Wednesday, 6 May 2015

LINDA JONES "I WHO HAVE NOTHING" (1969)

I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Adore you, and want you so
I'm just a lonely girl,
with nothing to give you but love, oh
I love you

You, you buy her diamonds
Bright, sparkling diamonds
Oh, but believe me, hear what I say
You may give her the world,
but she'll never love you the way
I love you

You can take her any place she wants
to fancy clubs and restaurants
Where I can only watch you with
my nose pressed up against the window pane

I, I who have no one
I, I who have nothing
Oh, I must watch you go dancing by
wrapped in the arms of some other girl
Darling it is I who love you
Don't you know don't you know that I love you
Oh, I love you baby
Don't you know that I love you
I love you...


[from the lyrics of "I Who Have Nothing"]


"I Who Have Nothing", front cover of the Portuguese EP, 1969

Linda Jones was born in Newark, New Jersey, on January 14, 1944, and she first sang in public in her hometown at the age of six. She cut her teeth in church, regularly treading the gospel path as part of The Jones Singers, a group comprised of her whole family.

Through this background Linda developed and nurtured her most predominant vocal technique: the melisma, the art of spreading a word or syllable over several rapid notes up and down the scale. In later years she took to singing spirituals every morning to exercise her voice.

Linda's childhood was plagued by a severe history of diabetes, and this condition only worsened during her adulthood. Small wonder her artistry reflected the desperate determination to triumph over pain and loneliness.

As her prowess developed, she moved towards the secular field, and soon began to accumulate trinkets and trophies from winning a host of talent shows and amateur nights. This trend continued until she grew into her teens, and the talent show medals began to metamorphose into dollars and dimes from gigs at local nightspots.

This presumably led to what is reputed to be her first recording under the name Linda Lane: "Lonely Teardrops", a cover of a song originally performed by Jackie Wilson in 1958, backed with "Cancel the Celebration", was produced by Bill Cook, manager of Roy Hamilton, and was released sometimes in 1963 on Cub Records, a subsidiary that MGM Records started in the late '50s for Rhythm and Blues releases.

Linda's short-lived but musically powerful career began in earnest when producer/songwriter George Kerr entered her life around 1964. Kerr, who had a brief stint as a member of Little Anthony & The Imperials, met Linda through a mutual friend, songwriter Gerald "Jerry" Harris, when she was performing at a local club. At the time Linda was working at a pie factory, and Kerr soon became her mentor, using his connections to secure a short term record deal with Atlantic.

On October 19, 1964, Linda went into the Atlantic Studios on Broadway in New York City and cut three songs composed by Kerr and Harris: "Take the Boy Out of the Country" and "I'm Taking Back My Love", which were released as a one-off single on Atco in 1965, and "I Need You", an unreleased track likely lost to posterity due to the infamous Atlantic Records warehouse fire in February 1978.


"I Who Have Nothing", back cover of the Portuguese EP, 1969

In 1966, Kerr and his new protege mad a brief stop at Leiber & Stoller's Blue Cat Records, a subsidiary of Red Bird Records, for another one-off single which included the songs "Fugitive From Love" and "You Hit Me Like TNT", once again both penned by him and Harris.

Later on, Kerr gave Linda a shot at a song written by friend Richard Poindexter (one of the Poindexter Brothers along with Robert: both would go on to have success with The Persuaders in the early '70s) together with Gloria Florence Spolan. 

With a vibrant and emphathetic Richard Tee arrangement, the legendary emotion-packed "Hypnotized" was recorded in one take during April 1967 in New York, along with "I Can't Stand Lovin' My Baby". As the story goes, Linda was just learning the song, but Kerr told the engineer to hit the record button and the touching performance was preserved.

"Hypnotized" proved to be a turning point for both Linda and her producer. A promo man at Brunswick liked it but the label was busy, so he directed Kerr to Loma, a Rhythm and Blues label that Warner Brothers had just started. Jerry Ragovoy, head of Loma, instantly detected the song's potential and a deal was easily arranged.

The single entered the charts in June 1967. Within weeks Linda was signed to Ruth Bowen's famous Queen Booking Agency, and with some new photos and a new wardrobe, she was ready to hit the road. Working with promoter Henry Wynn, known for producing multi-act R&B packages that would criss-cross the U.S., Linda did shows with all manner of artists including Jackie Wilson, The Vibrations, The Chantels, The Bobettes and others.

