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Bernard Upshaw Singers


Just as Columbus, Ohio's Capsoul label was winding down, their some-time cat-burglarizing in-house songwriter Norman Whiteside was seeking salvation—or at the very least a paycheck. It was 1973, and Whiteside's last songwriting credit had aged a full year (that being his nod for co-writing "(I'm Gonna) Keep On Loving You" with William Gilbert and John Primm for their Kool Blues duo). Visions of Whiteside’s mind-expanding You Can Fly On My Aeroplane LP (later made real by Wee) were years away, and Whiteside, a working club organist, still needed to eat.

Through the machinations of Columbus' first black DJ—WVKO's Assistant General Manager Eddie Saunders—the Bernard Upshaw Singers had secured a deal with James Bullard's BOS outfit, recording four LPs during the 1970s. Volume II: You Don't Know Like I Know would be issued on Bullard's King James imprint in 1973, featuring pianist Bernard Upshaw, bassist Karl Stokes, guitarist Richard Hannon, drummer Leroy Smith, and percussionist Harold Murphy. The identities of Bernard Upshaw's actual singers remain mysterious. Buried amongst staid gospel readings of "Blowing In The Wind" and "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" is the Whiteside original "Have You Tried Jesus." Today, Whiteside recalls next to nothing about the session and never received more than his day rate for his songwriting and organ efforts.


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