Gloria Scott: What Am I Going to Do? (1974)

2009 is the 35th anniversary of this classic soul album, which was the first and only full-length studio release by Gloria Scott. Produced by Barry White with the best of his '70s approach, and featuring songs written by lesser-known White protege, Tom Brock, nearly every single cut here is a classic, a mixture of deep and mellow soul, plus slight traces of funk. The San Francisco-based singer imbued the songs White selected for the album with a convincing blend of heart, soul and hope. '(A Case of) Too Much Love Makin’' is emblematic of Scott's predicament across the album's eight original tracks: She is in love, giving every bit of herself, but it’s unrequited. White dresses Scott's love jones in his classic Love Unlimited style with help from Tom Brock and Gene Page. Sadness never sounded this good! It is a small mystery why the album had limited commercial appeal upon its release in 1974 by Casablanca Records. With White's stone cold production and Gloria's instantly captivating vocals, the quality was on par with any album in the marketplace at the time. A combination of factors, including the growing pains of a new record company and White's focus on his own burgeoning career, ultimately limited the reach of What Am I Gonna Do. Though a follow-up single, 'Just As Long as We're Together', hit the R&B Top 20 and held the top spot on the Disco Singles chart in early-1975, the second album she recorded with arranger H. B. Barnum was not released. For all his solo success, Barry White was not delivering on his contract with Gloria Scott. He became one of the most seminal figures of the '70s while Scott faded into obscurity. Titles include 'Love Me, Love Me, Love Me, or Leave Me, Leave Me, Leave Me', 'I Think of You', 'I Just Couldn't Take a Goodbye' and 'That's What You Say'. I also included one bonus track: her 1974 single 'Just As Long As We're Together'. The whole thing is a masterpiece!

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It is 11 a.m. on Monday November 13, 2006 and a trip to the ‘gemm’ record search website reveals that vinyl copies of Gloria Scott’s 1974 Casablanca album, ‘What Am I Gonna Do’, are on sale for prices in three figures dollar-wise and not falling far short in pounds sterling equivalents. This, despite the album being issued on CD in Japan in 1996 and in Europe in 2003. Telling this to the lady herself a few hours later, she said: “I’m so surprised the album is still active out there because it has been so long. It’s wonderful but oh my goodness. You know what? I must have signed a stupid contract because I never saw none the money from that.” Nevertheless, just that one classic album and a follow-up single, ‘Just As Long As We’re Together (In My Life There Will Never Be Another)’ has ensured that Gloria Scott’s name has stayed alive in soul music history.

Gloria Scott was born in Port Arthur, Texas on February 26, 1946, the second child of nine children. “My mother was a singer,” said Gloria, describing her family and musical background. “She sang gospel along with Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers but she decided she wanted to settle and have a family so she stepped back from her professional singing. But she still always sang in church. When I was little she would take me to church with her and I would fall asleep. And I’d wake up and I’d hear my mom’s voice and then go right back to sleep again!” She laughed as she continued: “I started in church too, although I didn’t do a great deal of singing while I was there but I listened. When I got into my singing properly I guess that church influence was there. But now I’m back into gospel again, which is wonderful because gospel music is just great.”

Despite having a relatively strict upbringing, Gloria also sang secular material, especially in elementary school. She recalled: “One of my best friends used to perform ‘White Christmas’ every year and one year - I was about ten years old - I said, I want top sing ‘White Christmas’ this year and she said okay and that’s when I started. That was my first song in public.”

Although Port Arthur had been Gloria’s birthplace, she was raised some ninety miles to the west in the city of Houston, before moving with her family to northern California when in her early teens. “I hated the idea of moving because all my roots were in Houston,” she remembered, “but it turned out to be just fine and I do love being out here on the coast. Although I love traveling too. Texas is fine, Atlanta is fine, everywhere I go I bring a little bit away with me and I think probably I’d be happy anywhere now.”

Through much of her high school years, Gloria kept her longings to be a singer under wraps from her family but the secret was out after one night when she was allowed to attend a high school dance. She explained: “That was really fortunate. I had gone to this high school dance and a band called Sly & the Mojo Men were playing at it. ‘Sly’ of course later became the Sly of Sly & the Family Stone. My girlfriend told him, she can sing and so Sly said, come up and sing. He was already making a name for himself around San Francisco and Oakland and, as a result, he used to take me all around the Bay Area when I was just 17 years old. He was also into recording and he was the first person to take me into the studio.”

