Bobbi Humphrey: Flute & Vocals
King Errisson: Conga & Background Vocals,
Chuck Rainey: Electric Bass,
David T. Walker: Guitar,
Ron Brown: Bass,
Harvey Mason, Sr.: Drums,
Fonce Mizell: Trumpet, Background Vocals,
Clavinet & Vocal Arrangement
Larry Mizell: Arranger, Conductor,
Background Vocals,
Producer & Vocal Arrangement,
Freddie Perren: Synthesizer,
Jerry Peters: Piano,
John Rowin: Guitar,
Stephanie Spruill: Percussion

Track Listing:

1 Chicago, Damn
2 Harlem River Drive
3 Just A Love Child
4 Blacks And Blues
5 Jasper Country Man
6 Baby's Gone

She has been named “First Lady of the Flute” by the critics and listeners alike and, from the accomplishments in her musical career, deservedly so. For three decades now, Bobbi Humphrey has been playing her special brand of music to audiences around the world. Her professional career began in 1971 when she was the first female signed to Blue Note Records.Certainly a lady playing a flute must have seemed something of a novelty then. Humphrey proved, however, she was not just a “first” or novelty, but a talent to be reckoned with. For in 1973, her LP, Blues and Blues was not only a huge commercial success, but established a strong crossover market for her. Also, in 1973, she was invited to the prestigious Montreux International Music Festival in Switzerland where Leonard Feather, noted critic of the Los Angeles Times, acclaimed her “the surprise hit of the festival”.

Since then Humphrey has continuously proved her sustaining power, for today she is the only successful female urban-pop flutist on the scene. Further proof is the fact that she was acclaimed “Best Female Instrumentalist” (1976 and 1978 to both Billboard and Record World, and “Best Female Vocalist” in Cashbox. This is certainly a milestone for any instrumentalist.Born in Marlin, Texas and raised in Dallas, Humphrey’s training on flute began in high school and continued through her years at Texas Southern University and Southern Methodist University. It was there that Dizzy Gillespie spotted her when he served as a judge in a school-wide competition . With Gillespie encouraging her to pursue a career in New York City, Humphrey wrote a letter to New York’s famed Apollo Theatre and received a telegram soon afterwards telling her, “We have reserved a spot for you on Amateur Night”. She didn’t take further convincing , nor did she have trouble finding her “spot” in the music industry.The title of one of her Epic LPs The Good Life, best describes her career.

Humphrey has played with the best, ranging from Duke Ellington (her third day in New York) to Lee Morgan to Stevie Wonder (featured on Songs In The Key of Life LP in 1977). Between 1971 and 1976, Bobbi recorded six albums for Blue Note Records. In 1974, she recorded the successful Satin Doll LP.1977 was another big year for Humphrey. For the third consecutive year she was voted “Best Flutist” in Ebony Magazine Reader’s Poll. She was signed to Epic Records. She was invited back to the Montreux Music Festival., and honored with the Key to New Orleans. It was not only a year of musical growth but of commercial expansion as well, because in 1977 Humphrey formed Bobbi Humphrey Music Company to publish her compositions as well as composers. She also formed Innovative Artist Management to handle her business affairs.Humphrey has also gone to gather numerous awards and citations for her music.

These awards have included the keys to cities for the United States and a Congressional Appointment to the Community Advisory Committee. Also, the business world has recognized Bobbi’s talents in that arena. She has received various awards for her business accomplishments and high ethics from the City of New York, “Dollars and Sense” magazine, and was featured in financial section of Billbaord Magazine. However, Humphrey’s longevity on the charts has been her greatest award. Her LP Freestyle was one of the hottest LPs during the summer of ‘78. And with her LP The Good Life, the summer of ‘79 was not only good, but hot! The eighties were a period of rapid creative and business expansion, and community activism.Whether it is from the stage of Carnegie Hall or an intimate jazz room in Europe or Atlanta live performing remains her first love. However, she enjoys composing and producing musical jingles for several major corporations, such as Halston and Anheuser Busch and doing solo work for the television on such shows as the “Cosby Show”.

