CLYDIE KING: ‘The Imperial & Minit Years’ (Label: Stateside)

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CLYDIE KING: 'The Imperial & Minit Years'

As a background vocalist in the 1970s, Texas-born singer, Clydie King, sang with anyone who was anyone in the spheres of rock and pop music – as an in-demand back-up singer, she contributed vocals to best-selling albums by The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan (she was also his girlfriend for a time), Steely Dan, Barbara Streisand, Joe Cocker, Elton John, Neil Diamond and even the redneck rock group, Lynyrd Skynyrd. But as any soul connoisseur will tell you, this former Raelet was much more than a mere background vocalist – her career started way back in the ’50s when as a 13-year-old she cut a 45 as Little Clydie for the RPM label. A precociously talented youngster, Clydie also cut sides for Specialty and Phillips before joining Liberty’s Imperial imprint in 1964. The church-reared chanteuse’s tenure at Imperial is the focus of this superlative new compilation – put together by David Cole and Bob Fisher – which also showcases material she cut for Liberty’s Minit label in the latter half of the ’60s. Clydie’s early Imperial sides are prime examples of delicious mid-’60s femme pop-soul boasting an epic Phil Spector-style production sound: ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ is a dramatic big ballad, while the superb ‘Missin’ My Baby’ – which can exchange hands for £200 in its original vinyl form – is a gorgeous slice of dreamy, sophisticated, soul-infused pop reminiscent of ’60s girl groups like The Royalettes. By contrast, there’s a palpable Motown feel to the driving ‘He Always Comes Back To Me.’ Clydie’s stint at Minit yielded a couple of strong duets with Jimmy Holiday (the Motown-esque ‘Ready Willing & Able’ and ‘We Got A Good Thing Going’) and a fantastic ballad called ‘One Of Those Good For Crying Over You Days.’ A real coup for this collection is the inclusion of eight previously unissued songs Clydie recorded in 1968. Among them is a noteworthy version of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode To Billie Joe’ and a slice of funkafied country-soul called ‘I’m Glad I’m A Woman.’ A worthy addition to any soul collection.
(CW) 4/5