Billie DearbornBillie Dearborn

New Yorker Billie Dearborn’s name is well known to fans of most types of soul. All the discs she cut have considerable merit featuring as they do Billie’s big rough toned vocals with just that hint of the blues that puts me in mind of Big Maybelle. A very strong recommendation from this source.

She recorded in the Brill Building big city ballad style mostly under arranger/producer Herb Bernstein. Down is typical of her output, the contrast between the sweet uptown orchestration and Dearborn’s down home voice being especially tasty. Her Bell single “You Need Me To Love You” is very much in the same vein.

But her great 45 is the obscure one for Lee Hazlewood's LHI Friday’s Child. Not only is the minor keyed song more melodic and harder hitting but Billie’s angst ridden vocal is easily her best. A great tale of hard luck superbly rendered.

Down - DYNAVOICE 223 Friday's Child - LHI 1210



Down / McDougal Street blues ~ DYNAVOICE 223 (1966)
You need me to love you / McDougal Street blues ~ BELL 676 (1967)
Friday's child / I'd love to be loved ~ LHI 1210 (1968)


For a Northern soul perspective on Billie’s music go to Colin Dilnott’s excellent blog here. Special thanks to Timothy Leonard for the wonderful portrait of Billie.

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