Scott, Peggy and Jo Jo Benson

Band members               Related acts

- Jo Jo Benson - vocals (1968-73)

- Peggy Scott aka Peggy Stoutmeyer - vocals (1968-73)



- Jo Jo Benson (solo efforts)

- Peggy Scott (solo efforts)

- Peggy Scott-Adams (solo efforts)





Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Soulshake

Company: SSS International

Catalog: SSS #1

Year: 1968

Country/State: Alabama and Ohio

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap; opened and played once; small bullet hole top left corner

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4730

Price: $25.00

Cost: $66.00


This pair have always somewhat of an acquired taste to my ears, though that hasn't stopped me from buying most of their singles and this album.  They're both quite talented, but they strike me as being a bit on the shrill side.  Scott tends to have a rather harsh delivery (perhaps that's just my perception), while Benson's simply kind of bland (which probably explains why Scott handles most of the leads). The fact they weren't given material nearly as catchy as the Motown or Stax catalogs didn't exactly help their careers.  


Born Peggy Stoutmeyer (easy to see why she opted for a different stage name), Scott's musical roots were in Gospel.  While still in school she formed The Gospel Harmonettes.  By the mid-1960s she'd expanded her repertoire to include non-secular material, including a stint as lead singer for B.B. King's touring band.  Unfortunately a near fatal car crash saw her largely drop out of music.  Jo Jo Benson had a similar journeyman career, including stints supporting The Enchanters, The Upsetters and Chuck Willis.  


Pulling a page out of the Motown marketing manual, 1968 found producer Huey Meaux pulling the pair together.  Meaux was also responsible for recording some demo material which was good enough to get the pair signed to Shelby Singleton's newly formed SSS International label.  They promptly scored a chart hit with the Meaux produced 'Lover's Holiday' b/w 'Here with Me' (SSS International catalog number SSS-736).  


With Singleton stepping into the producers role the pair enjoyed a series of follow-on pop and R&B hits:


- 1968's 'Pickin' Wild Berries' b/w 'Pure Love and Pleasure' (SSS International catalog number SSS-748)

- 1969's 'Soulshake' b/w 'We Were Made for Each Other' (SSS International catalog number SSS-761)


With three pop and R&B hits behind them, SSS International finally got around to releasing an album in 1968.  Largely produced by Singleton, 1968's "Soulshake" served to compile the earlier singles, along with new studio material.  In the wake of some of my earlier comments you might be surprised to learn that the album's surprisingly enjoyable.  Scott and Benson may not have been the most explosive duet you've ever heard, but tracks such as 'Blow Your Mind' and 'Til the Morning' offered up some excellent old school soul which was even more intriguing for sporting a distinctive country influence.  Even cooler were tracks like 'We Got Our Bag', ''TIl the Morning Comes' and 'Love Will Come Sneaking Up On You' that showcased Jerry Kennedy's electric sitar ...  Real interesting and unexpected combination which Thom Bell would steal for Philadelphia International in a couple of years.


"Soulshake" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Soulshake   (Myra Smith - Margaret Lewis) - 2:24

2.) We Got Our Bag   (Steve Singleton) - 2:35

3.) We Were Made for Each Other   (Steve Singleton) - 3:03

4.) Here with Me   (J. Jones - Bob McBee) - 2:00

5.) Blow Your Mind   (Myra Smith - Margaret Lewis) - 2:30

6.) Lover's Holiday   (Thomas - Bob McRee - Thomas) - 2:34


(side 2)
1.) 'Til the Morning Comes   (Myra Smith - Margaret Lewis) - 2:59

2.) Doin' Our Thing   (Myra Smith - Margaret Lewis) - 2:46

3.) Love Will Come Sneaking Up On You   (Willie Young) - 2:20

4.) Fine as Frog Hair   (Myra Smith - Margaret Lewis) - 2:20

5.) If That's the Only Way   (Ben Peters) - 2:05

6.) Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries   (Thomas - Bob McRee - Thomas) - 2:50






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