It’s Friday, this week I give you two JAGs (quality soul as opposed to quality motoring!)
Jo Ann Garrett was born in Chicago and would have been only 17 or 18 when these tracks were recorded. She had been discovered at a talent show in 1966 where she had come second to the Five Stairsteps (as described by Robert Pruter in Chicago Soul).
Jo Ann released a total of 14 singles and one album between 1966 and 1973, with most being released on a short spell in the latter half of the 60s on Chess, and then Duo. You can find many of the releases on YouTube and they are all well worth a listen. By her mid twenties Jo Ann had left the music scene. A shame.
Thousand Miles Away is a beautiful song. This Jo Ann Garrett 45 was released on 1967 and is a glorious throwback to the doo wop era. It is a remake of the song that was originally a hit 10 years earlier in 1957 for The Heartbeats. The song also featured in the 1973 film American Graffiti. The Dells are providing backing vocals on this track and the arrangement is, I assume, by Dale Warren (miscredited as Del).
Turn this 45 over and you find Just Say When an irresistible Chicago groove that in fact sounds very Detroit and is very much of its time. On the label, after the title Thousand Miles Away, there is an asterisk. I assume this denotes it as the A side. There is no asterisk after Just Say When, but there should be because it is the equal of its partner.