Clydie King

Band members                              Related acts

- Clydie King (aka Clydie May Critten) -- vocals


  backing musicians: (1971)

- William Allen - congas

- Sandra Crouch -- percussion

- Sonny Fortune -- reeds

- Paul Humphrey -- drums

- Billy Preston -- keyboards

- David T. Walker -- lead guitar

- Bob West -- bass


  backing musicians (1973)

- Carl Arnold -- trumpet

- Jeff Deane - trombone

- Jim Gilstrap -- backing vocals

- Ed Green -- drums

- Michael Green -- trumpet

- Rick Kellis -- sax

- Lenny Macaluso -- lead guitar

- Melissa McKay -- backing vocals

- Nastee - percussion

- Earl Palmer -- drums

- Dean Parks -- lead guitar

- Eric Swanson -- drums

- Peter Swaidon -- drums

- Charlene Tobin -- percussion


  backing musicians: (1977)

- Robby Adcock -- percussion

- Ron Brown -- bass
- Warren Bryant -- conga
- Sonny Burke -- keyboards

- Merry Clayton -- backing Vocals

- Wilton Felder -- bass
- Ed Greene -- drums

- Joe Greene -- backup vocals
- Steven Hines -- keyboards

- Teeny Hodges -- lead guitar
- Victor Lewis -- lead guitar
- Joe Long -- percussion

- Ray Parker -- lead guitar
- Terry Young -- backup vocals
- Monalisa Young -- backup vocals



- The Blackberries

- Bonnie and the Treasures

- The Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles

- Brown Sugar

- Barry Goldberg & Clydie Kin

- Jimmy Holiday and Clydie King

- Little Clydie and the Teens

- Clydie King & the Sweet Things

- Clydie King and Mel Carter

- The Joe Long Sound featuring Clydie King & Pat Hodge

- Don Julian & The Meadowlarks

- Sisters Love



Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Direct Me

Company: Lizard

Catalog: A 20104

Country/State: Dallas, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 8906

Price: $30.00


Clydie King is an artist who has literally appeared on hundreds of hit singles and albums, and yet 99 out of 100 people don't have a clue as to who she is.  As for the one percent who've heard her name, in all likelihood it is probably a result of her affiliation with:


1.) Ray Charles where she was a member of The Raelettes (along with Merry Clayton and  Minnie Riperton) from 1966 to 1969), or

2.) Her work along with Vanetta Fields and Sherlie Matthews in The Blackberries 


Regardless, if you've ever heard King's voice, you're left to scratch your head and wonder how she didn't become a major star in her own right  ...


Born in Atlanta, King's professional musical career started when she was 12.  Fronting Little Clydie and the Teens, she found a mentor in the form of Richard Berry, who helped the group land a contract with the RPM label, resulting in the release of King's debut single:


- 1956's 'A Casual Look' b/w 'Oh Me (RPM catalog number 462)


Over the next decade King recorded a slew of solo side and as a member of various groups.  Needless to say, her discography is a mess.  Here's my stab at putting it together:


As Clydie King

- 1957's ' Our Romance ' b/w 'Written On The Wall' (Speciality catalog number 605)
- 1958's 'I'm Invited To Your Party' b/w 'Young Foolish Love' (Speciality catalog 642)

- 1965's 'The Thrill Is Gone ' b/w 'If You Were A Man' (Imperial catalog number 66109
- 1965's 'Missin' My Baby ' b/w 'My Love Grows Deeper' (Imperial catalog number 66139)
- 1966's 'He Always Comes Back To Me' b/w 'Soft And Gentle Ways' (Imperial catalog number 66172)

- 1967's 'One Of Those Good For Cryin' Over You Days' b/w 'My Mistakes Of Yesterday (Minit catalog number 32025)
- 1967's 'I'll Never Stop Loving You ' b/w 'Shing-A-Ling' (Minit catalog number 32032)
- 1969's 'Love Now, Pay Later' b/w 'One Part, Two Part' (Minit catalog number 32054)

As a member of Don Julian & The Meadowlarks
- 1960's 'There's A Girl' b/w 'Blue Mood' (Original Sound catalog number12)
- 1961's 'It's Stompin' Time (Part 1) ' b/w 'It's Stompin' Time (Part 2)' (Interlude catalog number 101)


As Clydie King & the Sweet Things

- 1962's 'Boys In My Life' b/w 'Promises'  (Philips catalog 40001)

