139
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 2:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Amen.
Funkateer
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Marc taylor (mellow_q)
5-Doyen
Username: mellow_q

Post Number: 326
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 205.188.116.134
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 4:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Everyone,

Barbara Jean Love was the first original member to leave the Friends. She was replaced by Charlene Gibson who sang lead on "Love or Let Me Be Lonely"
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Walt B (walt_b)
4-Laureate
Username: walt_b

Post Number: 154
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 67.38.253.18
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 11:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Charlene Gibson also sang lead on "Crazy Mary."
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 1331
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 64.33.131.249
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 1:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Had my ex-roomate look up my FOD "Real Friends" album (my collection is still in NYC - sigh!) and yes, it was Charlene who sang lead on Crazy Mary. Jessica handled "My Mind Is A Camera" and shared lead on their version of Bread's "It Don't Matter To Me".

Looks like I better make that roadtrip back to the Apple real soon...

Kevin Goins - KevGo
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 527
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 72.89.111.124
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 8:09 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Okay, I guess I've always been so crazy about Jess that I've confused the voices of the other ladies in FOD. I'm sorry. I dug out my vinyl copies of Real Friends, Friends & People and Whatever and yes, the credits list Charlene as lead on both Crazy Mary and Love Or... It stands to reason Marc T would have the real skinny but I still have a few boggles..From what I know Charlene was originally supposed to be a temporary replacement for Barbara Love who was having a baby yet Charlene is on both Real Friends and Whatever. Does anybody know the exact chronological order of the albums recorded between 1969 and 1972? Crazy Mary supposedly recorded in Dec 68 didn't appear on an album until Real Friends in 70. Also though both Charlene and Barbara are on Whatever in 70 by 71 on Friends & People the only girl featured is Jess..The cd compilation mentions Jess and Barb being replaced by Diane Jackson and Dani McCormick and though I'm sure I've heard them I don't know anything about them. Hey, I gotta admit I was too busy following Jess's voice into EWF...
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Funkyone D.J. Dollar Bil (funkyone)
5-Doyen
Username: funkyone

Post Number: 223
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 209.148.150.176
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 10:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kevin,I would be more than happy to pick up your records for you the next time I'm in NYC.
You don't even have to tell me where you are now.I'll just send out a letter to a random address once a year til I find you. ;)
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Walt B (walt_b)
4-Laureate
Username: walt_b

Post Number: 161
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 67.38.253.18
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 10:35 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kevin, I wish they would release the rest of the individual albums on cd too! And remastered!
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 1335
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 64.33.131.249
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 - 9:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Funkyone:
I'm currently residing in Northwest Wisconsin but may be moving to the Twin Cities within the next few months. Thanks for the offer.

Walt:
The One Way label in Albany did reissue the first two FOD albums on one CD (Grazin' & Highly Distinct). The sound quality was quite good. Yet I do agree that RCA should reissue at least the first four albums with bonus tracks.

The order of release of the first four LPs are:
Grazin' (1969)
Highly Distinct (1969)
Real Friends (1970)
Whatever (1970)

Kevin Goins - KevGo
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EverythingsAlright (uptight)
6-Zenith
Username: uptight

Post Number: 1406
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 76.173.40.4
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 3:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The sound on on that One Way label CD was ok IMHO. It sounds like it was compiled from different sources that were made at varying tape speeds (when compared to their original LPs). Maybe they grabbed a few stereo singles masters for the CD.

And the recent Sony compilation from 2005, although clean and consistent, is a bit too low-fi for me. It seems the trend among these companies (UMG, too) is to sacrifice clarity and dynamic range by using heavy noise reduction and compression (gets on my nerves). Just when you expect an improvement with the latest technology, they probably dummy down the sound on purpose. And that's how they get our money everytime.

Please pardon the rant. Let ME remaster them..! LOL
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daddyacey (daddyacey)
6-Zenith
Username: daddyacey

Post Number: 675
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 205.188.116.134
Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 3:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Do you think there's anybody at RCA that has the insite to do a project like that? Maybe they will have to consult their "numbers and stats". I have one BEST OF FOD CD. GRAZIN and DISTINCT on vinyl.
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Motown_Fan (motown_fan)
6-Zenith
Username: motown_fan

Post Number: 1098
Registered: 9-2006
Posted From: 75.66.38.199
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 4:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A company in the UK is reissuing Grazin' and Highly Distinct as a two for one disc in about a month.
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EverythingsAlright (uptight)
6-Zenith
Username: uptight

Post Number: 1420
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 76.173.40.4
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 4:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oy, vey... Let's hope they get it right...

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