Phil Terrell

Phil Terrell Flood missed two golden opportunities, but has no regrets. Born and raised in Wilmington, NC, the Flood family moved to Jersey City, NJ, where Phil finished high school. Robert "Kool" Bell, the son of featherweight boxer Ronald Bell, was a schoolmate. Bell formed his first band, Kool & the Flames, naming them after James Brown & His Famous Flames, and Terrell worked the local clubs with them but left early. Kool & the Flames became the Jazziacs, the Soul Town Band, and finally, Kool & the Gang in 1969 when they signed with Delite Records. Terrell's light vocals and suave looks would have jelled with the most successful edition of Kool & the Gang when J.T. Taylor sang lead; maybe Terrell was on their minds when they recruited J.T.

Winfred Lovett (the Manhattans) was Terrell's cousin and Terrell sometimes sang with them before they signed with Carnival Records. Later, he filled in for an ill or missing in action George "Smitty" Smith. When Smitty died, Terrell was supposedly the first choice to replace him, but Carnival artist Harry Caldwell was also considered. When the Manhattans unearthed the exciting Gerald Alston in North Carolina, the speculation ended.

Terrell cut two singles for Carnival: "I'm Just a Young Boy" b/w "I'll Erase You (From My Heart)" (1965), and "Love Has Passed Me By" b/w "Don't You Run Away" (1966); the Manhattans backed Terrell on both. Carnival's promotion was lacking and both were too pop and lightweight for mid-'60s urban radio. Terrell had a squeaky clean, classy voice that masked his ethnicity. He became a school teacher and later, an administrator. His Carnival singles have become popular items with Northern soul fans. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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