Ecstasy, Passion & Pain

Band members               Related acts

- Jimmy Clark -- guitar, backing vocals (1973-77)

- Ronald Foster -- keyboards, backing vocals (1973-)

- Billy Gardner -- keyboards (replaced Ronald Foster) (-77)

- Carl Jordan -- percussion (1973-)

- Barbara Gaskins (aka Barbara Roy) -- vocals, guitar


- Althea 'Cookie' Smith -- drums, backing vocals (1973-77)

- Alan Tizer -- percussion (replaced Carl Jordan) (-77)

- Joseph Williams Jr. -- bass, backing vocals (1973-77)


  backing musicians:

- Ronnie Baker -- bass (1974)

- Carla Benson -- backing vocals (1974)

- Evette Benton -- backing vocals (1974)

- Roland Chambers -- guitar (1974)

- Bobby Eli -- guitar (1974)

- Norman Harris -- guitar (1974)

- Barbara Ingram -- backing vocals (1974)

- Ron Kersey -- keyboards (1974)

- Vince Montana -- vibes (1974)

- Len Pakula -- keyboards (1974)

- Don Renaldo -- strings, horns (1974)

- Larry Washington - percussion (1974)

- Earl Young -- drums (1974)




- Barbara and Brenda

- Ronnie Foster

- Barbara Roy (solo efforts)

- Togetherness (Barbara Roy)





Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Ecstasy, Passion & Pain

Company: Roulette

Catalog: New York, NY
Year: 1974

Country/State: G

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: m

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5660

Price: $40.00


You see this outfit routinely described as a disco group which is probably a technically accurate description, but ignores their soul roots. 


Born in Kingston, North Carolina. Barbara Roy (aka Barbara Gaskins) started her musical career as half of the soul duet Barbara and Brenda (her partner being cousin Brenda Gaskins).  The pair recorded a string of little known singles for labels like Heidi and Musicor, but by the mid-1960s they'd run out of steam.  Barbara subsequently shifted her attention to sessions work. By the early 1970s she was ready to head back into the spotlight having decided to form a band.  Billed as Ecstasy, Passion & Pain, by 1973 the line up featured guitarist Jimmy Clark, keyboardist Ronald Foster, percussion Carl Jordan, drummer Althea 'Cookie' Smith, and bass player Joseph Williams Jr..  With help from manager Phil Braxton they scored a contract with Roulette resulting in the release of a series of three singles:


- 1973's 'I Wouldn't Give You Up' b/w 'Don't Burn Your Bridges Behind You' (Roulette catalog number R-7151) # 17 R&B

- 1974's 'Good Things Don't Last Forever' b/w 'Born To Lose You' (Roulette catalog number R-7156) # 93 pop; # 14 R&B

- 1974's 'Ask Me' b/w 'I'll Take the Blame' (Roulette catalog number R-7159) # 52 pop; # 19 R&B


More than willing to cash-in on the group's commercial success Roulette released a supporting album.  Produced by Bobby Martin (Fred Bailin listed as executive producer), the cleverly-titled "Ecstasy, Passion & Pain" collected the six singles ('A' and 'B' sides), rounding the album out with four new studio tracks.   While billed as a band, the credits left little doubt that Ecstasy, Pain & Passion was a starring vehicle for Barbara Roy.  In addition to serving as lead singer and sharing guitar duties with Clark, she was responsible for writing seven of the ten tracks.  The rest of the band may have had their moments, but their talents were largely overshadowed by the Sigma Studio sessions players that provided support throughout.  As lead singer Roy had a tough, soul voice that would have sounded right at home on a Stax album.   Imagine a slightly shriller Gladys Knight and you'd be in the right ballpark.  That old school compatibility came through on ballads like 'Let's Love', 'I'll Take the Blame', and 'Born To Lose You'.  While you might not have expected it, Roy's raw edge proved equally well suited for up tempo, disco-tinged material like 'Try To Believe Me' and the singles 'Ask Me' and 'I Wouldn't Give You Up'.  Whereas a lesser voice would probably have been overwhelmed by the backing from MFSB, Roy had the ability to power her way through the arrangements.  With the possible exception of the hokey 'Don't Burn Your Bridges Down' (which sounded like something Clarence Carter might have written and recorded) the whole album was worth hearing.  If anyone cares my personal favorite was the non-single 'I'll Do Anything for You'.  Well worth checking out and you can still find cheap copies ...


