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Issue 1084

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Gloria Jones: Keeping up with the Jones

Gloria Jones copyright@bluesandsoul.com
Gloria Jones copyright@bluesandsoul.com Gloria Jones @bluesandsoul.com Gloria Jones @bluesandsoul.com Gloria Jones @bluesandsoul.com Gloria Jones: Reunited 1982 Gloria Jones: Windstorm 1978 Gloria Jones: Vixen 1976 Gloria Jones: Share My Love 1973 Gloria Jones: Come Go With Me 1966

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Gloria cut her teeth with the Cogic Singers, and her professional life led her to record for Uptown, Minit, Motown and EMI, and, of course, sheテ「冱 internationally known for her Northern Soul monsters 'Tainted Love' and 'Heartbeat'.

As a songwriter at Motown, she wrote or co-wrote 'My Mistake (Was To Love You)' for Diana and Marvin; 'Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)' for the Four Tops, but her greatest achievement was writing 'If I Were Your Woman' recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips which was nominated for a 1971 Grammy. Chris Clark, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Eddie Kendricks, Jermaine Jackson, the Commodores are just a handful of other artists who recorded Gloriaテ「冱 work.

'Share My Love' in 1973 was her only solo album for Motown. Then she left. To cut a long story short, Gloria met Marc Bolan, relocated to London and joined his T Rex unit from 1973 until 1977. She recorded the 'Vixen' album for EMI Records; worked with the UK group Gonzales, writing their dance hit テ「廩avenテ「冲 Stopped Dancinテ「 Yetテ「 and, following the 1978 release of 'Windstorm', released テ「彝eunitedテ「 in 1982. Then, in 1996, 'Vixen'/'Windstorm' and during 2009 'Share My Love', were issued in cd format for the first time.

Dateline: 2010テつテ「弋his album was actually produced by my brother Richard Jones. He wanted to take my music into more of the Philly sound. Teddy Pendergrass was introducing a new style, Chi Town was coming on strong, and the revolutionテつfor soul and disco were fighting for their position.I was attending the HAL Awards in Beverly Hills and a young journalist requested me to sing 'When IテつWas A Little Girl'. He was probably seven or eight years old when he first heard that song. Music has always been a form of freedom for me, and I have been blessed toテつ be 10 or 20 years ahead of its time for ideasテつto reflect the rhythm of that era and the heartbeat.

Remember テ「狼ainted Loveテ「 was recorded in 1965. 'Windstorm' was recorded inテつ1977 with musicians Sylvester Rivers, Scott Edwards, Ray Parker Jnr, Ed Green (the man behind Barry Whiteテ「冱 sessions). So to make a long story short, people will always buy food and clothes - and dance!!!!! Keeping soul music alive is my mission!!!! Great engineers like Barney Perkins, also played a great part. Studios were excited !!!! And now the hip hop generation is making it all happen again for soul music.テ「 Said Gloria Jones, American singer and composer/producer, Northern Soul star and Motown Records artist, and テ「 well, read on テ「ツヲテ「ツィ

Dateline: 1978: Wrote Sharon Davis. テ「廝efore Gloria Jones returned to Los Angeles, we got together over lunch, sherry and masses of chocolate cake to have a quick chat that lasted some seven hours as we sat on a Sunday in the Westmoreland Hotel, somewhere in London. In an attempt to get the history behind her last single 'Bring On The Love (Why Canテ「冲 We Be Friends Again)' (released the previous year. It was a super, beautifully paced, mid-tempoe テ「電 ballad co-penned by Gloria, her brother and Motown executive Suzanne DePasse) I asked what made her go to Los Angeles to record it and not use one of the studios over here? テ「弋he reason I went there was because I wasnテ「冲 able to get..oh shit!..omit that.テ「 (re-wound tape). テ「廬 went as I wanted to get an American sound for my new album since Iテ「冦 on a European label (Capitol/EMI Records). Actually, while recording there last summer we cut four potential singles as well テ「廊ove Was Hereテ「, テ「露f The Roses Donテ「冲 Come In Spring This Yearテ「, テ「聾oman Is Womanテ「 and テ「錬ring On The Loveテ「 with musicians like Ray Parker Jnr, Joe Sample, Jack Ashford, Eddie テ「錬ongoテ「 Brown, Wah-Wah Watson and Sylvester Rivers. (This girl doesnテ「冲 mess about does she!) We had all these people in the studio and it was kinda like a nice jam.テ「 Why didnテ「冲 the single appear under the Motown banner as was previously hoped? テ「弩hen I went to America I played it for them but they felt it should be a little stronger. I took them in a final vocal with a rhythm track that had been cut....I asked if they thought it should be stronger. Iテ「冦 not hung up about percentages or that type of thing. If I have a good song, and these people think they can make it stronger then I donテ「冲 mind. Anyway, during that time I thought I was gonna be re-signing with them.テ「 That didnテ「冲 happen and Gloria kept her song.

At the request of UK radio stations 'Bring Back The Love' was remixed by Gloria and Richard テ「 テ「彗dding more bass and snare, bringing out the rhythm track and adding a stronger foundation to the mix. We had been told by radio stations that the backings were too laid back, and some felt that if we did a re-mix, they could play it to fuller effect. the vocal is much clearer now. Mind you, I didnテ「冲 think there was anything wrong with the other mix.テ「 The single was raved over, club DJs wore out the grooves with their support. And although it was a US and UK dance hit, yet something didnテ「冲 gell to give her the crossover hit she deserved. Gloria hid her disappointment. The reason the single was issued in the first place was テ「 her lover and father of her son, pop icon Marc Bolan chose it two weeks before he died in a car accident. So, it was an immensely personal song.

