Jay Allen Sanford 11 a.m., July 18
Betty Turner & the Chevelles
RIYL: The Cascades, Rosie & the Originals, Jean Dushon, Holly Maxwell, Barbara Acklin, Annette Funicello, the Ronettes, the Supremes, Lulu, Shelly Fabres
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Influences: Martha and the Vandellas, Holly Maxwell, the Supremes, Barbara Acklin, the Casualeers, the Tams, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Jackie Wilson, the Ronettes, the Shangri Las
Betty Turner was a 1960s Northern Soul singer who recorded singles as a solo artist for Infinity Records in 1961 and 1962, including "I Believe In You" b/w "Life Is Like the River" and "Yo Yo Love" b/w "Stay Away From Jim."
In 1963, she signed to San Diego's Crescent label and began recording with the Chevelles. Their first single "I'll Keep Loving You" b/w "Blue Star" was produced and written by former Silver Strands player Lenny Green (sole songwriter of "Blue Star"), an early member of local hitmakers the Cascades (and co-writer of their biggie "Rhythm of the Rain"), and recorded in a garage studio built by Cascades singer John Gummoe. Players included Green on rhythm guitar, and two other Cascades: Dave Wilson on drums, and Dave Stevens on bass.
"Our band agent asked us for songs because he was going to record a young singer named Betty Turner," recalls Green at http://oldnashvilledog.blogspot.com. "She had developed three backup girls and they called themselves the Chevelles." Neither "I'll Keep Loving You" nor "Blue Star" caught on. "Despite the lack of success, our agent and Betty Turner were going to go for it again."
Their 1964 single "The Winds Kept Laughing" (b/w "Little Miss Misery") was produced and written by Gummoe and Green, with horns played by local high school students and seniors. "We had built a little garage studio and was using a Wollensak reel to reel recorder at 7 and 1/2 speed," recalls Green.
Turner's final single for Crescent found her billed as a solo act once again, sans the Chevelles, with "Tell Yourself A Lie" b/w "Cold Little Word (Called Love)." She later released a solo single on Liberty Records, "Be Careful Girl" b/w "Stand By and Cry," before fading into obscurity.
"I have often wondered what became of Betty Turner and her group," says Green. "No one I know has ever heard from them again."
Turner's records are highly treasured by Northern Soul fans. Compilations that have featured her singles include Rare Soul Heaven, Doré: L.A. Soul Sides, Big City Soul Volume 1, and Doo-Wops of Guys Names, Volume #2.