With her highly emotive style, Linda literally had audiences hypnotized and, as she toured, the "Hypnotized" single kept rising on the charts, finally reaching #4 on the Billboard R&B Chart and #21 on the Hot 100. This proved to be the label's best-selling record and Loma asked Kerr to do an album.


A Billboard advert for the "Hypnotized" single, 1967

Over two sessions in New York City, on June 21 and August 4, 1967, Linda cut a total of nine songs. Kerr masterminded the sessions while famed keyboardist Richard Tee provided arrangements. Players like guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Bernard Purdie added their musical magic and the Poindexter Brothers did all the background vocals.

"What Have I Done (To Make You Mad)" was issued in October '67, with "Make Me Surrender" as its flip, and became another top 10 R&B hit but only struggled to #61 on the Pop listings. A third single, "Give My Love a Try" backed with a version of The Soul Sisters' "I Can't Stand It" was released in January 1968 and enjoyed moderate sales, struggling to #34 R&B and a dismal #93 on Pop. On the strenght of its title track, the "Hypnotized" album actually made it to the R&B Top 30.

Culled from a session recorded earlier during that year, Sammy Turner's "My Heart Needs a Break" was issued as a single sometimes during Spring '68 backed with "The Things I've Been Through". It peaked at #50 in the R&B charts, becoming Linda's final charted entry during her two-year tenure with Loma.

On the same session Linda also recorded "What Can I Do (Without You)", another Turner co-penned tune arranged by Robert Banks (also known for his work at the time with Thelma Jones), and a version of The Beatles' "Yesterday", which were released as a single in 1968.

Linda's last single for Loma consisted of two tracks recorded in August 1968 at Broadway Studios in Manhattan. Side A surprisingly offered Poindexter Brothers' "It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back)" while a stunning version of "I Who Have Nothing" - previously recorded by the likes of Ben E. King, Dee Dee Warwick and Shirley Bassey - was relegated to the flip side...

Unfortunately Loma folded early in 1969. During the same year Warner Brothers released a single with the two songs Linda recorded in March at her last session for the label: "I Just Can't Live My Life (Without You Babe)", written by George Kerr, backed with "My Heart (Will Understand)" by Eddie Jones.

During the same year, a different version of "Fugitive From Luv", another song recorded for Loma back in August 1967, was released by Cotique as a split-single which offered Bessie Banks' "Go Now" on the other side.


Linda Jones, promotional picture, circa 1967

In mid 1969 George Kerr signed Linda to Neptune, a label owned by Philadelphia's Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff which was the forerunner to the Philadelphia International Records hit factory. The first Neptune single, "I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow / That's When I'll Stop Loving You" revealed a more aggressive, even hysterical-sounding vocal.

Never a singer noted for restraint, Linda's style became increasingly volatile and fraught with desperation and urgency as her career progressed. Making fewer concessions to the demands of the Top 40 programming, Linda's attack was wildly exuberant, her desperation bearly overwhelming, her phrasing with melismas, shrieks and gasps. Her second and last Neptune release, "Ooh Baby You Move Me / Can You Blame Me?", continued the progression.

While "Hypnotized" found Linda taking a relatively subtle approach to her music, her subsequent sides captured her at full strength, and though soul purists (especially Northern Soul collectors in the U.K.) treasured her records, she never had another major hit.

In 1971, by the time she had changed her base from New York to New Jersey to sign with All Platinum's Turbo subsidiary, Linda was in a bad way. Her medical condition was deteriorating as her illness began gaining the upper hand.

Aware of her problems, All Platinum's owners Joe and Sylvia Robinson put her on the staff payroll and gave her liberal studio freedom, thus helping to ensure her a reasonable, regular diet to combat the illness. Linda took to going to the studio almost every other day as music was a mean of forgetting the pain she was often in.

Despite the dismal sound reproduction of the three Turbo album releases ("A Portrait of Linda Jones", issued early in 1972, and "Your Precious Love" and "Let It Be Me", both released the same year after her untimely passing), Linda's frantic overwrought vocals sharply reflected her torment.

As Russell Gersten wrote in Rolling Stone, "Singing became a life and death matter for Linda at her last few recording sessions... Whatever little poise and restraint she at one time had, disappeared." Gersten also wrote that listening the singer's final sides made him imagine "someone down on her knees pounding the floor, suddendly jumping up to screech something, struggling to make sense of a desperately unhappy life."


