This may well be the rarest of Papa Don Schroeder’s classic era productions – as well as Buddy Grubbs’ only release. But it certainly wasn’t the first time that Schroeder had mined the Impressions-related extensive and high calibre catalogue of songs and turned one into a southern soul opus – try Oscar Toney’s “For Your Precious Love” for example. But I’m Telling You works at least as well as that more famous number. Taken at a fair clip, Bergen White’s arrangement of horns and strings form a fine backdrop for Grubbs hoarse vocals. He gets more impassioned as the song progresses until towards the end all he can do is scream his anguish. Quite superb. Sadly the flip “Sugarman”, also cut by Sam Baker of course, is rather overblown.
UPDATE ~ I'm delighted to say that Buddy Grubbs' son Kent has been in touch. In addition to providing the wonderful picture of his father he has also provided the following details about Buddy's life and career:-
"Born on a leap year in March 1, 1940.
Parents – Thomas Grubbs And Veola Grubbs.
Lived in Dale County – Pinckard AL.
1956 - Finished high school (D.A. Smith) top of his class at age 16. A’ Student.
1957 - Left Alabama moved to Philadelphia PA, Worked as a painter.
1957 - Competed and won in a talent show at the Strand Theater. At age 17. Sang Ol’ Danny Boy. Met Jerry Butler. Began working as studio background.
1958 - Left Philadelphia and returned to Alabama. Enlisted in the Army at age 18.
1958-1962 - Out of the next 4 enlisted years 2 were spent in Germany.
While in Germany joined a band and began singing in German clubs and on base.
1962 -1970 - After tour in Germany. Moved back to Dothan AL. Began working at Farley Nuclear plant. Formed a Jazz/Soul band and played the local clubs. Opening for acts like Ike and Tina Review. Joe Simon, James Brown, Commodores. At this time met Papa Don Schroeder. Began working with the Purify Brothers and recording in Pensacola, FL and Muscle Shoals, AL.
Passed away in a fishing accident Sept. 27 1979.
I'm very grateful to Kent for all the info which now makes this page a fitting tribute to a very talented singer.
UPDATE ~ Kent Grubbs has been in touch again with the news the producer Don Schroeder has recalled that Buddy sang lead on the 2nd verse of the James & Bobby Purify track "Section C". You can read more about Schroeder's fascinating recollections at the always excellent blog by Red Kelly here.
I’m telling you / Sugarman ~ BELL 772 (1969)