The result was a two-part 45 called ‘I Taught Him’ issued early 1964 on Warner Bros #5413 under the billing of Gloria Scott & the Tonettes. Asked about the Tonettes (who are not the same group as recorded for Dynamic, nor the Volt group that became the Charmels) Gloria responded: “The Tonettes were his sister, Rose, his cousin, Tonya and Sly himself. I was so nervous about singing just by myself, so he formed the group just to record with me and they also sang with me at the famous Cow Palace in San Francisco.” (A further Gloria Scott & the Tonettes recording, ‘Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You’ appeared on the CD issued by UK Ace in 1994, ‘Precious Stone : In The Studio With Sly Stone, 1963-1965.)

Unfortunately, despite being on a major label, the single proved to be a one-off, although Gloria continued to play local venues and it was in one club, owned by a gentleman called Carl Sullivan, that she got her next break. “I was nineteen by then,” she said. “Carl Sullivan said he would introduce me to some people who were coming down and one night he called me and it was Ike & Tina Turner. And I went to audition for them. They took me to Los Angeles that very night. I stayed with them for a while. They didn’t really have anything for me at that time though so I went back home and then Ike called and he got me on a Dick Clark tour as an ‘Ikette’, because there was a percentage of ‘Ikettes’ on every Dick Clark tour there. So I was on one of those tours. Tina came to see me one day and was full of praise and then the original Ikettes quit. By that time I had moved to Los Angeles and Ike came by my apartment and said, how would you like to be a ‘real’ Ikette and I jumped at it. That was the best training I could have got, working with Tina. She was really, really influential in my career and she let me make up tunes, she let me lead the songs, she was so good to me.” Nevertheless, being a full-time Ikette proved to be a somewhat punishing schedule. “Oh it was,” confirmed Gloria. “Ike was very strict. We missed the bus one morning - we had to fly to Houston - and he fined us. And I said [to Tina], if he fines me and I then have to pay my way up here, I’m going to quit. And she told him, she’s going to quit and he said, let her quit - and I did! I never went back. But it worked both ways: I was sorry I quit and I was glad I quit. Because it was hard to work with him sometimes.”

Gloria was left to fend for herself and she began to set up her own solo gigs in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, as well as fronting a variety of rock-orientated groups and, for a while, working with Johnny Otis. Having settled in Hollywood, she was about to embark on the next phase of her career... “I had been doing some writing with a partner who was also my manager, Blanchard Montgomery. Also, I had been on some small little tour and he said that, when I got back to town, he would introduce me to a guy who had his own operation. His name was Sunny Chaney - he passed away around the late eighties - and he introduced me to Barry White. He saw the songs but he also said, I want her to sign up as an artist. So I signed with Barry. My contract was always with Barry, not Casablanca. He got me placed with Casablanca and, you know, he actually did two whole albums on me but they only released one. I’d really like to get hold of that second one - I guess I need an agent to work with me. I didn’t really know that business side of things, I still don’t but I know it was really good music. The songs were really good - just as good if not stronger than the first album. I seem to remember there was a different arranger though - I think it was H.B. Barnum.”

Busy not just with his own projects but also the likes of Love Unlimited and the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Gloria had to wait her turn with Barry White but the ultimate result was the aforementioned ‘What Am I Gonna Do’ album and the lead-off single, the Vance Wilson/Thomas Anderson-penned title track which, although a chart success, was not the huge smash it deserved to be, especially given the Barry White track record. “It was wonderful seeing my name on the charts,” remembered Gloria, “but I never really got a chance to get out there and do my thing with my album. I don’t think my music was exploited enough. They had Barry White’s name behind it and I really think it should have been promoted stronger. And, of course, now rap music has totally stifled soul and r&b but I’d still like to think there was room out there for me and my own music.”

Conversation moved to the specific eight songs that made up the ‘What Am I Gonna Do’ album. In the Casablanca press release that accompanied promo copies at the time, Gloria was quoted as saying: “I really love to sing hearty songs: songs I can live and experiences I can live with. I can’t just sing a song because I like it, I’ve got to be able to feel it. Some of the songs really make me think of the sad experiences we all have to live through. At times it seems really difficult to live your love life like you’d want it to be because of the other person involved. The writers working with me really understood.” Gloria endorsed these words once again, acknowledging Tom Brock’s contribution on six of the tracks, including ‘Help Me Get Off This Merry-Go-Round’, a melodic beat-ballad on which Brock collaborated with Robert Relf - Bob of Bob & Earl - and Gloria herself. “I think I had a lot of good songs of my own at that time,” she opined, “but I never did get to really record my songs because I said well, I’ll wait until it’s my turn. And it never got to that, because Barry was so hot and I just went with what he chose.”

