Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Payin' Homage

The Sweet Inspirations had no peer. No girl group could match the sheer soulfulness, vocal harmony, emotional honesty, or vocal intensity of the group. The Sweet Inspirations,consisted of gospel bred singers Cissy Houston, Myrna Smith, Sylvia Shemwell and Estelle Brown, and at one point included at different times Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee Warwick, Doris Troy and Judy Clay. The sweet harmonies of The Sweet Inspirations can be heard on the records of such artists as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Jimi Hendrix, Esther Phillips, The Drifters, Elvis Presley and others. The Sweet Inspirations sang backup for numerous Atlantic Record artists virtually becoming house singers at the label. Atlantic Records is were The Sweet Inspirations released their 1967 self titled debut album, a Top 20 R&B best seller, yielding the hit song 'Sweet Inspiration.' The Sweet Inspirations included recordings of soul nuggets 'Do Right Woman - Do Right Man,' 'Don't Let Me Lose This Dream,' and 'Why Am I Treated So Bad.' Riding the waves of success, the group began working on a second album in the spring of '68. Songs of Faith & Inspiration, a gospel LP, was released in the summer of '68 and included gospel standards 'What A Friend' and 'Down By The Riverside' and the Cissy Houston penned 'Without A Doubt,' 'I Shall Know Him' and 'Looking On The Bright Side.' The group went on to record What The World Needs Now, Sweets For My Sweet, Sweet Sweet Soul for Atlantic and perform occasionally with Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley. In 1969 Cissy Houston left the group and embarked on a solo career. The remaining members released an album, Estelle, Myrna, and Sylvia on Stax Records in 1973. Hit play, sit back and enjoy 'Without A Doubt' from Songs Of Faith & Inspiration, 'Sweet Inspiration' taken from the groups' debut album, 'Why Marry' and 'You Roam When You Don't Get It At Home' off the Stax album Estelle, Myrna, and Sylvia.