While struggling with the reality of being a human instead of a myth, the
strong black woman passed away. Medical sources say she died of natural
causes, but those who knew her know
She died from being silent when she should have been screaming, smiling
when she should have been raging, from being sick and not wanting anyone
to know because her pain might inconvenience them.
She died from an overdose of other people clinging to her when she didn't
even have energy for herself.
She died from loving men who didn't' t love themselves and could only
offer her a crippled reflection.
She died from raising children alone.
She died from the lies her grandmother told her mother and her mother told
her about life, men & racism..
She died from being sexually abused as a child and having to take that
truth everywhere she went every day of her life, exchanging the
humiliation for guilt and back again.
She died from asphyxiation, coughing up blood from secrets she kept trying
to burn away instead of allowing herself the kind of nervous breakdown she
was entitled to, but only white girls could afford.
She died from being responsible, because she was the last rung on the
ladder and there was no one under her she could dump on.
The strong black woman is dead.
She died from being a mother at 15 and a grandmother at 30 and an ancestor
She died from being dragged down and sat upon by un-evolved women posing
as sisters and friends.
She died from tolerating Mr. Pitiful, just to have a man around the house.
She died from sacrificing herself for everybody and everything when what
she really wanted to do was be a singer, a dancer, or some magnificent
She died from lies of omission because she didn't want to bring the black
She died from tributes from her counterparts who should have been matching
her efforts instead of showering her with dead words and empty songs.
She died from myths that would not allow her to show weakness without
being chastised by the lazy and hazy..
She died from hiding her real feelings until they became hard and bitter
enough to invade her womb and breasts like angry tumors.
She died from always lifting something from heavy boxes to refrigerators
all by herself.
The strong black woman is dead.
She died from never being enough of what men wanted, or being too much for
the men she wanted.
She died from being too black and died again for not being black enough.
She died from being misinformed about her mind, her body & the extent of
her royal capabilities.
She died from knees pressed too close together because respect was never
part of the foreplay that was being shoved at her.
She died from loneliness in birthing rooms and aloneness in abortion
She died in bathrooms with her veins busting open with self-hatred and
And sometimes when she refused to die, when she just refused to give in
she was killed by the lethal images of blond hair, blue eyes and flat
butts, being rejected by the O.J.'s, the Quincy 's, the Cuba 's,
& the Kobe's.
Sometimes, she was stomped to death by racism & sexism, executed by
hi-tech ignorance while she carried the family in her belly, the community
on her head, and the race on her back!
The strong black woman is dead!
Or is she? No she isn't, not if she's reading this!!!!!!!!!!!
Pass this on to all the strong black women that you love, respect, and
I just did...'
Oh and Remember My Brothers .............Find A Way
A BLACK WOMAN SMILE.........TODAY!
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.