A second single, ‘(A Case Of) Too Much Lovemakin’’ was cited as a personal favorite and one that found favor on the modern soul scene in Britain. “Isn’t that a good song?” Gloria agreed. “Maybe I can come to England and perform that for you all. I really would like to do that.” Despite instant appeal, ‘Too Much Lovemakin’’ failed to dent the listings and subsequent research has indicated that it may not have got beyond the promo stage in America, although it did appear as a commercial single in some other countries around the world, including Britain and Australia. Things did, however, look up for Gloria when her next US 45 issue, ‘Just As Long As We’re Together (In My Life There Will Never Be Another)’, took her into the r&b top twenty. Logically, this would have led to further releases but... nothing. “That was intended to be the lead single of the second album,” said Gloria, “and, as I told you, all the tracks were cut but never saw the light of day. I’ll never know why. And my hands were tied. I was still under contract with Barry and he kept telling me he was the only one who could do anything with me and then he never did. He didn’t really do anything with his wife [Glodean White of Love Unlimited] either. I went to visit once and she said that my music was her favorite. She loved my first album, she loved that second album. I don’t understand it. She was a good singer too and Love Unlimited have been hot but he just got so, so hot himself that everything else got excluded. I guess he just couldn’t do it all. He wanted to but he just never could. Finally, it was after six years when I got a release.”

Contractually bound to White, Gloria was unable to record elsewhere and basically had to ‘sit out’ the latter part of the seventies, although, as she advised, she was able to keep working... “I did some demos for Motown. Maybe they would have been willing to sign me but I don’t know. I was still under contract to Barry at the time but he had got so busy with his own career. I kept thinking, why won’t you do something with me, especially as ‘Just As Long As We’re Together’ had done so well. I don’t understand why they just let die something that was catching on so well. And I worked with Mary Wilson - I worked with her a lot. I traveled with her a lot but I did not promote my own record because I didn’t even know how popular it had become. Then I got bored! After Mary Wilson, I really got bored with singing background. I had sung background for other artists too and I kept thinking, what about me? And I finally broke out of that mould.” She laughed... “After I got the release from Barry, I lived in Guam for about eight or nine years. I sang over there and I did quite well. Then I came back.”

In the early nineties, Gloria returned to the recording studios for a one-off 12” release, ‘It’s So Wonderful’, issued on her own Glosco label but it would be her last release to date. “But I’ve continued to perform,” she affirmed, “and I started writing more songs and doing my own things. I don’t find writing easy but I have now come up with a few, although there are people who are a lot more versatile with their writing than I am. Every now and then I’ll come up with a good song and I think I currently have about ten tunes that I’d call really good ones. I’ve got a little keyboard which helps a lot for writing and I’ve been doing some demos. I have the songs in demo form but they now really have to be produced at a higher level. And I’m still doing gigs. I sing in clubs here and there. I’m also a jewellery designer. I’ve been getting into that a lot lately and my music is still waiting on me. Still waiting for me to get out there and do it. I can’t just sit here and do nothing and I think I’m destined to be successful again. I’m hot now! I’m hotter now than I was then!”

Interview with Gloria Scott: 13 November 2006

Acknowledgments: Gloria Scott
© ‘In The Basement’ 2007
Special thanks for David Cole.

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Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on December 6, 2009 at 11:25am
Yeah she kinda fitted right in there Glodean, they both looked and sound alike....LOL
Comment by Edie Antoinette on December 6, 2009 at 10:07am
btw: #9 is my favorite. It is a JAM!!!!!! "Just As Long As We're Together".
Comment by Edie Antoinette on December 6, 2009 at 10:04am
Thanks Dear Baby! I like her voice! Barry was distracted I guess. He and Glodean was hot and heavy around then and she prolly told him he couldn't do nothin' with po Gloria...LOL!

She was surprised that so many people like this album, and that's a shame! Bad Barry! *pap*
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on December 6, 2009 at 9:41am
OUTSTANDING...I can't believe Barry White didn't promote her more and let her career all but ceased. She surely does have the sound and look. Great blog Mama Edie and well done

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Spotlight | Maze

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

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) 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.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪



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