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    Lorraine Johnson

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    1More You Want / Learning To Dance All Over Again [1996]


    Lorraine Johnson was born on January 26, 1949 in Hunstville, Alabama. One of seven children, her parents ascribed to the Primitive Baptist Universalist Church beliefs and sang in the choir at a very young age learning the true gospel traditions. She continued in gospel and founded "The Mellowtone Gospel Singers" performing in and around Huntsville and became very well known throughout the gospel circuit in the early 1960's. Signed to Deliverance Records, she recorded the "God's Tomorrow Will Be Better Than Today" in 1971. Soon, like Aretha Franklin, she began to include R&B in her repertoire, her first commercial single was issued by Atlantic Records in 1973, " If You Want Me To Be More Of A Woman, You've Got To Be More Of A Man" b/w "Can I Hold You To It". This led to her gigs doing background vocals for various Muscle Shoals studios and at some point in the mid 1970's, met Moses Dillard and Jesse Boyce. Dillard had a career in R&B along with his brother Joshua and was issuing singles as early at 1967. Boyce was a producer, songwriter and musician, proficient on keyboards and bass. Signed to Prelude Records, Lorraine set about recording her debut single for that label, "The More I Get The More I Want", a song writteh by McFadden and Whitehead along with Victor Carstarphan, a member of MFSB. That extended single was Prelude's third disco release along with Bill Brandon's "We Fell In Love While Dancing" on a very rare promotional 12" single, but did not chart. Teddy Pendergrass had recorded the song that same year and the album it was included on, "Teddy Pendergrass" peaked at #7 on the Disco charts in 1977...perhaps that is why her single underperformed but it became an underground classic as a result. She continued doing background gigs and ended up working with Dillard & Boyce on their Saturday Night Band studio band who hit big with "Come On Dance, Dance/Touch Me On My Hot Spot" a certified disco smash that peaked at #2 in April, 1978. Confidence restored, the trio began work on her second LP, "Learning To Dance All Over Again" that contained her biggest solo hit ever, "Feed The Flame" which in remixed version peaked at #11 in November of 1978. Disco was supposed to break the color bar in music, but a misguided attempt to commercialize Lorraine led to an album cover that featured a skinny blonde disco dancer instead of her black, earthy beauty. The guise fooled many, even Joel Whitburn who notes that Lorraine is a "White disco singer from Canada". This sort of thing in NEVER a good idea, whoever did that definitely set the wrong example..I wonder how Lorraine felt when she found that out. She kept working with Dillard & Boyce for the second Saturday Night Band LP, "Keep Those Lovers Dancing" featuring Lorraine Johnson but it did not give up any hits. By 1979, she was back to sessions on notable singles like LTD's - Dance 'N' Sing 'N' and Les McCann's "Tall, Dark And Handsome". She returned to her gospel roots in 1980, becoming disenchanted with secular music and was released from her contract. She put together a new gospel group called "Divine Love" along with her husband/manager Albert Brown. In the 1990's, she began to reap the rewards of gospel and was featured in the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network program "This Is The Day" that covered the history of gospel music in the US. She penned, produced and performed the song "Revival Of Hope", which was included in the program. Performing alongside other gospel stalwarts on Bobby Jones' Gospel Explosion, the Gospel Music Association's gospel tribute and the 23rd Annual Dove Awards show. She continues recording and performing her special brand of uplifting gospel music to this day.

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