Lorraine Chandler - I Can't Hold On





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Published on Jul 24, 2009

Legend Lorraine Chandler sings " I Can't Hold On", another Northern Soul anthem from the Blackpool Mecca days. Motorcity soul singer, songwriter and producer, Lorraine Chandler, was born and raised in Detroit. Together with Jack Ashford she penned "I'm Gone," a 1966 single for singer Eddie Parker. After collaborating on the O'Jays' "I'll Never Forget You," Ashford convinced Chandler to sign on full-time with his fledgling Pied Piper Productions, not only as a writer but also as a performer. Her first single "What Can I Do," appeared on Jo Armstead's Giant label in 1966, becoming a smash in Detroit and Chicago. RCA then picked up the song for national distribution, soon followed by "I Can't Hold On." RCA also cut a production deal with Pied Piper that resulted in a series of Chandler authored singles for the likes of The Cavaliers, The Metros and Willie Kendrick. While in Chicago for an RCA-funded session, she also cut her third solo single, 1967's "I Can't Change". In addition to the RCA deal, Pied Piper negotiated a similar production agreement with Kapp, forcing Chandler to focus virtually all of her time and energy behind the scenes. For singer Freddy Butler she penned the singles "I Fell in Love" and "There Was a Time". For The Hesitations she authored the pop radio hit "Soul Superman", "Wait a Minute" and "Clap Your Hands." In 1968 she and Ashford attempted to go it alone, founding their own Ashford label. The venture would yield just one single before going bankrupt, but what a single. Eddie Parker's "Love You Baby" was a flop upon its initial release, but enjoyed new life in the 1970's thanks to its massive popularity among the DJs and club goers populating Britain's Northern soul revival scene. When Ashford relocated from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1976, Chandler was left in limbo. She did not resurface until 1980, when she co-produced Parker's "The Old, The New, The Blues" LP, even headlining a pair of duets. In the decades to follow, Chandler was a staple of the Northern soul touring circuit. I met her when I went with Pat Lewis who was performing alongside Lorraine at Great Yarmouth in 1990. Then, back in early 1999 we filmed her for my "The Strange World Of Northern Soul" documentary.

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