Loleatta’s first two albums together on one CD, with four bonus tracks unissued at the time.
Loleatta Holloway was a tremendous soul singer who came naturally to the genre following her years with the famed gospel group the Caravans in her home city of Chicago. She was persuaded to move into R&B by local jazz guitarist, songwriter and producer Floyd Smith, whom she would go on to marry. Her first two 45s were cut in Chicago, but it was her signing to Michael Thevis’ newly formed Aware label of Atlanta, Georgia which started her career in earnest.
With excess ready cash from his various activities, Thevis – a notorious gangster – took Loleatta, Floyd and Detroit executive Marlin McNichols to Atlanta and proceeded to work the music business wholeheartedly. In July 1973, aided by a generous advertising budget, her second Aware 45, ‘Mother Of Shame’, charted and she was quickly into the studios to cut her debut LP, “Loleatta”. Showcasing her vocal talents, the album kicked off with ‘The Man I Love’, a Gershwin standard she handled well. The rest of the record was soul music – a mixture of covers such as ‘Can I Change My Mind’ and mainly new songs from Floyd, Sam Dees and other respected writers.
With only one minor R&B hit to her credit, and being a debut artist, the LP did not sell in any quantity. However, in early 1975 the exquisite Sam Dees-penned love ballad ‘Cry To Me’ went to #10 in the R&B chart, giving her second LP a title on which to hang its hat. Four other top-notch Sam Dees songs were featured, along with re-workings of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Just Be True To Me’ and Ruby Andrews’ ‘Casanova’. Loleatta was developing her own writing, and the excellent ‘I’ll Be Gone’ was included. She also cut several of her own songs that did not come out at the time and were likely lined up for the next stage of her career, which was interrupted when Thevis’ finances faltered and the law caught up with him. We have included three of the best of those songs, which were previously dotted around other Kent CDs, as well as ‘For Sentimental Reasons’ from her first Aware single.