Soulful Detroit Archives - January 2009 Jan Bradley Interview and Photo Previous Next

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boba (boba)
6-Zenith
Username: boba

Post Number: 794
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 99.140.186.131
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 1:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi. I rarely post my interviews on soulfuldetroit because they're mainly of more obscure groups that won't appeal to everyone here, but I thought that people here would be interested in hearing this one. Here is my writeup, along with a cool photo Jan gave me of her in the park (since my show is called "Sitting in the Park")

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Hi. Today on my radio show I did an interesting interview with legendary Chicago soul singer Jan Bradley. Bradley grew up in the Robins, IL, a South Suburb of Chicago. In high school she began singing lead with a local group called the Passions (a male group who later recorded as the Swinging Hearts). While performing at a talent show, Chicago promoter and owner of the Formal record label Don Talty discovered the group. Don decided to keep Bradley as a solo singer so Bradley left the group to pursue her solo career.

Talty took Bradley to a show at the Regal in order to meet Curtis Mayfield to try to get material to record. Bradley sang for Curtis and they agreed to meet later to go over potential songs; Bradley decided to record "We girls" upon hearing it. Talty recorded "We girls" and tried to shop it around to major labels, even taking Bradley to United Artists in New York. After he was unsuccessful placing the record on a larger label, Talty released the track on his own Formal label in 1962. The track became a local hit in the Midwest, getting both R&B and pop radio play.

Talty released a few more tracks on Bradley on his Formal label without scoring a hit. Bradley again sought out Curtis Mayfield for another track; Mayfield gave her "Mama didn't lie". Talty took Bradley to Missouri where she recorded the record, doing her own backup vocals on overdub (a technique which, although not common in the early 60s, became common on Bradley's 45s). He initially released it on his Formal label where it became a local hit in the Midwest. Chess records picked up the single where it became a national hit. The record had a classic pop-soul feel that typified the Chicago female sound of the early-60s.

Due to a dispute over publishing, Chess refused to release any more Jan Bradley records written by Curtis Mayfield, despite Curtis' writing being the key to Bradley's previous hits. Chess released several follow-up records on Bradley, written by Chess staff writers, but failed to score a hit. During this time, Bradley did release the Mayfield-written "Behind curtains", on the Night Owl record label; the track was backed by the Impressions (and later covered by the Five Stairsteps), but didn't have the promotion to get real radio play.

After being unsuccessful with the Chess writers, Bradley decided to write her own material. Her first self-written single, "I'm over you", became her next hit record on Chess. Inspired by Curtis, Bradley's goal was to become both a recording artist as well as a writer and producer of other artists. Unfortunately, Talty was mostly unsuccessful placing Bradley's material; her songs were recorded by a few Chicago and Ohio artists. She also wrote the excellent "I'm no Romeo", which was recorded by Billy Stewart on a Chess LP but never released on a single. After recording a few more unsuccessful singles for Chess records, she left the label and Talty to go back to school to pursue a career in counseling in the late 60s. She did cut one more single for the Memphis-based Doylen label in the early-70s, but it was not promoted, and Bradley did not continue with music. Bradley currently works as a counselor, but still enjoys singing in church and songwriting.

You can check out my interview on my interviews page at:

http://www.sittinginthepark.com/interviews.html

as a special bonus for my show, Bradley gave me a photo of herself "sitting
in the park", taken by Phil Upchurch in 1965:





thanks for your interest,
Bob
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the classic master (the_classic_master)
6-Zenith
Username: the_classic_master

Post Number: 1221
Registered: 7-2006
Posted From: 173.68.45.63
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 1:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

great interview boba. i didn't know she was the first to record behind curtains, i didn't even know she made anything else after mama didn't lie. i'm learning a lot about curtis mayfield in the pass few days.
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boba (boba)
6-Zenith
Username: boba

Post Number: 795
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 99.140.186.131
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 2:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks. Curtis wrote a ton of records, he was responsible for a lot of the Chicago sound. He wrote a lot for Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, the Opals, and a lot of one-off cuts for smaller artists. You can hear the original version of behind curtains in the interview. Thanks.
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No Place Like Motown (no_place_like_motown)
6-Zenith
Username: no_place_like_motown

Post Number: 533
Registered: 3-2006
Posted From: 64.12.116.18
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 6:12 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bob:

Thanks for sharing that great interview. Jan Bradley had a fine voice and I've enjoyed many of her recordings from "Mama Didn't Lie" to "It's Just Your Way" and so on. It's good to hear that she is doing well and is now a professional counselor. She will always be remembered as one of Chicago's greats back in the 60's.

