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ES072
Album cover

The Sweet & Innocent

Express Your Love b/w Cry Love

A product of North Memphis’ segregated Dixie Homes housing complex, The Sweet & Innocent arrived during the Soulsville U.S.A. renaissance in the early ’70s. While Al Bell was busy across town turning Stax into a national Black powerhouse, Ron and Sari Bledsoe’s short-lived Active imprint operated out of a storefront on Chelsea Avenue, using nearby Manassas High as a talent pool. Rubye James and Linda Royston—Sweet & Innocent—joined a roster that included The Epics, First Company, and The Memphis Mustangs, groups all lost to the tide of time. The Sweet & Innocent’s are a rare blend of atmospheric blues, post-Beehive girl group harmony, and Jacksons-inspired kid soul. “Spin it one time for me,” Ron Bledsoe penned on promo copies of their January 1972 burner “Cry Love.” Let’s spin it again.