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Rhythm Revue Spotlight on Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler and the Harlem Hit Parade Tapes

Jerry Butler & The Impressions
Vee-Jay Records
Jerry Butler & The Impressions

Singer, songwriter Curtis Mayfield...

"I was born in 1942, Cook County, Chicago Illinois. I lived all over Chicago. As you know during those years, Chicago was pretty much a blues town, plenty of Muddy Waters, Little Walter and quite a few others."

In 1957, a young singer named Jerry Butler invited Curtis Mayfield to join a group called The Roosters

"We used to woodshed and sing a little bit. We'd go to little different places where we'd perform. We got a lot of slack on that Roosters, but finally we met a gentleman who seemed to be honestly interested in trying to help the group. His name was Eddie Thomas. He decided his first thoughts when he got in his car was you've got to change that name. We thought on it for a few and someone said you really want to make a real impression and that stuck. We then became The Impressions. In the early part of '58 we walked into Vee-Jay Records where it was on a Saturday and snow was up to your neck in Chicago. We ran into a fellow by the name of Calvin Carter who was the A & R man and the record company Vee-Jay Records of course was owned by Vivian Carter and there was a president named Little (Ewart) Abner. We sang a song called 'Your Precious Love' on the steps in that little distribution place and Calvin just flipped . He loved it. He called Little Abner down. He came to the top of the stairs and he took a listen."

"For Your Precious Love" featured lead singer Jerry Butler. Jerry Butler left the original Impressions soon after their first hit..

"Curtis came to help me out on a date around Philadelphia. The guitarist who had been playing for me, Phil Upchurch had decided he was going to take another position and kind of left me the day before an engagement and I called Curtis to help me out. Out of that he and I composed of songs 'He Would Break Your Heart' and 'Find Another Girl' which became a hit."

It's All Right - Impressions
Harlem Hit Parade (Theme) - Little Isidore & the Inquisitors
Juke - Little Walter
I Just Want to Make Love to You - Muddy Waters
Little Young Lover - Impressions (Vee-Jay version)
For Your Precious Love - Jerry Butler & the Impressions
Find Another Girl - Jerry Butler

Felix Hernandez started his career as a producer and radio journalist while in college. In the 1980’s, Felix independently produced the award-winning radio series BluesStage, which had a 6 year run on over 200 NPR stations. He also worked extensively as a journalist with WBEZ in Chicago, and NPR.