Although she was a big presence on the Tacoma, Washington music scene in the late 50s and early 60s, working with several name groups, (see here) she only recorded a handful of discs under her own name, although her singing career has lasted until well into the new millennium. Harris has always been a fan of R & B styles from her earliest days in music but only a couple of her tracks show that devotion clearly enough for me.

The track that gets all the Northern soul plaudits is “Ain’t Gonna Let It Get Me Down” on Don Costa’s DCP label. But this Motownesque dancer doesn’t really do it for me. But the sides that I really do like are the songs that appeared on Harris’ first outing for New York’s Joe Carlton’s eponymous concern.

CARLTON 584The lilting mid paced toe tapper ListenDon’t You Love Me No More is a far better song then either of the DCP release and Gayle sounds really confident and demonstrative here – an excellent R & B tinged vocal for sure. The spare organ led accompaniment is superbly done. At least as good as this side is the other one ListenHere Comes The Hurt on which Harris gets a lovely rasp to her tone and the addition of a cooing female chorus and a string section works really well. Two really strong songs to cherish. Sadly nothing else that Harris recorded comes anywhere near to the quality of this release. This is especially true for the second Carlton 45 which is back in the standard girl group groove that is miles away from R & B.

I'm pleased to say that Harris made a good living as voice coach on the West Coast after she finished making records.






So much / Be my baby ~ ETIQUETTE 3 (1961)


ListenHere come the hurt / ListenDon’t you love me no more ~ CARLTON 584 (1963)
They never taught that in school / Don’t make the angels cry ~ CARLTON 597 (1963)
Ain’t gonna let it get me down / Here I go again ~ DCP 1144 (1965)
Where did the good times go / The mountain’s high ~ LAMA 5002 (mid 1960s)


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