Soulful DetroitArchives - July 2010 � Friends Of Distinction Previous Next

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JSmith (jsmith)
6-Zenith
Username: jsmith

Post Number: 5559
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 1:01 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As there's a current thread on the 5th Dimension, I thought I'd make mention of this similar outfit.

Members of both groups had been in the earlier outfit, the Hi-Fis (who toured with / opened shows for Ray Charles).

They were managed by Cleveland Brown's star Jim Brown (who abandoned his interest in Way Out Records to concentrate on breaking the FoD) and had a good few hits.

Member Jessica Cleaves went on to find further fame with a few top funk outfits (EW&F, Parliament, Funkadelic) and lots of later acts had hits with songs that they had recorded first
.... but today they are largely forgotten despite the top tracks that they cut.

I wonder why the group seemed to fall apart after such a short (but productive) spell (internal frictions I guess).
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kamasu (kamasu)
6-Zenith
Username: kamasu

Post Number: 8088
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 1:09 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Splanky probably knows the answer.


Is Jessica Cleaves living or dead? She had an affair with Jim Brown, which probably didn't help intergroup relations.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
6-Zenith
Username: kevgo

Post Number: 6051
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 2:00 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Barbara Love took a pregnancy leave after their second album, "Highly Distinct" was released. She was replaced by Charlene Gibson in time for the group to record their excellent 1970 disc, "Real Friends" (which featured the hit "Love Or Let Me Be Lonely" and the fan favorite "Lady Mae"). Then Barbara returned before the group appeared on the Ed Sullivan show later that year.

By '72, both Jessica Cleaves & Barbara were gone from the group.

The "anchors" of the FOD were co-founders Harry Elston & the late Floyd Butler. They were the two who formed the Hi-Fi's with then-future 5th Dimension folks Lamonte McLemore and Marilyn McCoo.

Kamasu - I seem to recall Juicefree posting something about Jessica some time ago that she's still with us but her health hadn't been good. He may have an update.

Here's an article I wrote last year on the FOD...

http://www.examiner.com/x-8983 -Milwaukee-RB-Music-Examiner~y 2009m4d30-The-Friends-of-Disti nctions-Grazing-In-The-Grass-t urns-40

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

Post Number: 8089
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 10:56 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It did appear that the women in the FOD were expendable.
They should have kept Charlene Gibson. She sang lead on Love Or Let Me Be Lonely and Crazy Mary.
A lot of people like I Really Hope You Do, a Jessica Cleaves lead. I'm not one of them. Gibson had the most commercial pipes.
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GEETEE(HPK) (geeteehpk)
6-Zenith
Username: geeteehpk

Post Number: 4630
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 1:34 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jessica Cleaves is still alive,and has been struggling with health and other issues.
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 3279
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 6:15 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

JS, you answered your own question with one phrase. "Internal frictions".
The story of the Friends of Distinction has been more or less truthfully told by various sources in print and on internet web sites through the years. For the nostalgic fans there is a current incarnation but it was the recordings of the earlier group that pretty much sealed it for me. As some already know, Jessica Cleaves is one of my all time favorite female vocalists and I'm am one of those who not liked, but loved I Really Hope You Do. I think it's a perfect performance and have always wished I could talk to Jessica directly about it and her lead on Lady Mae. Still do. Anyway, I liked Barbara Love vocals too, admittedly not as much, but it's said she lost her chops somehow and Charlene as skilled as she was in the studio was, group-wise, "a handful"; the guys vowed to never use her again.
Jess walked away from the group and from Jim Brown who she had a well documented relationship with, and after cameo appearances on jazz vibist Bobby Hutcherson's outings as well as Don Everly,
was scooped up by Maurice White to replace Sherry Scott in Earth Wind and Fire. Their voices were so similiar that even today the All Music Guide incorrectly credits Jessica as lead on EWF's classic I Think About Loving You which Sherry also wrote. As Maurice made the focus of the group his octave assassin Phillip Bailey. Jess got fewer leads. On her last recording with the group she only supplements Phil's chorus at the end of Keep Your Head To The Sky. The word is she abruptly just disappeared from the group after a show. Next place she shows up is in Pfunk, first recording on Funkadelic's Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic album and reportedly running out of the studio during a session, saying it sounds like "the devil's music". George himself has repeated that story but after she was coaxed back she was used quite extensively on both Funkadelic and Parliament releases as well as backing virtually all of the offshoot acts. George had always wanted to make her a lead singer but the group friction, the time and the collapse of Uncle Jam records cancelled that among other factors...Jess is indeed still on this plane, not in the best of health but very much still loved by many and I will always be one...
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Timmy Funk (timmyfunk)
6-Zenith
Username: timmyfunk

