Mary Wells & Cecil Womack - Jubilee Singles As & Bs (1968-71)
Another of my favorite singers, all styles mixed. She was the first lady of Motown, recruited with her own composition ("Bye Bye Baby" in 1962) but then she became the toygirl of Berry Gordy and she left Motown early 1965, a sort of crime of what we call in France "lèse-majesté" for Gordy. He'll never forgive her and she'll never succeed to find again the way to a large audience. She went from labels to labels during the rest of the sixties, and here the post focus on the most successful, Jubilee, where she stayed 3 years (between 1968 and 1971) and, more importantly, where she partnershipped with her (new husband), the future star of the charts Cecil Womack (yes, the Womack & Womack one), doing here finally the first attempt to a Womack & Womack duo. He wrote a great amount of songs for her during these 3 years (more than 20) and some of them were released on singles, 7 exactly (all were published under the name of Mary Wells, but I think more faithfull to the project of the couple to put the 2 names on the cover). Only the first was a small hit in USA: "The Doctor". The further ones failed to repeat this return in the spotlight. It's sad since listening to these songs and the brilliant and touching interpretation of Mary Wells, they have aged well, often better than the more legendary R&B of these times. Mary always find a different way to approach songs and this may have deserved it since people want to quicky recognize their stars when they hear it on the radio. During the Jubilee years, she was able to release an album (Servin' Up Some Soul), but the next one (called Come Together or Love & Tranquillity according to sources) was unissued, the label surely believing not anymore to her chance to reach stardom. Sad again cos it would have been in phase with what Marvin Gaye was doing at the times (What's Going On). You can find all these songs and albums on a double compilation called the Complete Jubilee Years released in 1993. The next 20 years would be low profile for Mary Wells (she separated from Cecil Womack some years later after having children with him) and she died of throat cancer in 1992. After PP Arnold, I would appreciate if you don't know her, that you throw an hear here. The DIM front & back cover sleeve is from 2 present black artist that could have made them in the late sixties I feel.
Below, the streaming is the only non-Womack song, but the interpretation of the Peter, Paul & Mary (not Wells) "500 Miles" is so good, I could not choose another one.
If you miss the train I'm on, You will know that I am gone. You can hear the whistle blow, A hundred miles. Lord, I'm one, Lord I'm two,Lord, I'm three, Lord I'm four, Lord, I'm 500 miles, From my home. Not a shirt on my back, Not a penny to my name. Lord, I can't go a-home, This a-way.
In the studio in 1970 (as you can see, Getty Images).
In the studio in 1970 again (GI too).