JUDY CLAY: GREATEST LOVE (ATLANTIC & STAX RECORDINGS)
A deep soul songstress of the first order, Judy Clay may best be remembered by the record-buying public for duets with Billy Vera (“Storybook Children” in 1967) and William Bell (“Private Number” in 1968); however her solo recordings (primarily for Stax Records and earlier, for Scepter Records) showcase her mastery as a powerful and emotive vocalist who drew on her roots in gospel music to create memorable recordings. Both in North Carolina, Judy’s professional music career began with her work with The Drinkard Singers, the famed family whose members included Emily (Cissy) Drinkard (later, Houston). After brief stints with independent labels in the early ’60s, Judy recorded for Scepter Records (also home to her ‘adopted’ sister Dionne Warwick) and a number of the tracks she cut for the label have since become firm favourites with Northern Soul lovers, available digitally on the ‘Gusto Greatest Hits’ compilation. Judy went on to record for Atlantic and with Stax. Fortunately, the bulk of her recordings are available now digitally and on CD, in particular tracks cut in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1970 for what would have been an entire LP, most now featured on the ‘Greatest Love’ MP album.