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The Kittens

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Like a lot of Chicago soul vocal groups, the Kittens are popular among Northern soul devotees. Another trait that they share with revered groups of that genre is that they became more popular later than when they were together and recording, during which they never had any nationally charting records. The Kittens emerged from Chicago's west side, forming around Farragut High school student Bernice Wills and Marshall High students Thelma Mack and her cousin Laurel Ross. Arranger/producer Johnny Pate signed the group to ABC-Paramount in 1964, as newly appointed Midwest A&R director for the label, a position created specifically for him. As the arranger for the Impressions, he and the label created a Chicago branch around 14th & Michigan to tap into the vibrant Chicago soul scene of the '60s. Their ABC Paramount singles include "I Got to Know Him" and "Lookie Lookie." Around 1968, they began recording for Chess, with "Aint No More Room," "Hey Operator," and "I've Got to Get Over You." Their other releases were "I Need Your Love Tonight" on the Don-El label and "Foolish Little Girl" on Giant. ~ Ed Hogan

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