"Ecstasy, Passion & Pain" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ask Me    (Barbara Gaskins) - 3:20

2.) Let's Love    (Barbara Gaskins) - 4:15

3.) I Wouldn't Give You Up    (Barbara Gaskins) - 2:58

4.) I'll Take the Blame    (Barbara Gaskins) - 5:22

5.) Try To Believe Me    (Barbara Gaskins) - 3:15


(side 2)
1.) I'll Do Anything for You   (Mystro - Lyrie) - 3:03

2.) Don't Burn Your Bridges Behind You    (Barbara Gaskins) - 4:28

3.) Somebody's Loving You    (Allan Felder) - 3:18

4.) Born To Lose You    (Barbara Gaskins) - 3:45

5.) Good Things Don't Last Forever   (Bunny Sigler - Allan Felder) - 3:15



With some personnel changes, the group continued to release singles over the next three years.  Interesting witness these foreign picture sleeves, they seem to have attracted considerable international attention.


- 1975's 'One Beautiful Day' b/w 'Try To Believe Me'  (Roulette catalog number R-7163)

- 1976's 'Touch and Go' b/w 'I'll Do Anything For You' (Roulette catalog number R-7182)

- 1976's 'Touch and Go' b/w 'I'll Do Anything For You' (Roulette catalog number RD 2003) 12" format

- 1976's 'There's So Much Love Around' b/w 'Passion' (Roulette catalog number R-7205)

- 1977's 'Dance the Night Away' b/w 'There's So Much Love Around' (Roulette catalog number R-7209)


By 1978 the group had called it quits.  Roy returned to sessions work ad formed her own label - Roy B Records.   



Credit to Barbara Roy and Ecstasy, Passion & Pain, 1981 saw a one-shot  reunion with the release of 'If You Want Me' b/w 'I Got You' (Roy B catalog number RBDS-2516 ).  While the single did well on the club circuit, the band chose not to pursue that success with a full scale reunion.


Roy released a couple of mid-1980s solo sides for RCA and was a member of the short-lived studio R&B super group Paul Simpson/Togetherness.


Keyboardist foster enjoyed considerable solo success as a jazz artist.




I don't own it, but there's also a 1989 two CD, 28 track retrospective.  Released by the British Westside UK label, "Good Things - The Roulette Records 1973- 1977" included the original album, various singles, demo versions, and previously unreleased material (Westside UK catalog number 218)


"Good Things - The Roulette records 1973- 1977" track listing:

1.) Touch And Go (original 7" version)
2.) Ask Me
    (Barbara Gaskins)
3.) Let's Love
    (Barbara Gaskins)
4.) I Wouldn't Give You Up
    (Barbara Gaskins)
5.) I'll Take The Blame
    (Barbara Gaskins)
6.) Try To Believe Me
    (Barbara Gaskins)
7.) I'll Do Anything For You
   (Mystro - Lyrie)
8.) Don't Burn Your Bridges Behind You
    (Barbara Gaskins) 
9.) Somebody's Loving You   (Allan Felder) 
10.) Born To Lose You
   (Barbara Gaskins)
11.) Good Things Don't Last Forever
  (Bunny Sigler - Allan Felder)
12.) One Beautiful Day
13.) There's So Much Love All Around Me
14.) Passion
15.) Dance The Night Away
16.) Touch And Go (12" remix - 1976)
17.) Its A Shame
18.) Pay A Little Attention To Me
19.) Tighter Tighter
20.) Broken Heart At Large
21.) We Can Do It Too
22.) Something Special
23.) Lets Love (demo version)
   (Barbara Gaskins)
24.) Ask Me (demo version)
   (Barbara Gaskins)
25.) Don't Burn Your Bridges Behind You (demo version)
   (Barbara Gaskins)
26.) Slicker From Nowhere
27.) Happy Happy Happy
28.) Touch And Go (12" remix - 1986)