- 1962's 'Turn Around' b/w 'Don't Hang Up The Phone (Philips catalog number 40051)
- 1963's 'Only The Guilty Cry' b/w 'By Now' (Philips catalog number 40107)

As Clydie King and Mel Carter
1962's 'Who Do You Love ' b/w 'The Wrong Side Of Town' (Philips catalog number 40049)

As Bonnie & the Treasures

- 1865's 'Home of the Brave' b/w 'Out Song' (Phi-Dan Catalog number 5005)


As Dana King (not sure if this is actually King or not)

- 1963's 'That Kind Of Love' b/w 'Boy In a Raincoat' (Claridge catalog number 300)


As Jimmy Holiday and Clydie King

- 1967's 'Ready, Willing and Able' b/w 'We Got a Good Thing Going' (Minit catalog number 32012)


The Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles

- 1969's 'The Mighty Quinn' b/w 'Chimes of Freedom' (Ode catalog 121)

- 1970's 'The Times Are a-Changin'' b/w 'Mr. Tambourine Man' (Ode catalog 123)


Over the years King had worked with both Vennetta Fields and Sherlie Matthews.  They'd done sessions work together in various combinations and Matthews co-wrote a song King had recorded ('My Love Grows Deeper').   In 1968 Matthews approached Fields and King with a proposal that they join forces.  The original intent was they serve as an independent entity, singing, writing, arranging, and producing their own material.  They approach Motown which agreed to sign them and as The Blackberries (a nod to their cultural heritge and new boss Berry Gordy), began working, appearing on scores of Motown and outside projects.


And that gets you to 1971 and King's first solo album.  I'd love to know the marketing and politics behind 1971's "Direct Me" -  How did King get hooked up with hard rock producer Gabriel Mekler?  How did she get signed to Mekler's short-lived Lizard label?   Why wasn't this album credited as a Blackberries release?   I could speculate on the reasons (I'm sure it had nothing to do with her slinky good looks), but I'm sure someone out there knows and perhaps they'll take the time to share their knowledge ...  


Unfortunately, nothing on the album line notes answers those earlier questions - 


"Clydie King.  Does the name sound familiar?  It should.  When she was eight years old, Art Linkletter called her "the next Marian Anderson."   But that's not really where it's at.  Clydie has sung with almost every major artist in the pop field - from Dean Martin to B.B King to Crosby, Stills & Nash to the Beatles.  And her voice has been heard in the background of well over 500 albums.  And that's not where it's at either.  If her face looks familiar, that shouldn't come as any surprise; she has appeared on every major television variety show including Ed Sullivan, Kraft Music Hall, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Red Skelton, and several appearances on Hollywood Palace with Sammy Davis.  But that's only part of the story.  Clydie also spent three years with Ray Charles as one of the Raelets (sic) getting it all together and then finally stepping out for duets with the master.  But where it's really at is right here -  ten songs - some written especially for her - that give Clydie King an opportunity to stand alone, a major new talent doing her own thing for the first time."  


As mentioned, released on the small Lizard label, 1971's "Direct Me" teamed King with producer Gabriel Mekler and an impressive roster of studio talent, including long-time friend Billy Preston (King and Preston had known each other since they were children). Musically the set was quite diverse and  thoroughly enjoyable, serving to showcase King's amazing and flexible voice.  Listening to these ten tracks it was easy to see why King was such an in-demand back-up singer.  Blues ('I Can't Go On Without Love'), hardcore soul ('Direct Me'), funk ('You Need Love Like I Do'), pop ballads ('B Minor') and even rock (''Bout Love'), King was capable of handling it all.  With some wonderful arrangements from William Allen (who also provided percussion throughout the album), King made this sound effortless.  Interestingly, judging by the two Mekler originals ('B Minor' and 'First Time, Last Time'), the producer apparently envisioned casting King as a pop star.  And that hints at the album's main shortcoming.  The ten tracks are so diverse you never got a feel for who King was.  Mind you, she handled it all with grace and style, but the album's very diversity made it hard to get a handle on King and probably didn't help sales.   And that encapsulates the album's problems - for soul fans King was probably too rock oriented for comfort, while for rock fans she was too soulful.  How do you get out of such a corner ?  

Commercially the album never had a chance.  Mekler's Lizard imprint was grossly under-capitalized meaning there was little promotional support for the LP and it quickly disappeared.  The good news here is you can still readily find copies of the LP at a reasonable price.


