Who was/is Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson
Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson
Just like Marvin and Tammi, Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson sounded like devoted lovers on wax but weren't—a good thing, since Benson was older and married.
Peggy Stoutmeyer was a native of tiny Opp, Alabama, born June 25, 1948 and schooled in gospel. "As a little bitty girl, they used to set me on this little wooden altar table and let me sing," says Peggy. Her family moved to Pensacola, Florida when she was five. At 15, Peggy's thoughts were in a secular vein. The Dothan Sextet was the house band at a hot local nightspot, the 506 Club (Mighty Sam and James & Bobby Purify passed through the ranks), and Peggy wanted to join the Sextet.
"They sought my mom and asked her if I could sing with them," she says. "She allowed me to do so, based on the fact that everything stayed cool with school." Shortly after her graduation, Ben E. King headlined the 506 and hired her for his revue. "He and Lonnie Youngblood, who was the saxophone player for him at the time, they came up with the name Peggy Scott," shesays. "I was with Ben E. almost a year."
Joe Benson was born Joseph Hewell in Phenix City, Alabama in 1941, another gospel convert singing in clubs in his teens and touring as an opener for Chuck Willis. A record exec convinced him to change his name to Jo Jo Benson. Peggy first saw Jo Jo at a Columbus, Georgia club where The Dothan Sextet played (she rejoined the band following her stint with King). "Jo came in, and I met him. He was working at another club in the city, so he would come in and sometimes sit in with us," she says.
Benson's manager, Columbus deejay Ed 'Dr. Jive' Mendel, had issued a two-part 1967 Benson 45, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, on his own Men-Del label. He signed Scott and booked his two artists a split date at Bob McRee's Grits & Gravy Studio with producer Huey P. Meaux, with no advance intent of teaming them up. "It was an old abandoned theatre right outside of Jackson, Mississippi," says Scott. "It was cluttered with beer bottles, just a whole bunch of trash. Huey, he refused to clean it up, because that's where the sound was!"
Meaux had a song that McRee had written with ex-Sun rockabillies Cliff and Ed Thomas that he wanted the two to sing together. "After we had done the individual stuff, they asked us if we would try it, and we did the song, being 'Lover's Holiday,'" says Peggy. The masters were sent to Shelby Singleton's SSS International Records in Nashville. "He liked the duet stuff that we'd done, so he released that," says Scott. The carefree Lover's Holiday was a #8 R&B/#31 pop seller. McRee and the Thomases would also provide Peggy and Jo Jo's encore, the ebullient Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries. "I thought it was the most terrible song I'd ever heard in my life!" she laughs about Berries. "When it was a hit, I felt a little bit better about it."
- Bill Dahl -
Various - Sweet Soul Music
Various - Sweet Soul Music 29 Scorching Classics From 1968
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