13 Songs, 44 Minutes

TITLE TIME
3:22
2:52
3:30
3:24
2:28
3:50
3:52
3:01
3:37
1:33
2:29
7:16
3:09

About Gloria Ann Taylor

Gloria Ann Taylor (who also recorded as Gloria Taylor) never quite achieved the success she deserved as an R&B vocalist, but years after she retired from professional performing, Taylor became a cult heroine among collectors of soul and disco dusties, with an international audience enjoying her music in both authorized and illicit pressings, while collectors paid as much as $1,000 for one of her rare singles. Born in West Virginia in 1945, Taylor moved to Toledo, Ohio with her family when she was two, and as a child she was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. After being told Gloria was not expected to live past the age of ten, her deeply religious mother often took her to church services, and watching her mother sing with the choir first sparked Gloria's love of music. Against strong odds, Gloria grew to adulthood, and after discovering her talent singing in church, she was eager to help the family make ends meet when her mother died unexpectedly and Gloria and her nine siblings were left to fend for themselves.

Gloria began appearing at a Toledo nightspot called the Green Light, and one evening she met Walter Whisenhunt, a promoter, producer, and songwriter who had worked closely with several R&B stars, including James Brown. Whisenhunt was struck by Taylor's talent, and he soon took on Gloria as his client and his spouse. With Whisenhunt as producer, Taylor cut her debut single in 1968, "Born a Woman" b/w "Do Your Duty," but the couple fared better with her second 7", "You Got to Pay the Price." Originally released on Whisenhunt and Taylor's Glo-Wiz label, it was picked up by Silver Fox Records for national distribution, and earned Gloria a Grammy nomination. After cutting singles for a variety of labels large (Mercury and Polydor) and small (the couple's own Whizenglo imprint), Taylor seemed to have finally caught the brass ring in 1973, when "Deep Inside You" b/w "World That's Not Real," a 45 Taylor and Whisenhunt released through their latest self-launched label, Selector Sound, was picked up for national reissue by Columbia Records, with the label offering Taylor a recording contract. However, Whisenhunt quickly grew frustrated with Columbia, believing they were taking too long to release new product, and to Taylor's chagrin, he broke off the deal with the prestigious major and they went back to distributing their product themselves via Selector Sound.

While the Selector Sound sides were celebrated by disco and R&B fans for Taylor's powerful voice and Whisenhunt's ambitious production and arrangements, without the promotion and distribution power of an established label, the singles died on the vine, and by the end of the '70s, Taylor had broken up with Whisenhunt and given up on singing professionally, performing only occasionally in church. However, Taylor's sides for Silver Fox and Mercury were reissued on collections of rare vintage soul music in the U.K., and the rare Selector Sounds singles were commanding impressive sums among collectors, with an original pressing of "Love Is a Hurting Thing" fetching $1,000 in an online auction. When Taylor discovered her Selector Sounds material was being widely bootlegged in Europe, she hired a lawyer, won back the rights to the masters, and teamed with Luv N' Haight Records (a division of the respected reissue outfit Ubiquity Records) to bring her rarest releases back to the marketplace. A collection of Taylor's Selector Sounds recordings, Love Is a Hurtin' Thing, was released by Luv N' Haight in November 2015. ~ Mark Deming

  • ORIGIN
    West Virginia
  • BORN
    1945

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