Sunday, August 15, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-The Sweet Inspirations
Album: The Sweet Inspirations
Sweet Inspiration was the only top 20 pop hit for The Sweet Inspirations in 1968. But they are probably best known as backup singers for many performers including Elvis Presley. And they are also one of the most gospel based soul groups of the era. Of course that's because they started out as the gospel group The Drinkard Sisters. They recorded for RCA after a performance at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. They were Emily Drinkard, Lee Drinkard Warrick and her daughter Judy Gouins. Lee is also the mother of Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick. Emily got married and became Cissy Houston and of course she's the mother of Whitney Houston. And Judy Gouins would have solo success as Judy Clay. So they started getting session work as backup singers in 1963. The two Warwick sisters and Doris Troy were part of the group. Dionne and Doris left when they had solo success and were replaced by Judy Clay's sister Sylvia Shemwell and and Cissy rejoined after starting a family. Myrna Smith replaced Dee Dee and Estelle Brown joined in 1965. The Sweet Inspirations signed with Atlantic Records and their debut album was released in 1967. Sweet Inspiration reached #18 in 1968. The song was written by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn and Oldham produced the record at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. The Sweet Inspirations continued to be in demand for studio work including Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Dusty Springfield and many others. And they also started recording and touring with Elvis Presley in 1969. He always made a point of featuring them. Cissy Houston left in 1969 and continued mainly as a trio. They recorded an album for Stax in 1973 and for RSO in 1979. This CD is a reisuue of the 1967 album from Collector's Choice. The Sweet Inspirations reformed in 1994 and continue to tour the oldies circuit today. Sylvia Shemwell died in Feb. 2010 and Portia Griffin now tours with the group. Here's The Sweet Inspirations performing Sweet Inspiration from the soon to be released documentary This Time.