"Direct Me" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) 'Bout Love (Robert West) - 2:57    rating: **** stars

Written by bassist Bob West, ''Bout Love' was a wonderful, up-tempo track that managed to find a sweet spot between rock and soul.  If you've ever wondered what Diana Ross would have sounded like if she'd really cut lose on a rock song, this is a good place to start.  The track was also tapped as the second single.  







- 1971's ''Bout Love' b/w 'First Time, Last Time '(Lizard catalog number 21007)






2.) There's A Long Road Ahead  (Delaney Bramlett - Carl Radle) - 3:00    rating: **** stars

Co-written by Delaney Bramlett and Carl Radle, 'There's A Long Road Ahead' sounded like a strong Delaney and Bonnie track - blue-eyed soul performed by one of the most soulful singers I've ever heard.   Great tune with a funky, muscle shoals-styled feel.  The rest of The Blackeberries simply kill on this one.  

3.) B Minor (Gabriel Makler  - L. Francen) - 2:28    rating: **** stars

For a guy known for his work with the like of Steppenwolf, I have to admit being surprised at how pretty the Gabriel Mekler-penned 'B Minor' was.  Easily the album's prettiest song and would have sounded great on the radio ...   Not sure if King's vocal was multi-tracked, or if that was Venetta Fields and Shirley Matthews (the other two members of The Blackberries) sharing lead vocals.  

4.) You Need Love Like I Do (Barrett Strong - Norman Whitfield) - 3:12    rating: ***** stars

'You Need Love Like I Do' found King and the Blackberries literally slashing their way through one of the best early '70s slices of hard core soul I've ever heard.  Seriously, try sitting still through this one ...  even by eight year old dances when I play this one.  

5.) The Long and Winding Road  (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 3:24   rating: ** stars

While it wasn't bad and served to underscore King's higher vocal registers, her heavily orchestrated cover of The Beatles' 'The Long and Winding Road' just didn't match up to the rest of side one.   


(side 2)

1.) Direct Me (Steve Cropper - Otis Redding) - 2:25    rating: **** stars

So how could you go wrong with an Otis Redding and Steve Cropper composition ?  Well, you can, but King doesn't, trotting out her rawest, throatiest voice to turn in a killer take on 'Direct Me'.  The woman literally sounded like she gargled with a cup of nails.  Great tune.   

2.) Ain't My Stuff Good Enough for You? (Shirley Matthws) - 2:41    rating: **** stars

Written by Shirley Matthews and previous recorded by The Mirettes (it was also released as a single), 'Ain't My Stuff Good Enough for You?' was another track that sounded like a full fledged Blackberries effort (love their backing vocals on this one).        

3.) First Time, Last Time (Gabriel Mekler) - 2:14    rating: **** stars

The second Mekler original, 'First Time, Last Time' was another sweet pop ballad.  To my ears if almost had an early-'60s girl group feel that was old fashioned, quaint, and lovely.  

4.) Never Like This Before (Booker T. Jones - Isaac Hayes  David Porter) - 2:48    rating: **** stars

King's blazing cover of Booker T.'s 'Never Like This Before' placed her right back in Stax soul territory.  With Fields and Matthews chirping along in the background, this was simply wonderful with a gigantic amount of commercial potential, which is probably why it was tapped as the lead-off single.  





- 1970's 'Never Like This Before' b/w 'The Long and Winding Road' (Lizard catalog number 21005)







5.) I Can't Go On Without Love (R.L. Williams) - 3:20    rating: **** stars

Much to my surprise, the bluesy closer 'I Can't Go On Without Love' was also one of my personal favorites.  Kicked along by Billy Preston's keyboards and David T. Walker's lead guitar, King turned in a dazzling  performance. 



Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Brown Sugar Featuring Clydie King

Company: Chelsea

Catalog: BCL1-0368

Country/State: Dallas, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/ VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 198

Price: $20.00


Along with Venetta Fields and Shirley Matthews, by the early 1970s Clydie King was attracting considerable attention as a member of The Blackberries.   The group's successes included an interesting series of collaborations with Steve Marriott and Humble Pie.  The Blackberries appeared on a couple of Humble Pie albums and even toured with the band.  Marriott was so impressed that he even began recording an album featuring the group (Humble Pie providing backup).  Unfortunately by early 1973 the collaboration have begun to run out of steam and King packed up, returning to the States.


