Jean Wells story is not an extraordinary one in the world of soul. although her voice certainly was. Her biggest hit >Have A Little Mercy< from 1967 was a glorious slice of deep soul. a plea to a lover. whom she is addicted to. but who doesn t seem to notice. Her gospel-trained voice perfectly encapsulating those feelings. whilst a stark arrangement dominated by an ethereal organ and dramatic horn stabs heightens the unbearable effect this man is having on Jeans life. Yet at the time this record only reached number 25 in the R&B charts. just another bit of genius amongst many. thrown out by the black American music industry at one of its most creative and profligate periods.
Jean left us with a fantastic recorded legacy. of which her recordings for Clyde Otis. which are gathered here. are the choicest cuts.
Her start in the music industry began in 1966 when she met up with producer and A&R man Clyde Otis, who decided to sign her to his production company Argon. Otis had had great success at Mercury Records where he had produced Brook Benton, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan in the late 50s and Clyde McPhatter who he signed to the label in 1960. Since striking out on his own he had produced some of Aretha Franklin’s finest pre-Atlantic recordings for Columbia including the wonderful 'One Step At A Time' which has recently been revived by soul DJs and producers of re-edits alike. With Jean he saw a singer who could be every bit as good as Aretha or Dinah Washington, similar big sounding singers. A decade later she had already left the industry and according to Clyde Otis she went into the gospel field.
(added: 2012-02-29 15:20:35 )