Linda Jones as pictured on the cover of "Your Precious Love", circa early '70s

Early in 1972, Turbo's single "Your Precious Love" brought Linda back to both the R&B and Pop charts, Many consider this to be the ultimate rendering of the old hit by Jerry Butler and The Impressions.

British critic Ian Hoare regards it as "the quintessential Deep Soul record", even beating out Lorraine Ellison's masterful "Stay With Me". He accurately describes it as a "spine-chilling piece of histrionic desolation". After the song's spoken introduction, which has an intense sermon-like quality, Linda explodes into a one-woman vocal hurricane, the like of which is not to be heard elsewhere.

The single entered the charts in February 1972 and began climbing, peaking at just #74 on the Hot 100 and a more respectable #15 in the R&B list. Linda's diary was full of work and she was actively promoting the single just weeks before she died.

After a matinee performance at the Apollo Theatre in New York in March, Linda went to her mother's house in Newark to eat dinner and take a nap before playing her evening show, but when her mother tried to wake her, she discovered Linda had slipped into a diabetic coma. She was rushed to the hospital but she didn't regained consciousness and died on March 14.

Because of her remarkable ability to transmute her own pain and suffering into Soul singing of a most astonishing and uncompromising quality, it could be argued that Linda Jones was to Soul what Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Judy Garland were to other forms of music.


"I Who Have Nothing" contains the following tracks:

01. I Who Have Nothing (3:03)
02. It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back) (2:18)
03. What Can I Do (Without You) (2:58)
04. Yesterday (2:28)

All tracks were remastered in May 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files. Both formats offer complete printable PDF artwork.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.





The "I Who Have Nothing" EP was released in Portugal by Warner Bros. sometimes in 1969. It combines four tracks that were released the previous year on two singles by Loma; here's some details about them:

"I Who Have Nothing" is a song based on "Uno dei tanti" (One of Many), with music by Carlo Donida and lyrics by Giulio "Mogol" Rapetti, released by Joe Sentieri in 1961; the English lyrics for the song were written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also produced the 1963 Ben E. King version using the backing track from Joe Sentieri's record. The song was later recorded by the likes of Shirley Bassey, Dee Dee Warwick, Tom Jones and... Sylvester! Strangely enough the label gives a writing credit to a certain James Bryant, uhm...

"It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back)" is one of the songs penned for Linda by the Poindexter Brothers, Richard and Robert, along with Charles Harper, while "What Can I Do (Without You)" was written by Sammy Turner, a singer who was popular at the end of the '50s.  Both these tunes were A-sides when released as singles in 1968.

The EP ends with an unavoidable cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday", which - according to the Guinness World Records - is the most recorded song in the world...


Here's the two most famous songs included on this EP: enjoy "I Who Have Nothing", and "Yesterday"!






More information about Linda Jones is available here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Jones

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/linda-jones-mn0000834673/biography

http://www.discogs.com/artist/346244-Linda-Jones

https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/linda_jones

http://www.soulfulkindamusic.net/ljones.htm

http://www.lomarecords.com/loma2091-linda-jones.html

http://www.thenewblackmagazine.com/view.aspx?index=2857

http://www.chancellorofsoul.com/linda.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20140715084454/http://hamptonroads.com/2014/01/everything-i-got-darling-its-yours-drama-linda-jones

http://www.soulmusic.com/index.asp?S=1&T=38&ART=1878

http://soulfuldetroit.com/showthread.php?7969-Linda-Jones-quot-Hypnotized-quot

http://www.answers.com/Q/The_death_of_singer_linda_Jones

http://www.whosampled.com/Linda-Jones/sampled/


If you have any other useful information about the Linda Jones - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

6 comments:

  1. Looking forward to checking this out. Thank you for all the amazing work you do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Jonathan, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

      Delete
    2. MEGA link broken..

      Delete
    3. Thanks, will reupload it soon!

      Delete
  2. Many thanks for this upload!

    ReplyDelete
  3. DOWNLOAD LINKS

    FLAC: http://www.mediafire.com/?6sn...

    MP3: http://www.mediafire.com/?97i...

    If you download any of these files please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important!

    Please let me know about any broken link and deleted or unavailable files: I'll do my best to quickly reupload them.

    ReplyDelete

Be nice, keep it clean, stay on topic, no spam, thank you!!!

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