Back in the States, under the moiniker Brown Sugar, King's next release an obscure single on the small Bullet label:


- 1973's 'Don't Hold Back' b/w 'Loneliness (Will Bring Us Together Again' (Bullet catalog number 711)


The single did nothing commercially but attracted the attention of the large Chelsea label which reissued the track nationally:


- 1973's 'Don't Hold Back' b/w 'Loneliness (Will Bring Us Together Again' (Chelsea catalog number 78-0125)


Once again the single vanished without much success, but Chelsea decided to finance a Brown Sugar album.  Curiously-titled "Brown Sugar Featuring Clydie King", the title gave you the impression this was a group effort and it probably was (featuring the talents of King along with singers Karen Dempsey, Allison Hobbs and Phyllis Nelson).   Of course that left you wondering why only King was featured on the cover and why there were no performance credits.  Why not just bill it as a Clydie King effort?


"Brown Sugar Featuring Clydie King" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Moonlight and Taming You   (Donna Weiss - Ronnie Wilkins) - 

2.) If You Like My Music   (DOnna Weiss) - 

3.) Soul Asylum   (Donna Weiss) - 

4.) Love Can Bring You Down   (Tim O'Brien - Lenny Macaluso) - 

5.) Loneliness   (Harold T. Beatty)


(side 2)

1.) Real Love   (Harold T. Beatty)

2.) Dance To the Music   (Sly Stone)

3.) Don't Hold Back  (Harold T. Beatty) - 

4.) Weep For Me   (Jimmy Holiday - L.A. King) - 


The album died a quick death, but Brown Sugar saw four more singles released over the next couple of years:


- 1973's 'Didn't I' b/w 'Moonlight and taming You' (RCA Victor catalog APBO-0149)

- 1974's 'Dance To the Music' b/w 'Love can Bring You Down' (RCA Victor catalog number APBO-0239)

- 1976's 'The Game Is Over (What'd the Matter with You' b/w 'I'm Going Through Changes Now' (Capitol catalog number 4198)

-1976's 'Don't Tie Me Down' b/w 'Lay Some Lovin On Me' Capitol catalog number 4367)


The first track "Didn't I", which was also released as a single, is a fine effort - mid-paced, and one of several tracks on the album with almost Diana Ross type vocals.

However, immediately, the album moves into the heavy riffed slow rocker "Midnight and Taming You" which is a huge switch for the listener. It sounds more like a group track, although Clydie is still very prominent.

And third up is the country tinged "If you like my Music"....well kind of country meets gospel. Then, immediately on to the Earth Wind and Fire type funk of "Love can Bring You Down".

There are some excellent cuts - "Soul Asylum", "Loneliness", "Don't hold Back" and the superb gospel "Weep for Me"

Overall - just no consistent style or theme. The straight soul numbers such as "Loneliness", "Soul Asylum" and "Didn't I" are excellent, though.


Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Rushing To Meet You

Company: Tiger Lily

Catalog: TL 14037

Country/State: Dallas, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $450.00


Released on Morris Levy's infamous Tiger Lily taxscam label, Clydie King's third album is a true rarity.  Though "Rushing To Meet You" you was released in 1977, the tracks were certainly recorded earlier that that timeframe.  This is nothing more than speculation on my part, but I'm guessing the songs were actually written around 1972-73; possible as a follow-on to her 1971 release for Gabriel Mekler's Lizard Records, or as a result of The Blackberries work with Steve Marriott and Humble Pie.  Produced by Joe Long and Robby Adcock, the album featured a series of six compositions by Steven J. Hines and Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore.  I don't know a great deal about Hines, other than he also had an album released on Tiger Lily.


"Rushing To Meet You" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Rushing To Meet You by   (Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
2.) Steal Your Love Away   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
3.) Punish Me    (Philip Mitchell) - 
4.) Our Love Is Special   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 

(side 2)

1.) Love You Is So Easy   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
2.) Woman   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
3.) Morning Sun   (Al Green) 
4.) Rushing To Meet You (instrumental)    ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 



In an interested move, undoubtetly with legal rights to do so, the Japanese Vivid label reissued the album in CD format (though even the CD is difficult to locate).  King's affiliation with the taxscam world gets even more confusing (see below)


Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Steal Your Love Away

Company: Baby Grand

Catalog: SE 1062

Country/State: Dallas, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $300.00


Like Morris Levy's Tiger Lily Records, Baby Grand was a taxscam label set up to take advantage of a mid-1970s  IRS loophole that allowed unscrupulous folks to reap gigantic windfall savings by investing small amounts of money in the recording industry in an effort to lose money ...   Only in the United States would something as bizarre as this scheme be possible !

