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Album Review

R&B pioneer Faye Adams brought a fiery gospel passion and an instinctive toughness to the songs she sang in the 1950s, paving the way for the great soul singers of the following decade. This chronological anthology collects her earliest recordings with Joe Morris and his orchestra, including 1952's sarcastic and sassy "That's What Makes My Baby Fat," recorded for Atlantic Records when Adams was being billed as Fay Scruggs. When Atlantic failed to see the potential of a song Morris had written, "Shake a Hand," the group severed ties with the label and moved to Herald Records, re-recording the song, and with the newly christened Faye Adams singing her heart out, took it to the top spot on the R&B charts in 1953. "Shake a Hand" is arguably Adams' greatest achievement, although later singles for Herald, including "I'll Be True" and the ragged "Hurts Me to My Heart," were cut from the same cloth. Adams parted ways with Morris in 1954, sticking with Herald Records through 1956, and eventually she left secular music behind for her first love, gospel, and even went so far as to renounce her R&B years, but the fire and passion of these early Herald sides can still tear a room down, and remain her legacy.


Born: 1925 in Newark, NJ

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Dubbed "the little gal with the big voice" by legendary disc jockey Alan Freed, Faye Adams was one of the pioneers of R&B, drawing on the expressive power of gospel music to create a series of deeply moving and poignant records that pointed the way for the emergence of soul. She was born Fay Tuell in Newark, New Jersey circa 1925 -- the daughter of David Tuell, a gospel singer and one of the key figures behind the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) movement that would later spawn the likes of Billy...
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1952-1954, Faye Adams
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