Big Ike Darby was one of Mobile, Alabama’s most important music men. Although he was born in Philly in 1934, he was in New Orleans at the end of the 40s and settled in Mobile after completing his tour of duty in the armed forces. He earned a living as a taxi driver but supplemented his earnings by working as a DJ before opening his own record store in 1964. He branched out into bookings and promotion as well as trying his hand at writing and producing as well. He had a regional hit of his own with “Love Is Like A Checker Game” for Milton Smith’s Mil-Smi label in 1969.
He started his own labels too – Darby and Sho-Me for example – and had his greatest successes with Lynn White whom he “discovered” while she was working at the record store. His number “Blues In The Bedroom” kick started her career and Darby became her manager and then her husband, leaving Mobile for Memphis, where he sadly passed on in 1988. There were other fine artists that he recorded apart from White, like Frankie L (“Larry”) Saunders, whose “Blues Time In Birmingham” was first rate, Joe Wade and this artist Della Marie.
As far as I know this was to be her only release but You Walk Your Way is a really successful piece of soul music. The fact that this Isley Brothers tune is stunningly melodic helps of course, but it is very well suited to the open southern style of arrangement on show here. And Della puts together a nicely judged performance. It’s just a pity that the budget didn’t run to a horn section.
You walk your way / Respect ~ SHO ME 335 (1982)