Tamiko Jones – 1968 – I’ll Be Anything For You
Barbara Tamiko Ferguson was born in 1945, one of ten children, in Kyle, West Virginia, USA.
So exotic in her features, ethnically she might be described as multi-racial: her father was an African-American and her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Arma Dalton – who used to live in Charleston – was partly of Japanese descent. Mrs. Dalton’s parents, now deceased, were nisei. Because of her Japanese background, Mrs. Dalton at one time lived in a federal internment camp on the West Coast during World War II. The extreme versatility of Tamiko’s singing is readily appreciated in considering her own musical background. She was raised in Detroit and, while working as a secretary, she auditioned for a talent agency and made her professional debut in 1961 at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit, a room that earlier showcased such talents as Johnnie Ray and Della Reese
A1 I’ll Be Anything For You 2:45
A2 Goodnight, My Love 2:35
A3 Where Are They Now? 2:45
A4 Cottage For Sale 2:45
A5 Black Is Black 2:55
A6 Try It Baby 3:15
B1 This Time Tomorrow 2:40
B2 Please Return Your Love To Me 2:00
B3 Peace Of Mind 2:50
B4 I’ve Got My Eyes On You 2:40
B5 Suddenly 2:40
B6 Ya Ya 2:10
She began her recording career on the Checker label in 1963; her first release, credited simply as Timiko, was the happy-go-lucky song “Is It a Sin?” written by Richard “Popcorn” Wylie backed with “The Boy For Me” written by Robert Bateman on the flip side.
By 1964, Timiko became Tamiko and she relocated to the Atco Records imprint releasing the single “Don’t Laugh If I Cry at Your Party” backed with “Rhapsody”. Both tracks were also released in France as side A of a 7″ split EP coupled with two songs by Angela Martin on side B.
In July 1966 she briefly moved to the Golden World label and released her third single offering “I’m Spellbound” on side A and “Am I Glad Now” on side B. The single was produced by Gene Redd who wrote the tunes along with Rose Marie McCoy, Jimmy Crosby and a certain Mike Jones.
During the same year Tamiko also appeared as an extra in a few movies, namely “Penelope”, “You’re a Big Boy Now” and “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”.
Tamiko’s career saw some elevation when she signed with Atlantic in late 1966. She teamed up with label mate Herbie Mann and released a single offering “A Man and a Woman”, the theme song from the film of the same name composed by Francis Lai and Pierre Barouh, backed with “Sidewinder”, a composition by Lee Morgan which has become a jazz standard nowadays.
Many different versions of “A Man and a Woman” were recorded around this time by different artists, but only the Jones / Mann rendition made the best-selling charts.
«The first Herbie Mann / Tamiko Jones collaboration was a brilliant rendition of the attractive title tune from the French movie “A Man and a Woman”. That recording, released in the fall of 1966, helped make “A Man and a Woman” one of the most popular movie themes of the year. The union of Herbie Mann and Tamiko Jones started almost fortuitously at the Atlantic Recording Studios in New York. Herbie heard Tamiko singing in the studio one afternoon and was so taken by her warm, sensuous jazz-pop styling that he stayed throughout her entire rehearsal. When it was over he asked if she would like to record with him.»
The album was recorded in Rio de Janeiro during three sessions between September and December 1966, and was published by Atlantic in February 1967. It consists of ten songs with musical backgrounds provided by both the Cannonball Adderley Trio and Herbie Mann’s Band, mostly arranged by Joe Zawinul and Jimmy Wisner.
One more single was culled from the album, with side A offering a cover of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” paired on the flip side with “A Good Thing (Is Hard To Come By)”, a Tamiko’s own composition.
A few months after the successful release of “A Mann and a Woman”, Tamiko was signed by Jimmy Wisner’s new label December Records. As far as I know, the label didn’t last long and its output consisted mostly of the Tamiko Jones releases and a few more items…
The first Tamiko’s single on the label was released in September, and offered her rendition of “You Only Live Twice”, the theme song to the James Bond movie of the same name, coupled with a cover of Aretha Franklin‘s “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream”.
