Monday, October 25, 2010

Fontella Bass & Bobby McClure - "Dont Mess Up A Good Thing" - Checker, 1965

This is one of my favorite records! Of course, I play the hell out of it.
Fontella Bass (born July 3, 1940, St. Louis, Missouri) is best known for her hit "Rescue Me", which was released the same year.  She was already singing in front of crowds at church by the time she was 5 or 6. (Personal secret: I sang in church as a kid. Apparently, even shitty singers get a break sometimes!) A few years later, she was touring and singing with her mother throughout the South.

In the early Sixties she recorded a few tunes for the Bobbin label which were produced by Ike Turner, but they didn't get much play outside of St. Louis. A few years later she moved to Chicago and hooked with Chess Records, and the hits came fast and furious.
Bobby McClure was born in Chicago but raised in St. Louis. Similarly, he got his start singing in church and took it from there. He did some work in St. Louis with Fontella Bass as the "The Oliver Sain Soul Revue featuring Fontella and Bobby McClure".

After a split with Sain, McClure and Bass released a few duets on Checker - I believe this was the first and it did quite well, reaching top five at R&B radio and peaking at #33 at pop. Later that year she returned to the studio for "Rescue Me". From Wikipedia: "The song "Rescue Me" shot up the charts in the fall and winter of 1965. After a month-long run at the top of the R&B charts, the song reached #4 at the pop charts and gave Chess its first million-selling single since Chuck Berry a decade earlier. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc."
Checker Records was born in 1952 and was an offshoot of giant Chess Records out of Chicago, a label that comes here up often and will much more.
And now, the clip!

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