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The Origin of Chicago Steppin'

Posted by Edie Antoinette on December 17, 2007 at 6:30pm 1 Comment

Summer Steppin'

Steppin originated in Chicago's African American community as a dance formerly referred to as the BOP, a smooth calm dance of striding, gliding, dipping, and dabbing to music by popular African American big bands and singing groups during the late 50's and early 60's. Events were hosted at places like Chicago's Savoy, The Club Delisa, The Time square, The Checkerboard, etc.

There were also the famous Rent, Quarter, Waist-line, or Basement parties on a smaller neighborhood scale. There were two select groups of Chicago Boppers in the late 50's and early 60's, who most would agree to be the forerunners of Steppin. They were called *Gousters and Ivy Leaguers: young African Americans from Chicago's West and Southside communities, separated only by fashion and style of dance. Gousters were cool and suave with an adopted style of fashion from the notorious Gangsters of the 40's and 50's,ie., baggy suits (think Zoot) and pleated pants, and were cool, calm, and collective.

Ivy Leaquers were prep school types, the college look, stove pipe pants, crew cuts, knit shirts, Harvard, Yale,…

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Stand By Me!

Started by Ronn Nichols in Poetry and Spoken Word. Last reply by Edie Antoinette Jun 12, 2018. 5 Replies

If you're a fan of world music, then you're in for a treat with Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls' Playing for Change: Peace Through Music, a film that premiered at the 7th Annual Tribeca Film Festival. It isn't really a documentary as much as a…Continue



Chicago Ultimate Dusties


The History of Bopping

"This is me in June of 1969 on my way to the senior prom. It looks like I'm looking back on my youth and the innocence of those times, right before embarking on life up to now. Now...filled with calamity, happiness, unexpected events (Ecclesiastes 9:11), treasures, losses, ups, downs, laughter, tears, and on and on. I be looking---crazy! [insert laughing] Through it ALL my God, Jehovah, has been with me (even when I didn't know who He was yet). (Psalms 83:18) Am I grateful. I am happy as a lark---despite surrounding circumstances. I have that same hopeful look in my eyes 'now' 55 years later, as I live the 'best' life EVER ... and head towards even 'better' days in God's new world."

Reflections By Edie Antoinette



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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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