You can find references to the Lovables Northern soul sides everywhere, but as is so often the case their ballads are completely ignored. And that’s a real shame as they recorded two superb sides, amongst the best Big Apple girl group tracks I know.

The Lovables were Barbara Sullivan, her younger sister Shirley and Kim Lewis and they were mentored in the music business by the Jive Five. All of their four releases on Toot were written and produced by Trade Martin and Ed Miller, who used top New York session men in the recordings. So the sound of their discs is premium quality and the slow songs were right up there too.

The initial release coupled the sub-Motown beater “You Can’t Dress Up A Broken Heart”, well received on the Northern soul scene, with a super little ballad on the top side. ListenWe Got A Need For Each Other starts with some gentle piano arpeggios over which Barbara comes in on a pitch to match before the other girls come in for the chorus, with the full orchestra for company. The whole song – absolutely superb chord changes – ebbs and flows like this, and Barbara really does hit the spot, singing her heart out.

The second 45 has a Supremes style “Just Beyond My Fingertips” on one side a strange acoustic “Anyman” on the other. This has Barbara singing in an intimate supper club style accompanied only by Martin’s guitar. The following release has a similarly styled track in "Beautiful Idea", and the top side is sadly indifferent uptempo.

The Lovables final 45 combined their best uptempo number “Take Me For A Little While” with anther killer uptown slowie. ListenYou Know That I Love You is another really well constructed number with some super chords, and Barbara is at her most desperate and vulnerable. Add in a finely arranged horn section (no strings) and you could be listening to a Memphis disc, especially on the second verse when an organ joins the piano accompaniment. I could listen to this disc all day.

UPDATE ~ My great friend Greg Burgess writes with more details on the Lovables:-

"I have additional information on The Lovables. They were originally from Augusta, GA, but moved to New York when Barbara Sullivan was two. As the Sullivans they sang in church, including Shirley Sullivan and four brothers.

In 1961 as Barbara J & The Silver Slippers they cut  'Laughing At Me' / 'Love Is The Thing' on Lescay 3001. Now renamed The Sweethearts in 1963 they turned up on Brunswick 55237 for 'In Between Kisses' b/w 'Superman' and followed up with the Barbara Sullivan /William Leo McCorkle penned song 'What Did I Do (What Did I Say) ' b /w ' He's a Yankee' on Brunswick 55240. The follow up released in December 1963 on Brunswick 55255 is 'Everybody I Know'  b/w 'What Will Mother Say' and their fourth and final Brunswick release from 1964 is 'Have You Ever Fell In Love' b/w 'No, No, I Won't Break Your Heart'.

 After the Lovables quartet of releases she became Barbara Butler and now lives  in California."

As always I'm very grateful to Greg for his great sleuthing.


ListenWe got a need for each other / You can’t dress up a broken heart ~ TOOT 600 (1967)
Just beyond my fingertips / Anyman ~ TOOT 604 (1967)
You’re the cause of it / Beautiful idea ~ TOOT 605 91967)
Take me for a little while / ListenYou know that I love you ~ TOOT 608 (1968)


Back to artist index | Top of Page