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Tommie Young

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Deep soul diva Tommie Young was born and raised in Dallas. While performing at a local nightclub in 1972, she was discovered by Bobby Patterson, a Shreveport, Louisiana-based performer and producer who, with fellow composer Jerry Strickland, operated the fledgling Soul Power label. Patterson signed Young virtually on the spot, and returned to Shreveport to mastermind instrumental versions of O.V. Wright's "That's How Strong My Love Is," and Percy Sledge's "Take Time to Know [Her]." Young then traveled to Shreveport to record vocals, completing each track in just one take each; the end result was her debut single, now a southern cult classic -- boasting a remarkable soprano deeply rooted in the gospel tradition, her delivery also bears the deep influence of Aretha Franklin's secular efforts, yet never sounds the least bit derivative. For Young's next single, Patterson and Strickland co-authored the original ballad "Do You Still Feel the Same Way" -- a major hit in Memphis and New Orleans, the single also cracked the national R&B Top 30, and would prove her biggest commercial hit. The follow-up, Patterson's "She Don't Have to See You (To See Through You)" is, in many respects, her masterpiece, although it was only a minor chart hit -- her lone secular LP, also titled Do You Still Feel the Same Way?, appeared soon after, generating the singles "You Brought It All On Yourself" and "You Came Just in Time." Hampered by Soul Power's ongoing distribution problems, Young's commercial hopes were further diminished by her disinterest in promoting her recordings, preferring instead to return to the relative anonymity of performing in her father's Dallas church. Ultimately, she abandoned her secular career altogether -- one last single, "Get Out of My Life," appeared in 1975, and was Soul Power's final release. Young briefly returned to prominence in 1978 when she headlined the soundtrack to the NBC tele-film A Woman Called Moses, a biography of slave leader Harriet Tubman. After marrying, she began using the name Tommye Young-West professionally, recording a series of gospel LPs including 1993's Just Call Me Tommye, and 2000's Believe, and virtually disowning her early Soul Power work, despite widespread acclaim from latter-day deep soul aficionados. ~ Jason Ankeny

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