Here's another pic of Jan:


jan bradley
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Motown_Fan (motown_fan)
6-Zenith
Username: motown_fan

Post Number: 3012
Registered: 9-2006
Posted From: 65.54.97.151
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 8:33 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great interview Boba.

I often wonder what happened to some singers who had big hit records and seemed to disappear later. The interview explained why Jan Bradley didn't record more songs written by Curtis Mayfield.

Boba, you also brought us up to date on Patti Drew.
Do you know what's up with Jackie Ross?

(Message edited by motown_fan on December 29, 2008)
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boba (boba)
6-Zenith
Username: boba

Post Number: 796
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 99.140.186.131
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 8:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Motown_fan. Jackie Ross is definitely still around but I have never talked to her. I think she lives in Memphis (that's what I've been told at least, I could be wrong). I will try to maybe set up something in 2009. Thanks everyone for the feedback.
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Motown_Fan (motown_fan)
6-Zenith
Username: motown_fan

Post Number: 3013
Registered: 9-2006
Posted From: 65.54.97.153
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 9:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boba, I can't imagine Jackie Ross living here in Memphis and we've never run into her. But I will ask around.

We were told former Ikette Claudia Lenear supposedly lives here too, but we've yet to find her.

Please try and locate Jackie Ross on your own. I'm sure she has a story to tell.
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Tony Russi (tony_russi)
6-Zenith
Username: tony_russi

Post Number: 3305
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 68.210.39.56
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 10:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, I would love to hear about Jackie Ross. I think thats amazing that Jan Bradley had such a huge hit & then Chess had a beef about the publishing and squandered the chance for more hits. It seems Chess was not interested in building the careers of Jan Bradley or Jackie Ross.
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 2317
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 72.89.113.14
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 10:34 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boba, one man's obscurity is another man's private joy. Post those dang interviews more often, my friend! I live for stuff like that....
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Ralph Terrana (ralpht)
Moderator
Username: ralpht

Post Number: 7970
Registered: 9-2004
Posted From: 76.126.132.110
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 11:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boba,
I echo Splanky. Quit holding out on us. This was very interesting.
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boba (boba)
6-Zenith
Username: boba

Post Number: 798
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 74.2.96.43
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 9:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I appreciate everyone's nice feedback. Anyone can listen to any of my interviews at http://www.sittinginthepark.co m/interviews.html, even the obscure ones are online. Some of the groups are very obscure local chicago groups mainly of interest to nerdy collectors like me and I don't want to post a notice every week because I don't want to feel like I'm spamming or just promoting myself. I will post a writeup of the more interesting better known ones here, after I do them, though (like Jan Bradley). But I do one almost every week so people can just keep checking the link if they want to hear all of them. I also have an email list where I send out links to my music shows and interviews, if people are interested on getting on it they can email me at boba (at) panix.com. Thanks again.
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Midnite Johnny (jpatpt)
6-Zenith
Username: jpatpt

Post Number: 4682
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 24.128.194.46
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 10:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boba...thanks so much for posting not only your interview with Jan...but all of your interviews.
I haven't listened to any yet...but I certainly plan to. Thanks so much!!!
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hotstuff (floreen)
5-Doyen
Username: floreen

Post Number: 205
Registered: 7-2006
Posted From: 166.68.134.175
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 11:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I always loved that song...thought she was white...I also have a tremendous love for CLAUDINE CLARK's Party Lights...thanks for remembering ms Jan...and they're off...
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4161
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 1:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Tony:
Leonard & Phil Chess,like Berry Gordy, knew that the real money was made in music publishing.

When they insisted that Curtis Mayfield place his songs with their companies, Mr. Mayfield refused. The Chess brothers were astounded that Curtis would reject the offer (then again, Curtis was no fool!).

The result - they would only release Jan's records if they were published via Arc Music, which was a shame, indeed.

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

Post Number: 4162
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 1:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boba:
Thanks for posting the interviews. I did a lot of work with folks in Chicago so it was great to see a few of them being interviewed.