With the new album テ「 now titled テ「聾indstormテ「 - which she dedicated to Marcテ「冱 memory, Gloria wanted to keep the singleテ「冱 pulse going. テ「廬 want to get back into the romantic sounds of soul by adding a couple of ballads. Yテ「冖now, you used to hear those beautiful things like テ「露 Had A Talk With My Manテ「 but I donテ「冲 think women are doing them anymore. Iテ「冦 really excited because I think Iテ「况e got a new sound, a new beat テ「 a テ「鷲eart beatテ「 (no pun intended). In America people are dancing, and now this disco and dancing has swept across Europe. People are really boogie-ing. When I was working up, we would have these parties where we listened to things like, old Smokey Robinson music. Motown was very big during that time, and this musical excitement is what I want to bring to Europe. The Gloria Jones sound.テ「 テ「ツィテつ

One of the album tracks that Gloria favoured as follow-up single to 'Bring On The Love' is テ「廬f The Roses Donテ「冲 Come (In Spring This Year)テ「. Sheテ「冱 crazy about this track even though her idea is to issue dance material. However, said I, if it was up to me to select a single, thereテ「冱 no doubt in my mind that 'Woman Is A Woman' would get my vote. In retaliation she said テ「 テ「廴y choice is pure and sensitive! I donテ「冲 know if ballads can grab, let alone sell but Iテ「囘 like to give it a go. Anyway,..you can dance to a ballad because the man will be able to whisper sweet things into your ear. Hell, when youテ「决e dancing fast how can he talk to you? Bring back romance..テ「

Itテ「冱 become apparent that Gloriaテ「冱 feelings about her song writing has changed, and for that she blames England. テ「廬テ「况e become very British you might say as far as pressures are concerned.. When I was at Motown we had to write a song within a certain time limit with different artists in mind, but here Iテ「冦 more independent, and my views have changed a lot because when youテ「况e travelled as much as I have, you eventually find your identity. This is why a lot of my recent writing is, if I dare use the world again - European.テ「 Her brother Richard has been by her side テ「 テ「彗nd I feel heテ「冱 helped me a great deal, not only with writing, but with producing. Sometimes itテ「冱 difficult to produce yourself; sometimes you become too personal. You need to get away from yourself. Youテ「决e trying to listen to see if the engineer has a sound, trying to sing, to do this and that. Iテ「冦 not saying I canテ「冲 produce myself, but I am saying that at this time, itテ「冱 good to have fresh ideas.テ「

Gloria intended to play an active role in the promotion of 'Windstorm' and hopefully get some gig work together - テ「..they donテ「冲 have to be big venues. I want to play the soul clubs, get in Ronnie Scotts, Speakeasy, so that people can see me and we can just get a lovely contact going. There are a lot of people who remember my hits of the sixties, but Iテ「囘 like for them to know me now. Theyテ「况e read a lot about me, but I donテ「冲 think theyテ「况e had the chance to get close to me and my music. Thatテ「冱 why I think theyテ「冤l be able to relate to the music that I cut in America.. I feel really encouraged because the material Iテ「况e brought from America has restored faith in my record company, EMI, to do a heavy promotion on me, in breaking me in the UK. Theyテ「决e behind me and Iテ「冦 sure if any American acts came here, theyテ「囘 be interested in putting me on with them. I feel my audience is there and I know I have to go to them. I was before them once, and, you know, I felt really good.テ「 She was thinking of her performance at Londonテ「冱 New Victoria Theatre when she supported Osibisa. When the box office told her that at least five hundred people had come to see her, she was delighted. テ「弋hat doesnテ「冲 sound like much, but that encouraged me no end. And then I worked the summer with Bob Marley, and visited the Wigan Casino, but I felt that I had cheated people as I didnテ「冲 really get to sing a lot of the old songs that I wanted to.テ「

During the late-sixties when Gloria was writing and producing at Motown テ「 with and without Pam Sawyer テ「 she was performing in the Los Angelesテ「 cast of 'Hair'. This prompted me to ask whether she had further plans to tread the boards. テ「廸o, not really. If anything, Iテ「囘 probably love to write a musical, produce and record it. Thatテ「囘 keep me before the public as a singer, and not lose me to the theatre. Eventually, I have plans ofテ「ツヲin fact I sat in on a couple of acting lessons at Strasbergs when I was last in LA. That was quite an experience.テ「

Well, Ms Jones, whatテ「冱 it to be: singer, writer, producer, actressテ「ツヲ? テ「廬tテ「冱 like playing sevens on the dice. Which ever one we hit. Iテ「冦 looking for success in any fieldテ「ツヲIテ「囘 like to try every communication in the field of music, and thatテ「冱 what success means to me, knowing that I have reached people. The day I couldnテ「冲 do that, is when I wouldnテ「冲 be able to handle the future because Iテ「囘 be a failure. And thatテ「冱 one thing Iテ「囘 never be able to accept テ「 being a failure.テ「 テ「ツィテつ

The full track listing of 'Windstorm' was - 'Bring On The Love (Why Canテ「冲 We Be Friends Again)', 'Windstorm', 'If The Roses Donテ「冲 Come (In Spring This Year)', 'Blue Light Microphone', 'Hooked On You Baby', 'Vaya Con Dios', 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (Donテ「冲 Say Goodbye)', 'Woman Is A Woman'.

My interview with Gloria was exclusive to Blues & Soul back in the day, and was just months after Marc died in September 1977 She had recorded a fair amount of the album prior to his death, but as she had sustained serious injuries from the car accident, including a broken ankle and jaw, any promotional ideas EMI Records had, were put on hold. The injuries would heal, but her heart would never mend.

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Words SHARON DAVIS

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