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A Little Soul In Your Bowl: Baby Washington — NYC Soul

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Why isn't this photo centered? I thought we stopped putting Baby in a corner.

A Little Soul In Your Bowl is here, in conjunction with Humpday Videos, to give you a midweek musical injection that is completely free for your broke-ass. This periodic post provides you with music that might brighten your day, could never be considered bad, and will definitely put a little soul in your bowl.

There are plenty of soul songs about New York, but it is not well-known as a primary soul source. It’s no Memphis, Detroit, Chicago or even Alabama. But, as you probably suspect, some great soul has come out of Gotham. Harlem-bred Baby Washington is one example. She started her career in the late 50s with The Hearts, a female doo wop group that was the brainchild of Zelma “Zell” Sanders.  Zell Sanders, of South Bronx, was an entrepeneur and the matriarchal head of several record labels–J&S, Scatt, Dice and Zell’s–based in New York City. She was a part-time security guard in Harlem (because record labels didn’t always pay the bills), a female music industry pioneer and, obviously, a supreme badass.

It is possible but unlikely Baby Washington used a Bumpit for this photo.

Solo success came for Baby Washington at the New York City-based Sue record label (which was the bithplace of the first Ike and Tina Turner collaboration), where Baby’s biggest hit, “That’s How Heartaches Are Made,” was recorded by Juggy Murray, Sue’s founder and producer who grew up in Hell’s Kitchen. Washington racked up (somewhat minor) hits in three different decades, hitting again in the early 70s with a cover of The Marvelettes’ “Forever.” Her career, along with many others, was effectively killed by disco.

Baby Washington is not the most widely known figure in soul, but an influential and loved one. Dusty Springfield cited Washington as her all-time favorite singer. And Juggy Murray once said of Baby, “I would rather record her than eat.” The following is a hand-picked selection of some of Baby’s best tracks.
(These songs are from youtube, but these aren’t actual videos, as Baby Washington recorded these in the BMTVE [Before MTV Era])

Think About The Good Times

Move On

That’s How Heartaches Are Made

Leave Me Alone

In Between Tears

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Joe Petersen - Classist Columnist

Joe Petersen - Classist Columnist

Joe grew up in South San Francisco, spent a decade in Santa Cruz, and
relocated to Brooklyn in late 2008. He has been a waiter, a maintenance
man, a record store clerk, a professional radio DJ, an amateur
newcaster and a movie theater popcorn-slinger. Being broke is his
birthright, as he is from broke stock and has limited prospects. He
likes comic books and is obsessed with soul music.

1 Comment

  1. b. pants
    August 26, 2009 at 11:29 am

    that is most certainly a bumpit.