In this case Baby Grand apparently gained access to the Tiger Lily tapes for King's 1977 "Rushing To Meet" you album, repackaging the collection as "Steal Your Love Away".  The Baby Grand release  featured the same eight tracks, though 'Rushing To Meet You' was re-titled 'The Other Side'; at least one of the songs seemed to have a different mix ('Love You Is So Easy'), and the album featured a different running order.

"Rushing To Meet You" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Punish Me    ( Philip Mitchell) - 

2.) Love You Is So Easy   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 

3.) Our Love Is Special   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 

4.) The Other Side (aka Rushing To Meet You by)   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 

(side 2)
1.) Woman   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
2.) Morning Sun   ( Al Green) 

3.) Steal Your Love Away   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
4.) The Other Side (instrumental)   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 


 And from strange to stranger ...



Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Clydie King Steps Out

Company: Baby Grand

Catalog: SE 1062

Country/State: Dallas, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/ VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $300.00


I've spent a little time researching the Baby Grand catalog and can tell you it'struly bizarre with the same releases appearing multiple times; sometimes with different artwork; sometimes with the same catalog numbers ...   who know what was going on.   

Anyhow, here's a perfect example of how goofy it can get.   Having released "Steal Your Love Away" (itself a reissue of an early Tiger Lily album), Baby Grand reissued the album a second time with the same catalog number and track listing, but different artwork.

"Rushing To Meet You" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Punish Me    ( Philip Mitchell) - 

2.) Love You Is So Easy   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 

3.) Our Love Is Special   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 

4.) The Other Side (aka Rushing To Meet You by)   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 

(side 2)
1.) Woman   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
2.) Morning Sun   ( Al Green) 

3.) Steal Your Love Away   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 
4.) The Other Side (instrumental)   ( Steven J. Hines - Catherlin Mitchell Wilmore) - 




Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Imperial & Minit Years

Company: Stateside

Catalog: 509950958122

Country/State: Dallas, Texas

Grade (cover/record): --

Comments: --

Available:  --

Catalog ID:  --

Price:  --


Probably the best currently available retrospective, 2007's "The Imperial & Minit Years" pulled together 21 tracks from Clydie King's mid-to-date 1960s catalog.  In addition to a wide assortment of singles, the set included eight previously unreleased numbers.


"The Imperial & Minit Years" track listing:

1.) The Thrill Is Gone   (Jerry Riopell) - 

2.)  If You Were My Man    (Jerry Riopell) -

3.) Missiní My Baby    (Jerry Riopell) - Gary Zekley

4.) My Love Grows Deeper   (Jerry Ripelle - Sherie Matthews)

5.) He Always Comes Back To Me   (Billy Page)

6.) Soft And Gentle Ways    (Steve Stone)

7.) Ready Willing And Able (With Jimmy Holiday)   (Jimmy Holiday) - 

8.) We Got A Good Thing Going (With Jimmy Holiday)   (Jimmy Holiday) - 

9.) One Of Those Good For Crying Over You Days    (Irwin Levine & Ritchie Adams)

10.) My Mistakes Of Yesterday   (Jimmy Holiday & Oma Heard) -

11.)  Iíll Never Stop Loving You   (Jimmy Holliday)

12.) Shing-A-Ling / One Part, Two Part   (Van McCoy) - 

13.)  Love Now, Pay Later    (Dee Ervin)

14.) Good Kind Of Hurt (previously unreleased)  (Mickey Newbury)

15.) Iím Glad Iím A Woman (previously unreleased)   (Steve Bogard & Mike Utley)

16.) If You Love Me Like You Say (previously unreleased)   (Ike Turner)

17.) Ode To Billy Joe (previously unreleased)  (Bobby Gentry)

18.) Something To Remember You By (previously unreleased)  (Arthur Schwarts & Howard Dietz)

19.) The Way I Love My Man (previously unreleased)

20.) When In Rome (previously unreleased)   (Phil Ochs)

21.) You Canít Make Me Love You (previously unreleased)



* Previously unreleased tracks recorded in 1968