Debbie Taylor – 1972 – Comin’ Down On You
I’m actually really surprised that the name Debbie Taylor hasn’t come up for me before. She’s a funky soulful lady with some great grooves and major pipes. She’s got one heck of a range and she isn’t afraid to scream and damn does it sound fiesty. Apparently she started out singing in a church but was scooped up by Decca records in the late ’60s. They were wise to snatch her even if she hasn’t become a household name for this album is quite a find. Right off the bat I’m sold with “No If’s, And’s or Buts“, and the groovy “Too Sad To Tell” reminds me of Sly & The Family Stone or something musically, very cool.
The ballads are perhaps a little less exciting but still with her vocals they are worthwhile, definitely more in a Motown style than anything and much of the material fits that bill. The depressing part is that the album starts out so strongly but it sort of trails off towards the end with a whole load of ballads. Also there was a surprising amount of organ in the slower numbers, it sounds okay and everything but perhaps it’s a little overkill. Definitely the highlights are super fantastically high and her voice is wonderful, overall as an album though it’s not the most impressive thing I’ve ever heard. Still definitely test her out, she’s pretty darned fantastic!
A1 No If’s, And’s, Or But’s 2:50
A2 Touchin’ You 3:20
A3 Too Sad To Tell 2:25
A4 Second To None 3:40
A5 Romance Without Finance 2:40
B1 Leaving Him Tomorrow 4:10
B2 No Deposit, No Return 2:40
B3 Eye Doctor 4:10
B4 Jeremiah 4:00
plus most of her singles
By George O’Leary
Born Maddie Bell Galvin, she is one more among many Soul/Funk/Jazz vocalists from the 1960s/1970s whose much deserved critical acclaim did not translate into a lot of commercial success. She began singing Gospel at a young age and toured in the genre by the time she hit her teens, but when she turned to secular music, and out of consideration for her family’s deep-rooted beliefs, she took the stage name Debbie Taylor. In her early 20s she was spotted by Decca Records talent scout Joe Medlin who brought her to Willie Mitchell’s recording studio in Memphis in early 1967 where she cut The Last Laugh Is On The Blues, I Get The Blues, Check Yourself and Wait Until I’m Gone. All produced by Medlin, the first two were paired as Decca 32090 but went nowhere when released sometime in Jan-Feb, and it would be a full year before the second pairing came out as Decca 32259. By late March-early April 1968 the soulful Check Yourself, penned by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, was clocking in at # 37 R&B for her first modest taste of national fame.
A year later she turned up at Gerard W. Purcell’s NYC-based GWP Records where she would have 4 sporadic releases into 1970, starting with Never Gonna Let Him Know and Let’s Prove Them Wrong. Arranged and conducted by Ed Bland, Never Gonna Let Him Know became her best when it topped out at # 18 R&B and # 86 Billboard Pop Hot 100 in the March-May stretch of 1969 as GWP 501. However, three singles released later in 1969/early 1970 went nowhere – Don’t Let It End b/w How Long Can This Last? as GWP 510 and No Brag Just Fact by The Hesitations b/w Momma, Look Sharp by Debbie Taylor & The Hesitations as GWP 512 in 1969, and Don’t Nobody Mess With My Baby b/w Stop as GWP’s Grapevine 202 in 1970.
In 1972 Gerard Purcell hooked Debbie up with Terry Phillips and Boo Frazier at Perception Records and she recorded an album at New York’s Blue Rock studio which was released on Perception’s Today label subsidiary. Comin’ Down On You (Today 1007) is a nine-track LP produced by David Jordan with Patrick Adams who also served as arranger.
The highlight of the album was the sparse and dreamy ballad ‘Leaving Him Tomorrow’, which had previously been recorded for Today Records by The Exciters on their 1971 album Black Beauty, but the song was perfect for Debbie and its theme was sorrow; once again, her man was running around with other women. She said she was gonna leave him tomorrow and I hope she did.
Only one 45 was lifted from the album, the infectious and uplifting ‘No Deposit, No Return’ (Today 1510) which was written by Jordan and Adams and is similar in style and spirit to some of Freda Payne’s Invictus hits.
The single deserved more success and should have been issued in the UK where its commercial potential would have been quite strong at the time. On the flip was ‘Too Sad To Tell’ which was also taken from the LP. Other high points from the album include the ballads ‘Second To None’ and ‘Touchin’ You’ (which Jordan and Adams also cut with JJ Barnes for his Perception LP Born Again in 1973) and the uptempo tracks ‘Romance Without Finance’ and ‘No Ifs, Ands Or Buts’ which was also recorded for Today Records by Black Ivory in 1972.
In 1975 she recorded I Don’t Wanna Leave You and Just Don’t Pay, both sides written and produced by Jordan, and following a lease arrangement with Arista Records, I Don’t Wanna Leave You was peaking at # 32 R&B but just making the Hot 100 at # 100 by the end of the year as Arista 0144. Both sides mixed by the great Tom Moulton.
The tearful ballad ‘I Don’t Wanna Leave You’ was produced by David Jordan at an ambitious live session at Broadway Sound in New York in 1975. With a full band and orchestra, featuring Motown veteran Earl Van Dyke on keyboards, the result was a stunning slow-build arrangement of an anguished love song co-written by Jordan with drummer and arranger Andrew Smith. The dramatic musical setting was perfect for Debbie’s intensely soulful performance. Yet again she played the convincing role of an emotionally tortured woman who loved her man but could no longer trust him.
Jordan hired Tom Moulton for the final mixdown at Sigma Sound’s New York studio and leased the master to Arista Records who had the confidence to release ‘I Don’t Wanna Leave You’ (Arista 0144) in its entirety — with a duration of 5:30 — but radio DJs were also serviced with an edited version. It was playlisted on many stations and rode the R&B charts for three months which was impressive for such a slow and soulful ballad at a time when the black music scene was dominated by disco and funk sounds. “I Don’t Wanna Leave You” was the first Debbie Taylor single to gain international release but when Arista’s UK office issued the single via EMI in early 1976 they disappointed soul fans by using a short edit which was also sonically inferior.
The uptempo flip side ‘Just Don’t Pay’ was also edited, losing over a minute, and lacked the vibrancy of the original Tom Moulton mix. The single was also released by Arista licensees in Japan and Brazil.
And that would be it in terms of chart success. Jordan had penned ‘I Have Learned To Do Without You’ with JJ Barnes and Don Davis, producer of the original Mavis Staples version which had been issued on Volt in the summer of 1970.
She withdrew from the business for a number of years, during which time she married and became Maydie Miles. In 1994 she returned to recording under that name with K4B Records and in 2011 cut the critically-acclaimed (again!) Jazz album “The Ones I Love” (Not On The Label 49485) at which time it was revealed that Debbie Taylor and Mayde Miles were one and the same.