Post Number: 2945
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 7:21 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Her operatic vocals were showcased beautifully on "Knee Deep" and "The Big Bang Theory".

Probably represents Jessica last TV performance. She appeared later in the movie "The Night Before" with Keanu Reeves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =yKjEkFfub0g

(Message edited by timmyfunk on May 17, 2010)
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EverythingsAlright (uptight)
6-Zenith
Username: uptight

Post Number: 2977
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 6:59 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Only recently did I realize that was her on "Knee Deep." When trying to list a few groups she recorded with to my family, I could have included Funkadelic.
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Timmy Funk (timmyfunk)
6-Zenith
Username: timmyfunk

Post Number: 2948
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 1:11 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

EA, Jessica can found on the following P-Funk albums:

PARLIAMENT:
Gloryhallastoopid
Trombipulation

FUNKADELIC:
Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic
Uncle Jam Wants You!
The Electric Spanking Of War Babies

INCORPORATED THANG BAND:
Lifestyles Of The Roach and Famous

GEORGE CLINTON:
R&B Skeletons In The Closet
The Cinderella Theory
Hey Man, Smell My Finger!
All of the GC Family Series albums

FRED WESLEY AND THE HORNY HORNS:
Say Blow By Blow Backwards

BRIDES OF FUNKENSTEIN:
Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy
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roger (roger)
6-Zenith
Username: roger

Post Number: 2403
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 1:24 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello all ..

JESSICA CLEAVES was also in the "Studio Group" RAW SILK .. of "Do It To The Music" fame.

Interestingly, London based radio station JazzFM has been regularly playing what is probably their best known track "Grazing In The Grass" over the past few weeks, so maybe thay are not that forgotten after all.

Roger
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 3282
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 8:11 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Roger said:

JESSICA CLEAVES was also in the "Studio Group" RAW SILK .. of "Do It To The Music" fame.

I seriously doubt that!
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EverythingsAlright (uptight)
6-Zenith
Username: uptight

Post Number: 2978
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 9:12 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some years ago I downloaded her track from this CD compilation from the iTunes site.
http://www.amazon.com/Family-V ol-5-George-Clinton/dp/B00000D N45
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Walt B (walt_b)
5-Doyen
Username: walt_b

Post Number: 318
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2010 - 9:51 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Glad to hear that Jessica is still with us. I hadn't heard anything about her in years. I hope she returns to good health. I for one would buy anything that her voice graces!
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Timmy Funk (timmyfunk)
6-Zenith
Username: timmyfunk

Post Number: 2955
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 7:34 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Send A Gram" was my favorite JC jam from the Family Series albums.
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splanky (splanky)
6-Zenith
Username: splanky

Post Number: 3283
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 12:31 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I liked Off The Wall a lot. I wish she and Junie
had worked together more often...
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Timmy Funk (timmyfunk)
6-Zenith
Username: timmyfunk

Post Number: 2959
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 6:45 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wonder if GC has enough JC material in the can to do an entire album.
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Charlie Murphy (charlie_murphy)
2-Debutant
Username: charlie_murphy

Post Number: 40
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2010 - 4:56 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =ED-Qp2LOiCs

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