Friday, August 12, 2011

Beside myself : she's been here all the time

Time to wrap up this series of B sides. I’m finishing it with an extra special one.

This is a song I have featured here before (nearly 5 years ago – I can’t believe it!), but it’s worth a “re-up” because a) it’s a beautiful tune, and b) there is more to tell about Debbie Taylor.

As I demonstrated in a recent post about Ace Jones it seems that “all our yesterdays” are continually being fleshed out as more and more people connect with the Internet and share their knowledge and experiences. With that in mind it always pays to occasionally perform a fresh trawl of the WWW (as a public resource now 20 years old!) to try and address some unanswered questions.

I finished my post about Debbie Taylor back in 2006 by asking a question I think many others in Soul music circles had been asking for some time: “I wonder where life took her (Debbie) after 1976?”. Because she would appear, around then, to have completely dropped off the Soul music radar, very soon after the release of the stunning 45 of which “Just Don’t Pay” is just one side.

Well, it turns out she has been out there performing all the time, and she is still very much with us, having a 2011 released CD on which it is plain to hear her voice is still very much intact. Debbie Taylor was in fact the recording name of Maydie Myles. As with many of the great Soul singers of the Sixties, Maydie had started her musical career in church, in Norfolk, Virginia. Her family were strongly religious and her father was the pastor of the church. Maydie loved singing Jazz and R&B too, though, and took the name Debbie Taylor in an attempt to hide from her parents the fact that she was moonlighting in the local nightclubs singing secular music. Her recording career, initially with Decca, started soon after and the name stuck.

I’m guessing the “death” of real soul music in the mid Seventies left her without a recording contract and at that time, being by then very much her own woman, it would have been natural to revert to her real name.

You can read a detailed bio (from which info presented here is gleaned) on her own website. Interestingly it includes a list of jingles she has sung on. There are plenty of household names on that list so the chances are, if you lived in the States in the Eighties/Nineties (I guess), you probably heard Maydie Myles/Debbie Taylor singing to you even if you weren’t aware of it.

I also notice that “Just Don’t Pay” is not included on the discography on Maydie’s site. An oversight that should be corrected as this song is just too good to be overlooked.     


davyh said...

Love these stories and how, as you say, the www means these records and artists continue to be heard.

Welcome back, btw!

Marc said...

I'm particularly taken with the deep slowie 'I'll Cry Tomorrow' on Jesse 'Wild Bill' Austin's 'Baby's Back' CD (Roesch Records)
You can listen to an extensive telephone interview and more of Debbie/Maydie's wonderful music on the 'Right Track Soul Show'.
Go here

Keep 'em coming and cheers,