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NORTHERN SOUL - CHARADES - 'THE KEY TO MY HAPPINESS'

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Published on Apr 3, 2008

The MGM CHARADES were formed with a different line-up when the original 1950/60's Doo-wop group, who had planned a comeback, were reluctant to sign a new contract. This prompted the record label to work with a mysterious new act based in New York.
However, when soul singer Dean Courtney moved from RCA records to MGM, he mentioned that John T Mac Junior had been running The Charades. The same group may be linked with the Charades that recorded 'You're With Me All The Way'/'Power Of Love' on the Mercury label in 1965 -both sides written by J. Mack.
Robert Pruter's 'Chicago Soul' book, explains that only a few Chicago acts in the 60's appeared on Mercury.

The producer credited on the label is Tom Wilson -best known for his work in the 1960s with Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Simon and Garfunkel and The Velvet Underground. Arranged and conducted by Horace Ott.

The Charades recorded two 45's for MGM Records;
'Key To My Happiness/'Weeping Cup' (66) written by Robert Gerald Maxwell
'I Don't Want To Lose You'/'Never Set Me Free' (66) written by Maxwell flip Rhodes-Casey

'Can't Make It Without You'/'Love Of My Life' also recorded by the Charades (Okeh Records) 1964 -arranged and conducted by Horace Ott.

'You Better Believe It'/'Darling Believe Him' also by the Charades (Harlem Hitparade) Woodbury, New York 1973. Distributed by Pickwick Records, this is a much earlier recording -again, written by Horace Ott.

"From the very first bars of the piano and drums this is Northern Soul at its very best, with heart pleading vocals, accompanied by tight group harmonies and brass. 'Keys To My Happiness' just gets better as it goes along. Perfect for dancing to."

As far back as 1973, the Charades track was being featured at the Pendulum Club in Manchester.

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