Rita Graham – 1969 – Vibrations
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Legendary jazz, blues and soul singer Rita Graham was born near Charleston, Virginia. She grew up in Detroit, where her father ran a barber shop/beauty parlor that featured a rather unforgettable jukebox. Her mother, a jazz pianist, also exposed Rita to a wide variety of performers and styles.
In her late teens, Rita moved from Detroit to California. Rita loved music more than anything and she knew that making music was her destiny. She finished three years of college while singing around the clubs and skipped her last year of college to ‘just sing’.
After moving to Los Angeles, California in the 1960s, Rita was approached by Lou Barreto where she recorded the UK Northern Soul Classic, Gone with the Wind Is My Love, a song originally performed by Rita and The Tiara’s. This is an evergreen favourite on the Northern Soul scene with many considering it to be one of their all time favourites.
Right after Gone with the Wind Is My Love, she got a gig working with a Rhythm and Blues Band in Sydney, Australia. It was in Australia, where Rita met Ray Charles.
Rita’s career as a soul/jazz vocalist was jump-started when Ray Charles produced an album of lush standards for her in 1969. Her LP, Vibrations is the only major project that Ray Charles produced for a female artist on his label Tangerine Records.
A1 You Better Go Now 2:55
A2 Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars 2:15
A3 (There Is) No Greater Love 4:03
A4 Meditation 3:26
A5 P.S. I Love You 3:20
B1 Charade 2:37
B2 The Genie 2:55
B3 My Cup Runneth Over 2:14
B4 You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To 2:59
B5 If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight) 3:07
After the album was completed, Rita joined the Ray Charles vocal group, the Raylettes, and toured with the Ray Charles Show.
After being one of Ray Charles’ Raelettes, she spent several months on the road opening for Oscar Peterson, Redd Foxx, and George Kirby, plus a two-year featured spot with the Harry James Orchestra, on European and Far East tours, and a series of recordings produced by TV composer Mike Post.
In 1974, she landed the role of Coretta Scott King in the docu-musical production of Selma. She reprised the role off-Broadway in 1983. This was also the time that comedian Redd Foxx brought Rita to Atlanta to perform scenes from the play, Selma, at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference event.
Seven years later Ms. Graham relocated to Atlanta to be a featured vocalist in the African-American Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Graham recorded and produced a live CD of jazz and blues standards, “Rita Graham Live at Sambuca Atlanta” where she was known as “The First Lady of Sambuca” (Atlanta’s famed jazz supperclub) from 1999-2009.
Rita has performed with other jazz greats such as the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Mercer Ellington to name a few. At present, Rita performs with several Atlanta bands and is featured with Sammy Blue and The All-Star Georgia Music Revue.
‘My Cup Runneth Over With Love’ is also a Northern Soul Hit
From liner notes by Lu Washigton
Vibrations are Blended!
It is no accident that this album is possessed with the exquisite qualities therein. Rita Graham compined her innate musical talents with the painstaking aid of Ray Charles to produce this unusual work. From the time of herinitial discovery by Ray Charles, he has worked relentlessly with miss Graham in developing her style.
Vibrations are Grasping on “If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight” and “You Better Go Now“. Rita sings out her request with a convicing approach and crandles each note with wormth and meticulous care.
Vibrations are latin!”Quiet Nights” and “Meditation” offer a Bossa Nova approach and a verry happy snappy rhythm witch Rita amplays vibrantly.
Vibrations are Soathing and Relaxing as Rita sings “P.S. I Love You“, “(There Is) No Greater Love” and “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To“. All are poignant standard ballands that still have very define meanings today. These tunes show Rita involved completely with lyrics.
Vibrations are Bluesy! on “Genie“. The orchestra evolves into a tightly knit unit worthy of Sid Feller’s special arrangements.
Vibrations are Lightly Rock on “My Cup Runneth Over“. Here Rita shows her ability to mix the ingredients of rhythms, style and projection to create a driving number.
Vibrations are are Exciting on “Charades” as Rita stretches out on this Henry Mancini winner and becomes immediately a winner herself! She takes advantage of the dashing 6/8 rhythm with a gusty strokes dipping her brush in and out of exciting bright melodic colors as if she were Renoir – alive and living!
Vibrations……You will feel them with every note as Rita Graham sings…