Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ritchie Family - African Queens

Label: Marlin
Catalog#: MARLIN 2206
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Promo, Partially Mixed

Real Name: Cheryl Jacks, Gwen Oliver, Cassandra Ann Wooten, Ednah Holt, Dodie Draher, Jacqui Smith-Lee, Vera Brown, Linda James
Profile: After the group "Honey & the Bees" disbanded, Gwen Oliver and Cassandra Wooten joined the Philadelphia School Of Performing Arts where they met Cheryl Mason Jacks. The three were brought in to do session work for Richie Rome who created The Ritchie Family in 1975 releasing their first album Brazil. The groups second album "Arabian Nights" was co-written & produced by Ritchie Rome and Jacques Morali.

In 1977 Richie Rome left and producer Jacques Morali took control of The Ritchie Family with his new partners: Henri Belolo, Phil Hurtt, and Horace Ott. The Ritchie Family's fourth album "African Queens" was released. Richie Rome was no longer involved with the project. They left 20th Century Records and moved to Marlin Records.

"African Queens" was to be the final album for Cheryl, Cassandra, and Gwendolyn to be replaced by Ednah Holt, Dodie Draher & Jacqui Smith-Lee. Ednah left in 1978 and was replaced by Vera Brown, who became the group's lead singer. In 1979 The Ritchie Family left Marlin Records for Casablanca Records.

Dodie Draher was replaced in 1982 by Linda James when the group moved to RCA Records.

In 1980 they joined Village People for the movie Can't Stop the Music. The film was a resounding failure and still appears on many critics' "worst ever" lists; however the soundtrack album sold well in some parts of the world. By this time disco music had already reached its peak, at least in the US.

After deciding to split, when group owner Jacques Morali discovered he had AIDS, the group continued as "Vera Brown and the Rich Girls" for one song called "Too Much Too Fast."

Vera Brown has since reformed The Ritchie Family, with former group mates Dodie Draher and Jacqui Smith-Lee. They have not recorded any new releases as of yet.

Country: US
Released: 1977
Genre: Funk / Soul
Style: Disco
Credits: Arranged By [Rhythm, Percussion] - J.Morali*
Arranged By [Strings, Horns] - Horace Ott
Arranged By [Voclas] - J.Morali* , Phil Hurtt (tracks: P. Hurtt)
Bass [Fender] - Alfonso Carey
Congas - Anthony Robinson
Djembe [Gembe] - Charles Payne
Drums - Russell Dabney
Drums [N'goma] - J.M. Diatta
Drums [N'goma], Shekere, Bongos - Babatunde Olatunji
Electric Piano [Rhodes], Clavinet - Nathaniel (Crocket) Wilke*
Executive Producer - Henri Belolo
Guitar [Lead] - Jimmy Lee
Guitar [Rhythm] - Rodger Lee
Producer, Composed By - Jacques Morali
Tambourine, Triangle, Bells [Belltree], Cowbell - Ralph McDonald*
Timbales - Mario P. Grillo

African Queens (12:45)
A.a African Queens (Nefertiti, Cleopatra And The Queen Of Sheba) (4:35)
A.b Theme Of Nefertiti (1:30)
A.c Theme Of Cleopatra (1:30)
A.d Theme Of The Queen Of Sheba (1:30)
A.e African Queens (Reprise)(Nefertiti, Cleopatra And The Queen Of Sheba) (3:40)
B1 Summer Dance (5:28)
B2 Quiet Village (5:45)
B3 Voodoo (5:35)

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