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Llandudno & Prestatyn Weekenders

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Working on a Groovy Thing ! - The Patti Drew Story   


Born in Charleston, North Carolina, on December 29th, 1944, Patti Drew spent her childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. By 1956 though her family had moved to Chicago, Illinois where her mother obtained employment with a Mr Maury Lathowes

This was a happy coincidence because Maury was the Chicago Manager for Capitol Records, and Mrs Drew’s three eldest daughters; Patti, Lorraine, and Erma just happened to have a singing group. In late 1962, an audition was arranged for the girls with Maury Lathowes. He was suitably impressed and took them to his friend Peter Wright who, following a career as a musician, had formed his own production company. 

The collaboration resulted in a contract with Capitol Records, and by 1963 the group’s first single (Written by Carlton Black who became a member of the group by virtue of his marriage to Erma Drew) was released under the name of The Drew-Vels 

‘Tell Him’ became an almost overnight success in the Chicago area, prompting the release of a further two singles, which also were very busy in terms of a local hit in the Chicago area. As was the norm, the group obtained a considerable amount of live work in the Chicago area based on the popularity of the three singles. As also happened quite regularly, the pressures of working as a group overcame the desire to succeed in the charts and the group broke up in 1965. 

Peter Wright though had recognised the artistry of Patti Drew especially, so he promptly signed her to a recording contract with his own, newly formed, Quill label. Being rather astute, he also reformed The Drew-Vels without Patti, and signed them as well !  

Three singles were released, the first one by The Drew-Vels, and then two from Patti. Although none of them were as popular as the previous Capitol releases, Patti’s two singles generated enough business for Capitol to come looking for her and sign her to a solo contract in 1967. 

Recognising a good thing when they saw it Capitol then had Patti re-record ‘Tell Him’ as a solo singer. It paid off, the record charted immediately. Unusually for the time Capitol then released an album by Patti entitled, of course ‘Tell Him’.  Four further singles quickly followed, but chart success eluded Patti until the release of her fifth Capitol single. 

Workin’ On A Groovy Thing / Without A Doubt’ returned her to the charts with a bang, reaching #34 on the Billboard Chart and it didn’t chart just because of it being a localised hot in Chicago either. This single went into the charts all over the States. In a somewhat ironic way it led to the end of her career some three years on, but more of that later. Because of the national chart status of the single it enabled Patti to tour extensively all across the US, and also enabled her to record her second album for the label, again named after the hit single, ‘Workin! On A Groovy Thing’ 

The follow up, ‘Hard To Handle’/ Just Can’t Forget About You’ also made the charts in late 1968, and gave Capitol enough faith in Patti to enable her to start recording her third album for the label in as many years. 

1969 though was the last year that Patti would hit the charts, this time with ‘The Love That A Woman Should Give To A Man / Save The Last Dance For Me’. However, her popularity as a live artist continued, and she was touring fairly constantly throughout the next couple of years only taking a break to record her fourth and final album for Capitol: ‘Wild Is Love’ in 1970 

The album in itself was a departure from her previous style of recording because it was much more Jazz flavoured, and aimed at a slightly different market than her three previous albums. It also demonstrated that Capitol still had enormous faith in Patti Drew. Let’s face it, she had only had four charting singles in four years, and here she was releasing her fourth album in the same number of years. Given that the Sixties were still part of the ‘45’s first’ ethos of record companies for Black artists this was amazing. Not only that, but the fourth album was also apparently released as a picture disk as well as on the normal black vinyl ! Absolutely unheard of at the time, and I have to wonder whether this would have been the first example of a Black artist releasing a picture disk ?

Sadly though, it was all to come to a rather undignified end in 1971. The pressures of touring had led Patti to form a crippling drug habit, which by late 1971 meant she was unwilling to communicate with anyone from Capitol Records, and to a certain degree anyone else. Fortunately for her sake, her manager at Capitol, Phil Wright rescued her from the situation she was in and took her home to Chicago. (So, if she hadn’t had the first national hit, would she have spent so much time touring, and would she have resorted to drugs to get her through it ?)

Although her health recovered, Patti never really returned to her music, and there were no more releases on Capitol, so her contract just expired. A couple of re-issue labels kept her name alive on vinyl over the next couple of years until her final release came in 1975 as a collaboration with Carlton Black for Carl Davis’  Innovation II label.  

The single was a tribute to the famous at the time, but now more infamous, sporting hero O J Simpson. It completely bombed !  

The last involvement with music that I can trace is some live work that Patti did, again with Carlton Black, in a group known as Front Line, but no recordings ever took place.  

So there you have it, essentially an eight year career that produced some wonderful Soul music whilst it lasted, but just fizzled out due to overwork and the influence of drugs. 

Funnily enough, the last releases Patti Drew has had, have been this year (2007) when the UK Stateside label released a couple of 7” 45s with a green & white Stateside demo label on them to promote the wonderful CD Bob Fisher & Tony Rounce put together for the Stateside label.