Another single followed towards the end of the year; Side A featured a cover of the Bacharach–David tune “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, originally performed by Dionne Warwick, while Side B offered the exclusive “Pearl”, a song written by Tamiko herself and Wisner.
Two more singles were released as promotional items but were not distributed to the public; the first one included “Live For Life”, an English adptation of the song originally written by Francis Lai for the soundtrack of the French movie “Vivre pour vivre”, coupled with “You Only Live Twice” on the flip side, while the second featured “Someone To Light Up My Life” and “Where Do I Go From Here”.
Smartly arranged with a Bossa Nova flavour, probably as an attempt to repeat the exploit of “A Mann and a Woman”, the “Tamiko” album was released on December Records in February 1968 and is featured in another post here on Stereo Candies.
During the first half of 1968, Tamiko signed with A&M, and between June and September she was busy recording her second solo album at the Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis and at Van Gelder Studios. “I’ll Be Anything For You“, the subject of this post, was released later that year on CTI which at the time was still an A&M imprint. Among others, the album featured Solomon Burke, Bernard Purdie and Richard Tee, and marked a change of direction in Tamiko’s career…
The dozen songs in the album begin with the vibrant “I’ll Be Anything For You“, written by Bobby Hebb, the author of “Sunny“. This and many of the Memphis sides are enhanced by arranger Teacho Wiltshire‘s subtle use of strings. Note the especially engaging low string figures he uses throughout “I’ll Be Anything For You“. In 1970 Hebb included the song in his own album entitled “Love Games” (posted on FMS).
The next tune, “Goodnight, My Love“, perhaps more than any other side in the album illustrates the driving intensity of the Memphis Sound, with Tamiko’s singing riding above the band with real conviction.
“Where Are They Now?“, written by Brad Praich and Py Whitney, has almost a country and western feel to it, with Tamiko providing a plaintive rendition of the lyric. This song was also released as the flip side of the “Ya Ya” single (A&M 956) and as Side A of another single backed with “Please Return Your Love To Me” (A&M 1016).
“Cottage For Sale” is Tamiko’s favorite side in the album and understandably so. Her treatment of this ballad is immediately reminiscent of the fine old standards recorded in the late ’50s by Dinah Washington. The song has a long story, with artists from a variety of genres creating many notable recordings; in 1930 it was an hit for The Revelers vocal quartet, while Frank Sinatra recorded a popular version in 1959.
“Black Is Black” is a personal favourite of mine and one of the highlight of the album. The original version by Los Bravos, a Spanish beat group, was a hit in 1966 and sold over one million copies worldwide.
“Try it Baby” also brings to mind Dinah Washington and the memorable duets she recorded with Brook Benton. Tamiko’s singing partner on this song is Solomon Burke, who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the ’60s: incidentally he was Tamiko’s boyfriend at the the time this album was recorded… Tamiko opens by giving her side of the story, with Solomon underlining her statements and then giving his version. The intrinsic humor of the song, written by Berry Gordy, Jr., is perfectly portrayed by Tamiko and Solomon as soloists and in tandem.
Side B starts with voices backing Tamiko’s lusty rendition of “This Time Tomorrow“; the song swings comfortably, led by Richard Tee’s driving organ playing as a foundation.
“Peace of Mind“, written by Nick Woods, has both a jazz and gospel undercurrent to it as sung by Tamiko. The song was originally recorded by Nina Simone earlier the same year.
“I’ve Got My Eyes On You” is a popular song by Jackie Rae and Les Reed, it offers an unusual sound courtesy of Don Sebesky‘s combination of cellos and violas which perfectly underscores the pathos of the song. The chamber music feel is both brooding and yet at the same time lively and sparkling the way Tamiko, and the vocal chorus supporting her, interpret it.
“Ya Ya“, the famous Lee Dorsey song, moves out of its teenybopper musical image through the decidedly polished and assured manner with which Tamiko approaches it. The band, conducted by Artie Butler, really walls behind her on this version and shows the apparent enjoyment felt by both musicians and singer in working together; it is characteristic of the feeling that seems to pervade throughout the album. The song was also released as a single (A&M 956) in July 1968 backed with the quiet “Goodnight, My Love“.