Monday, October 20, 2008

Soul Heaven

Dee Dee Warwick (1945-2008)
Dee Dee Warwick has joined fellow soul singer Levi Stubbs on the highway to heaven. Delia Mae Warrick passed away Saturday at a nursing home in her native New Jersey. She was 63. Known to the world as Dee Dee Warwick, Delia Mae began her singing career began in 1950's New Jersey, singing gospel with her sister Dionne and aunt Cissy. She was a member of The Gospelaires, The Drinkard Singers (a gospel outfit that featured some of Warwicks' aunts and uncles and was managed by their mother), and The Sweet Inspirations before embarking on a solo career. Along with Dionne, Cissy, Doris Troy, and The Sweet Inspirations, she was one of New York's most in-demand session vocalists, contributing to numerous records by the likes of the Drifters, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Jackson, Garnet Mimms, Nina Simone, and Wilson Pickett. Unfortunately, Dee Dee would remain in the shadows of her famous sister, recording for various labels and garnering sporadic hits and very little support from her labels. However, Dee Dee was able to reach the top of the charts with a few hit songs such as "I Want to Be With You," "Foolish Fool," "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," and "She Didn't Know (She Kept On Talking)." Since the mid-'70s, she has done backup vocals for Dionne Warwick, and recorded sporadically on her own. More recently, she recorded "Family First" with sister Dionne, cousin Whitney, and aunt Cissy, for the soundtrack to the Tyler Perry movie Daddy's Little Girl. Earlier this year, Dee Dee joined her sister in Europe, providing background vocals for Dionne's one-woman autobiographical show, "My Music & Me," which played to sold-out crowds.