The Drew-Vels (members Patti Drew (lead), Carlton Black (bass and baritone - later member of The Naturals), Lorraine Drew (born 1946) and Erma Drew (born 1948))

Capitol 5055 - Tell Him / Just Because - 1963 
Capitol 5145 - My Time / Everybody Knows - 1964
Capitol 5244 - Creepin' / I've Known - 1964
Quill 100 - True Enough / Chilly Kisses - 1965

Patti Drew

Quill 101 - Suffer / Where Is Daddy - 1965
Quill 107 - It's All Over Now / Mirror, Mirror - 1966.
Capitol 5861 - Tell Him / Turn Away From Me - 1967  
Capitol 5969 - Stop And Listen / My Lover's Prayer - 1967
Capitol 2042 - Where Is Daddy / Sufferer - 1967
Capitol 2121 - Keep On Movin' / There'll Never Be Another - 1968
Capitol 2197 - Workin' On A Groovy Thing / Without A Doubt - 1968
Capitol 2339 - Hard To Handle / Just Can't Forget About You - 1968  
Capitol 2389 - Welcome Back / I've Been Here All The Time - 1969
Capitol 2473 - The Love That A Woman Should Give To A Man / Save The Last Dance For Me - 1969

Capitol 2575 - He's The One (I Love) / Which One Should I Choose - 1969
Capitol 2712 - Wild Is Love / World Of No Return - 1969
Capitol 2713 - Hundreds And Thousands Of Guys / Pick-Up  - 1969
Capitol 2989 - I'm Calling / It's Just A Dream - 1970 
Capitol 4789 - He's The One / Which One Should I Choose - 1971
Star Line 6139 - Tell Him / Workin' On A Groovy Thing - 1972
Memory Pain 124 - Tell Him / Workin' On A Groovy Thing - 1973
Innovation II 9165 - The Mighty O. J. / The Mighty O. J. (Instrumental) - 1975

Drew / The Cheers

Collectables Col 062897 - Tell Him / Black Denim Trousers* - ? *flip by The Cheers.

The Doors / Patti Drew

White Label  BD 001 - Break On Through (Remix) / Fever (Remix)* - 2004 (Unofficial 12" release from the U. K.) *flip by Patti Drew.

Patti Drew / Doris

Stateside SS 2233 - Hard To Handle / Beatmaker* - 2007 *Flip By Doris (UK only release done as a Stateside promo design to promote the Stateside CD ‘The Best Of Patti Drew - Working On A Groovy Thing’)

Patti Drew

Stateside SS 2234 - Fever / Beggar For The Blues - 2007 (UK only release as above)


Capitol 2804 - Tell Him - 1967
Tracks: Tell Him / Turn Away from Me / Tired of Falling In and Out of Love / Knock on Wood / I Can't Shake It Loose / My Lover's Prayer / Stop and Listen / Show Me / Someone to Take Your Place / Been Rained On / You've Changed

Capitol 2855 - Working On A Groovy Thing - 1968
Tracks: Workin' On A Groovy Thing / Without A Doubt / I'm Indestructible / Tears / Pee Wee / Didn't We / Baby I Just Don't Feel It / Keep On Movin' / There'll Never Be Another / I Get A Funny Feeling / (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons/You Send Me

Capitol ST 156 - I’ve Been Here All The Time - 1969
Tracks: I've Been Here All The Time / Fever / Just Can't Forget About You Baby / A Guy Like You / Welcome Back / Hard To Handle / Save The Last Dance For Me / I (Who Have Nothing) / Midnight Confessions / The Love That A Woman Should Give To A Man / What the World Needs Now Is Love

Capitol ST 408 - Wild Is Love - 1970
Tracks: Introduction / Wild Is Love / Hundreds And Thousands Of Guys / It's A Beautiful Evening / Tell Her In The Morning / Are You Disenchanted? / Pick Up / Beggar For The Blues / World Of No Return / In Love Again / Stay With It / Wild Is Love Finale

Patti Drew / Dionne Warwick (Armed Forces Radio And Television Service) 

AFRTS   P-11767 - Wild Is Love / Greatest Motion Picture Hits - 1968 (mono) 
Tracks: (by Patti Drew) Introduction (0:22) / Wild Is Love (2:28) / It's A Beautiful Evening (2:50) / Are You Disenchanted? (3:08) / World Of No Return (3:04) / Medley: In Love Again & Stay With It (5:11) / Wild Is Love Finale (1:18) /// (by Dionne Warwick) The Look Of Love (2:47) / People (3:23) / A House Is Not A Home (3:06) / As Long As He Needs Me (2:50) / Somewhere (4:16). 


Collectables B0000008JU - Tell Him: Golden Classics Edition - 1994
Tracks: Tell Him / Turn Away from Me / Tired of Falling In and Out of Love / Knock on Wood / I Can't Shake It Loose / My Lover's Prayer / Stop and Listen / Show Me / Someone to Take Your Place / Been Rained On / You've Changed / The Drew-Vels - Tell Him / Workin' on a Groovy Thing 

Stateside 094639181929 - The Best Of Patti Drew - Working On A Groovy Thing - 2007
Tracks: Tell Him / Stop And Listen / Can’t Shake It Loose / Where Is Daddy / My Lover’s Prayer / Sufferer / Keep On Movin’ / There’ll; Never Be Another / Workin’ On A Groovy Thing / Beggar For The Blues / Fever / Hard To Handle / Just Can’t Forget About You / I’ve Been Here All The Time / Midnight Confessions / A Guy Like You / The Love That A Woman Should Give To A Man / He’s The One (I Love) / Which One Should I Choose / Wild Is Love / Hundreds And Thousands Of Guys / It’s Just A Dream / The Drew-Vels - It’s My Time / I’ve Known / Tell Him 

Thanks to Tony Rounce for help with the LP tracklistings.