Listen: Country Girl, City Man / Billy Vera & Judy Clay
Country Girl, City Man / Billy Vera & Judy Clay
Judy Clay got a raw deal. An early member of The Sweet Inspirations, she grew up singing with her relatives, Cissy Houston, Dee Dee Warwick and Dionne Warwick. She’s on endless sessions (mostly Atlantic) for Wilson Pickett, Don Covay, Aretha Franklin, God only knows how many. When she finally had a hit with ‘Storybook Children’, as one half of the intentionally multi-racial duo Atlantic Records had masterminded: Billy Vera & Judy Clay; network television wouldn’t touch them. Instead Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood got their slots, including performing ‘Storybook Children’ on The Hollywood Palace. Hey, we love Nancy & Lee but hold on.
I used to hear the follow-up, ‘Country Girl – City Man’, on a bunch of stations. It featured The Sweet Inspirations (as did ‘Storybook Children’ and most tracks on their Atlantic LP), mixed RnB with country beautifully, and appealed to lots of formats. It’s another permanent jukebox fixture. I play it a lot. She sounds like she could’ve been an actress, that phrasing.
Listen: Private Number / Judy Clay & William Bell
Private Number / Judy Clay & William Bell
If you’re not a believer, check her duet with William Bell.