July 4, 2009


(Gloria Jones - the voice that stopped you dead in your tracks)

A couple of lifetimes ago, I was working with a band whose management shared an office suite with Ed Cobb. Cobb was one of the really great writer/producers on the L.A. music scene. I would often sit in an adjacent office and listen to whatever he was working on through the walls. It was always pretty amazing. And that's where I discovered Gloria Jones. He wrote a lot of the material for and produced her first big hit "Heartbeat" (part 1 and 2) which featured a stellar backup band fronted by none other than Billy Preston. But it was Cobb's composition and Jones version of "Tainted Love" that proved to be a massive hit in the 1980's when it was covered by Soft Cell.

A couple of years later in 1968, I stumbled across one of the follow-up discs. This time not produced or written by Cobb, but rather written by Jackie DeShannon and arranged by Artie Butler.

"When He Touches Me" just aches. It is a soulful lament to self-destructive love (where have we heard that one before?), and in Jones' hands, it just tore me up.

Sadly, this didn't hit and Gloria Jones life took another turn. But she's still singing and recording and I suspect just as powerful as ever.

But right now, here's the single she cut for Minit Records in 1968. I have the feeling it's never been reissued - and that's a shame.

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