1967 - How Can You Mistreat The One You Love / That Man Of Mine (Volt
1968 - Soul Girl / What's Gonna Happen To Me (Volt 156)
1968 - What Will Later On Be Like / Hang Me Down (Volt 159)
1968 - It's Unbelievable (How You Control My Soul) / I Like What You're
Doing To Me (Volt 4005)
1969 - It's Time To Pay For The Fun (We've Had) / Standing In The Need
Of Your Love (Volt 4015)
1969 - Singing About Love / Let Them See In Me (Volt 4035)
196x - Changes (Volt)
196x - I’m In Love With You (Volt)
In the mid-1960s, when the Gospel group The Dolphus Singers evolved into
the secular group Jeanne & The Darlings, they auditioned for Barry Gordy of
Motown Records, but left Motown without a record deal. Shortly afterwards they
signed with Chess Records in Chicago. The group had a recording session, but
Chess didn’t release a record. When the contract expired they switched to the
Stax/Volt label in Nashville.
At that time the group consisted of the sisters Jeanne (also spelled
Jean) and Dee Dolphus, Jeanne’s daughter Paula, and family friend Phefe Harris.
They rolled out six exemplary 45s, but also backed up a number of Stax’ solo
artists, and brought sass, grit and power to the girl group sound.
Isaac Hayes and David Porter wrote and produced their first two Volt (a
subsidiary of Stax) singles: ”How Can You Mistreat The One You Love” b/w “That
Man of Mine” (1967) and “Soul Girl” (1968), nice songs that didn't go. “Soul
Girl” was a re-working of Sam & Dave’s mighty “Soul Man”.
The company assigned Homer Banks and Allen Jones for the third single,
“What Will Later on Be Like,” released late in 1968. Banks, along with Don
Davis and Clyde Wilson (Steve Mancha), wrote “It's Unbelievable (How You
Control My Soul)” a gutty May 1969 release backed with a revamping of Carla
Thomas' “I Like What You're Doing to Me.” Volt issued the final Jeanne &
the Darlings single October 1969, but “It's Time to Pay for the Fun (We've
Had)” didn't even pay the water bill and Jeanne & the Darlings vanished
forever. Two songs, “Changes” and “I’m In Love With You” stayed in the can, and
has been recently released.
1967 - Please Uncle Sam (Send Back My Man) / Something Sweet About My
Baby (Volt 142)
1967 - I'll Gladly Take You Back / Loving Material (Volt 153)
1967 - As Long As I've Got You / Baby Come And Get It (Volt 155)
1968 - Lovin' Feeling / Sea Shell (Volt 4004)
196x - A-Tisket,A-Tasket (Volt)
196x - Baby Hurry (Volt)
196x - I've Done It Again (Volt)
196x - Let’s Exchange Hearts (Volt)
196x - Oo-Oh A-A-A-H (Volt)
196x - Peace Maker (Volt)
196x - Someone Made You For Me (Volt)
Shirley Thomas, Mary Hunt and Mildred Pratchett formed The Tonettes and
put out two sides on the Stax/Volt label. The Trio recorded enough material to
fill four more 45s, but they caught an unexpected break when Nashville label
Sound Stage 7 needed a black female group to go out as The Dixie Belles (Dixiebelles)
to promote a studio-created Hot 100 hit called “Down At Papa Joe’s”.
They returned to the Volt roster in late 1966 as The Charmels (and, on
their final Volt 45, The Charmells). When The Tonettes went back to Stax
Records, it was a move that Shirley Thomas decided not to make. Isaac Hayes, a
proven hitmaker at Stax at the time, took the band under his wings, to make the
transition to The Charmels. Hayes replaced Thomas with baritone Eula Jean
Rivers, leaving Mary Hunt to take the soprano role and Mildred Pratchett the
Whilst listening to the trio, in the studio, Hayes decided they needed a
strong lead voice to complete the ensemble. One night while watching an embryonic version of The Bar-Kays at the
Hippodrome, he heard a female singer named Barbara McCoy sit in with the group.
After the show Hayes approached McCoy and said “I got this group and they need
a lead singer. Are you interested in professional recording?” He then told her
to come down to the studio the next day. There she auditioned on “Walk On By”
which, of course, was the song that in a couple of years would catapult Hayes
to fame as a solo singer. Barbara McCoy was installed as lead singer and the
fourth member of The Charmels. This was the first secular group McCoy had ever
sung with. and she was understandably very nervous. She would often insist that
the studio lights be turned down so that she couldn't see anybody on the other
side of the glass when she was recording.
The first song The Charmels recorded for Stax was “Please Uncle Sam”, a
typically Fifth Dimension sounding high ballad.
“They wrote songs specifically
around my voice and they were always sweet and kind of high,” recalled McCoy.
She said the songs were often written casually in the studio while the group
was hanging around the piano eating chicken and drinking Cherry wine. The
Charmels had a total of four forty-fives issued by Volt, none of which saw any
national chart activity.