Though she is petite, one can see that she has the talent and heart as big as the State of Texas. Former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins says it best, “Bobbi Humphrey’s dedication to artistic excellence is matched only by her social activism and concern for those in need”. This includes her working on various political campaigns, performing at senior citizens homes, fundraising concerts for the United Negro College Fund, and speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations about the Ethiopian famine in the eighties.Ever growing and seeking new challenges Bobbi produced one of her most exciting and personal LPs entitled “City Beat” in 1989. “City Beat” remained on the Billboard Magazine Black Charts for sixteen weeks. She served as producer, wrote many of the songs and gathered some of her musical friends to share in the treat.As the beat went on, the nineties’ held the promise of some of Bobbi’s greatest musical and commercial expansion.

In 1990 her company Bobbi Humphrey Music, Inc., signed a production agreement with Warner Bros. Records, in which she brought new artists to the label and produced new material. Her agreement with Warner Bros. followed her discovering, and bringing to the attention of Warner Bros. A&R executives, R & B vocalist Tevin Campbell.Following the success of Bobbi Humphrey Music selling in excess of five million units of the Campbell records, Ms. Humphrey boldly launched her label, Paradise Sounds Records, in 1994. She recorded her first release “Passion Flute”, which was recently re-released and continues to be one of her fans’ all-time favorite recording. The album’s concept is to showcase Bobbi Humphrey with a cool jazz setting; mostly at mid-tempo: although there is a surprising uptempo version of his huge hit, “Harlem River Drive.

There are also two original ballads in which Bobbi features the smooth singing of D’wayne Whitehead. Another song features two great artists and friends of Bobbi, Gwen Guthrie on vocal and Ralph MacDonald on percussion. From the first track, “Steppin’ Out” which features Bobbi’s flute on a hauntingly smooth, yet strong hook, to the last track, “Rainbows”, a soaring ballad, her passionate and pure flute playing is ever present. In“Passion Flute”, her fans old and new will surely have a greater passion for Bobbi Humphrey.Contact: Ricci L. Niles 212.860.7500
© 2006 Bobbi Humphrey

"Another album that came out was (1976). There are no weak spots on this album. Everything is excellent. Two tracks stand out- "Chicago, Damn" and "Harlem River Drive". These are classic Mizell productions; vintage keyboards, top notch drumming from "The Mase", and of course the supurb flute playing from Ms. Humphrey. Sure, jazz purists probably panned this album. If they had opened up their minds a little, they would have realized this was an album destined to become a classic. In my book, it already has. A must have for fusion and Mizell fans. GET IT!" ---saltyka

  1. play
    01 Chicago Damn
  2. play
    05 Jasper Contry Man
  3. play
    04 Blacks And Blues
  4. play
    03 Just A Love Child
  5. play
    02 Harlem River Drive
  6. play
    06 Baby_s Gone

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Comment by Edie Antoinette on May 31, 2011 at 12:34pm
Comment by Cherene Snow on May 27, 2011 at 10:23am
Just found this!!! I love Satin Doll!!!! "Rain Again" is Amazing!!!! Love this Woman!!!!
Comment by Edie Antoinette on February 10, 2011 at 4:15pm
Me too Lydell---this is a classic.
Comment by Lydell Jackson on February 10, 2011 at 10:53am
Love me some Bobbi Humphrey...still have a couple of "albums" in the vault...Harlem River is one of my all time fav!
Comment by Edie Antoinette on September 20, 2010 at 12:50pm
Thanks Sweetie! I noticed the album cover wasn't showing so I fixed it. You did me a big favor by commenting! I appreciate you so much! ♥
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on September 20, 2010 at 10:16am
Now this is FANTASTIC!!! i have always loved Harlem River Drive...EXCELLENT BLOG

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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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