Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thelma Houston sings Patti Dahlstrom

One of the first artists to recognize the genius of Patti Dahlstrom as a songwriter was Thelma Houston.

Thelma knew that as good as a singer might be (and Thelma was always good), the song has to be good, too. Her first album, 1969's "Sunshower," was a Jimmy Webb production. A few years later, Dahlstrom's first album came out...and two tracks on it from the Texas beauty...came to Houston.

Below, Thelma's takes on "I'm Letting Go" and "And I Never Did."

Thelma does a good job on both of them, although to my twisted lobes Patti's much more "hawt," with that strange Texas accent and the earthy burr in her voice. (Thelma was born in Mississippi and raised in California).

It wasn't until 1977 that Houston became a star via "Don't Leave Me This Way", which won a Grammy. By that time, sadly, Ms. Dahlstrom and the ill-fated 20th Century Records label were not a hot topic in the music industry. Patti was burned out as a performer, but still wrote songs that got covered now and then. She also worked as a teacher. For more on her, check other entries on the blog, or buy her "Best Of" CD and read the liner notes. She currently lives in England.

Thelma? Motown went into a sort of panic when she couldn't follow her smash with another Top Ten hit, but she kept trying. She released four albums in the late 70's plus two more featuring Jerry Butler. Without a major single, she started the 80's at RCA for a two-record deal, then moved to MCA for two more, "Thelma Houston" in 1983 and "Qualifying Heat" in 1984. Six years later, 1990, she got a one-album deal from Reprise. And the industry collapsing as it did, it's no surprise that there was an even longer wait for the next one: "A Woman's Touch" in 2007.

When you add it up, though, Thelma's released two dozen albums, been in the business 44 years, and "is a legendary Pop / Motown / Disco and R&B music icon." She says so herself on her dotcom, which also mentions that her latest single is "Last Dance." And even if it's on iTunes for pennies in royalties, you can bet it's not the last dance for her.

Patti and Thelma from the original or listen on line. No quirky links taking you to dodgy sites, no Kim Dotcom asking you to pay for a premium account, no Paypal donation requests.

THELMA I'm Letting Go

PATTI I'm Letting Go

THELMA And I Never Did

PATTI And I Never Did

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