Chicago artist Henry Yarborough (aka Ford) was the leader of the group the Gifts who recorded a couple of 45s for Roulette in the early 60s, while he was still in his teens. Although they sold pretty well locally they were more doo wop oriented musically than soul. Interestingly their best track “It’s Too Late” remained in the can until a 1999 CD appeared.
But as a solo artist Ford made a couple of very good sides. “Take Me For What I Am” is a memorable soft soul ballad recommended to those who like me love tracks that are in the transition from doo wop to soul. Even better though was his hard to find Lebra 45. Jan O Jan is another delicate tuneful ballad but this time Ford’s impassioned vocal brings it much more into deep territory. Love his harsh tone and well-judged rap. Minimalist backing works well too.
UPDATE ~ My great friend Greg Burgess writes "he was born on 30th September 1947 in the South Side of Chicago. He and his cousins Levi and Leon Triplett (who wrote 'Take me for what I am' ) initially formed a band whilst Henry was still at school. They were called the Lusters(?) who recorded a dub around 1962. This was never issued but it led to an intoduction to Ralph Bass at Chess records. As The Triplett brothers were all ready signed to another labe l'Teardrops are falling /Do the Uncle Willie' was passed to Roulette and they became the Gifts. The follow up 'Treat her right/Two hearts make a romance' which I would describe as more soul than doo wop completed their stint as a recording group. Henry Ford headed to the West Coast as part of the Black Soul Rangers who were on Opportunity Knocks. He returned to Chicago in 1970 to cut 'Take me for what I am' before making one further trip to the studio to cut the lo-fi but fantastic 'Jan 'O' Jan' in 1973." Fantastic info as always from Greg.
Take me for what I am / I love you and need you ~ STARFALL 9001 (mid 60s)
Jan O Jan / Inst ~ LEBRA 7574 (late 60s?)