I'm a proud and typical African. I love African stuff. It's my persona; It's where I am mentally. I have emancipated myself from the mental slavery that comes from the western ways of doing things. I am African inside. I'm easy going, down to earth, hard-working, straight-forward, always seeking to assist, diplomatic, honest, tolerant, loyal, intelligent, humble, respectful, caring, loving, understanding, very social, polite, amiable, Humorous, open minded, serious, flexible, nurturing, sensitive, witty, intellectual, responsible, free-spirited, unconventional, large hearted and dedicated to any cause I believe in.
I prefer to work with people I have the same chemistry with. People that are on the same mental frame with me. I'm not looking for saints. Just decent human beings with clear love for Africa and Black race. I would like to meet people from all around the world with different backgrounds and cultures. I love surrounding myself with interesting individuals that can bring some knowledge and excitement to my life. I like making friend to mature people who really knows and understand the true meaning, important and value of friendship, that it goes beyond age (which is just a number),race, sex and location. I'm looking for people who can see the big picture. People with ideas bigger than life. People with focus, vision and the right attitude. People who can see the extra ordinary in ordinary things. Brand builders. Team players. IF you don't fit into a stereotype, you're my kind of people. I'm looking for Achievers. I believe Achievers are uncommon and different. In a doubting world - they believe; In a slow world - they run; In a weeping world - they laugh; In a quitting world - they persevere. They don't do different things, they do things diffrently. They don't just give reasons, they give results. They are people who used what others complained about to become gret in life. People who saw changes in what others call challenges. People who saw fortunes in what others call misfortunes. People who cannot accept others acceptable limitations. They are people who see beyond the impossible. And who aren't afraid to take the first step. For whom there are no half measures. They make a difference. Get involved. Take action. They are people who have a point of view. And the courage of their convintions.
The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me").
As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.
The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created.
The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon).
If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) yahoo.com and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available.
Enjoy. "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
"I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
"Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
"If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)
Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.
Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay."
While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).
The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.