Thelma Houston – Jumpin' Jack Flash

Thelma Houston - Jumpin' Jack Flash

As well as being a huge soul & funk fan, those of you who have ever looked at my “About Me” page of the blog will know that I’m also a big fan of 60s beat, garage & psychedelia. So then, what better than a marriage of these styles & soul music? Well that’s exactly what you are getting today and not just any old song but a rousing cover of a huge hit by one of the biggest selling groups ever, The Rolling Stones.

Thelma Houston was born in Mississippi in 1946 and released her debut single “Baby Mine” in 1966. The record sold very few copies and despite releasing a further 3 singles, commercial success was to prove elusive. 1969 saw Houston release her debut album “Sunshower” which was produced and written entirely by the legendary producer Jimmy Webb. All songs except this one of course! As a result of largely disappointing record sales and chart success, Webb suggested that Houston should record a version of The Stones’ massive hit Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Although this was to afford Houston a number of tv appearances, the single failed to make the charts and soon after in  ’71 Houston was signed up by Berry Gordy to Motown Records.

Despite the move across to “Hitsville” Houston was unable to follow the big success of her label mates with half a dozen or so singles being total flops. However – the decision by Motown to have Houston release a cover of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was to prove somewhat inspired as the single shot straight to Number 1 in the U.S. In fact, the record went on to become one of the most successful of the disco era and finally provided Houston with a chart hit some 10 years after her first release.

Further singles were released throughout the 80s and went on to reach the top 40 on both the U.S. R&B & Dance charts, though nothing was album to match the phenomenal sales generated by “Don’t Leave Me This Way”. Houston released her most recent album (A Woman’s Touch) in 2007 and last year released an E.P. entitled “Forty-Two”. 


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