BTW - Have you considered interviewing Eddie Thomas? He was Curtis & the Impressions' manager and the co-founder of Curtom Records (he also owned Thomas Records, the home of Jamo Thomas' I Spy For The FBI and numerous singles by Cash McCall). I could email him if you are interested.

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

Post Number: 799
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 99.140.186.131
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 12:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kev: thanks for your feedback and generous offer of being willing to contact Mr. Thomas. I do know some people that know him but you are probably a good contact with him as I see you talk to him regularly. Currently I am focused on singers who sang in groups and bigger solo singers (such as Jan Bradley). When I get through those people, I will do more important writers / producers / label owners and hopefully then will talk to him. Also, another DJ on my station, GEETEE who posts on here also, interviewed Eddie on his show a few years ago. Thanks
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tom_moulton (tom_moulton)
6-Zenith
Username: tom_moulton

Post Number: 996
Registered: 6-2005
Posted From: 173.52.144.221
Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 3:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wonder if Mama Didn't Lie was done on multi-track? It would be nice to know. I know Chess never got one.When Sugerhill owned Chess I asked if there was a multi on it and they didn't have a mono tape.
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Robb_K (robb_k)
6-Zenith
Username: robb_k

Post Number: 9649
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 204.108.96.18
Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 4:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They overtracked Jan's own harmony backgrounds over her lead vocal recording on "Mama Didn't Lie".
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boba (boba)
6-Zenith
Username: boba

Post Number: 816
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 208.252.128.18
Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 5:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mama didn't lie wasn't recorded at Chess, in the interview (and my writeup above), she says that it was recorded in a studio in Kirkwood, MO. It wasn't even originally released on Chess, it was released on formal and then licensed to Chess.

She does do overdubs on some of her later chess recordings too though.
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tom_moulton (tom_moulton)
6-Zenith
Username: tom_moulton

Post Number: 998
Registered: 6-2005
Posted From: 173.52.144.221
Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 8:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Does Formal still have the session tape? and was it done on a 3 or 4 track?
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boba (boba)
6-Zenith
Username: boba

Post Number: 820
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 99.140.186.131
Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 12:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Tom. I don't know who has the tape, probably Chess bought it outright? If not, I don't know where the tapes are. I will ask Jan. I think she says in the interview about the studio, I have to listen again. Thanks.
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MzO (mzo)
2-Debutant
Username: mzo

Post Number: 20
Registered: 1-2009
Posted From: 65.169.188.130
Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 1:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My Mom introduced me to "Mama Didn't Lie". I love that song. I would love to have other cuts by her. This thread has opened my interest in her music again.
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Juicefree20 (juicefree20)
6-Zenith
Username: juicefree20

Post Number: 11933
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 24.47.225.121
Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 2:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Boba

I have to strongly echo what Splanky says & agree that there are NO "obscurities".

I have the Twilight Records collection which featured a great song by a (to me) unknown group & that song was fantastic. The song is "To Love Someone That Don't Love You" & the group was The Kaldirons.

I couldn't find any info about the group & wondered how a group who made such a sweet song could just disappear. Flash forward several years & thanks to Soulful Detroit, a gentleman named Boba appears & BAM!!!!! An interview appears with members of The Kaldirons.

Damn good job & I know that there are a lot of people like me who are very interested in hearing what happened in the lives of so many unknowns, who started out as 17 year-olds with the dream of hearing their voices coming through transistor radios, or hearing THEIR records being played at a house party on those battery operated portable record players that we used to have & I know that most of you here know EXACTLY what I'm talking about, the one that we'd put the penny on the arm to stop the record from skipping after we'd worn them out :-)

No such thing as obscurities, my friend. And if you can do something on Diane Cunningham, Candace Love & a few others whom I'll name later, I for one, would be much obliged. While I love the stars madly, I don't really want to hear the 10,000th installment about the life of __________. It's the unsung artists who really intrigue me & my goal is to get as many of their stories told as possible.

Keep on doing what you're doing. It's guys like you, Marc, Dave & many others who are bringing us the REAl goods & continuing to keep the spotlight shining on so many who just don't receive the love & attention that I believe that they so richly deserve.

In other words, keep giving us more of those "OBSCURITIES"

:-)

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