Marie Knight: “That's No Way To Treat A Girl”

 by Roburt      views   3799   comments 19 in Soul News Past on

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Marie Knight came into the world way back in 1925 and though she enjoyed a recording career that stretched over 61 years, she savoured little actual commercial record success. Born in Sanford, Florida in June 1925, she moved with her family while still young to Newark, New Jersey. She soon got into singing in church and was impressing members of the congregation with her singing from the age of 5.

Marie Knight


After starting out in the choir, she soon progressed to the role of soloist and went on to establish herself as a leading lady in the gospel world. By the time that she was 20, she was taking part in major tours across the US and she started recording in 1946. She cut gospel tracks for Signature, Haven (with the Sunset Four), Decca (1947 to 1955; some with Sister Rosetta Tharpe), Candy, Brunswick and Mercury (1956). She got her first R&B chart hit in 1948 with her Decca 45 cut “Precious Memories” and this was soon followed into the R&B top 20 by a duet she made with Rosetta Tharpe.

Her last gospel hit to make the R&B charts came in 1949 when she enjoyed her biggest solo success ever with “Gospel Train” (Decca). In 1950, together with Rosetta Tharpe, she sang before an audience of thousands of gospel fans at a big show in Washington. She then teamed up with boxer Jersey Joe Walcott in 1951 to cut some tracks for Decca and the pair also did some live shows together. In the early to mid 50’s she started babbling in secular music and soon was cutting both gospel and non-gospel tracks. September 1951 saw her supporting the likes of Herbie Fields & his Band, Pigmeat Markham & Tommy Edwards on gigs at Washington’s Howard Theater.
In August 1953 she was touring as part of a big gospel package that played the Lumberton Armory in North Carolina. In 1955, she had a secular 45 out on Mercury’s Wing label and this did well enough for her to be signed to top New York based booking agency, Universal Attractions. In 1955, she was also performing to rave reviews with Rosetta Tharpe in New York jazz clubs and a UK tour followed in 1958.

Marie Knight 2


She soon left the gospel scene behind altogether and cut R&B tracks for Baton and Carlton Records before the end of the 1950’s. Carlton Records teamed her up with Rex Garvin and their outing (“I Can't Sit Down”) was well promoted and managed to secure quite a bit of radio exposure. Of course, Rex went onto to find much UK mod adulation due to his fine US Like / YK Atlantic 45 “Sock It To Em, JB”.

Next, she landed a deal with Addit Records and had “To Be Loved By You” out in 1960. Okeh came calling next and her first 45 release for them was “Come Tomorrow” in 1961. This track had found favour in British music circles by the mid 1960’s when Manfred Mann cut a cover version that triggered Marie’s version to be re-released by Okeh (as Okeh 4-7218). In 1962 she had a 2nd Okeh 45 release and although it’s “Come On Baby” that has been the popular side of this disc in more recent times, it was her version of “What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)” that was more popular in the US back then.

MarieKnightMusicor


She toured on the strength of her Okeh recordings, featuring on a top package tour of chitlin-circuit theaters in 1962. Along with Clyde McPhatter, Ben E King, Gene Chandler, the Tabs + Shep & the Limelites she played shows at the Royal in Baltimore in April 62. In early May 62, she was at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh (a concert venue) along with Brook Benton, Gene Chandler, the Impressions, Don Juan and Bruce Channel. Three singles followed on Diamond in 1963/64 before she was signed to Musicor Records later in 64. Her take on the standard “Cry Me A River” opened her account for the label and this became her only secular song to chart when in April 1965 it made the Soul 45 top 40. However it was to be the follow-up (“That's No Way To Treat A Girl”: Musicor 1106) that would make her name with UK based NS fans. Both “Cry Me A River” (Stateside; around May 1965) and “Come Tomorrow” (Fontana; January 1962) also escaped on 45’s in the UK. She wasn’t doing at all bad for a woman approaching her 40th birthday, however her age did soon begin to tell against her. After her deal with Musicor ended, she was unable to land another secular recording contract.

Marie returned to the gospel world in the early 1970’s, though she did make occasional live appearances in non-gospel settings after that time (one such show being with John Lee Hooker at New York’s Hunter College on February 7th, 1976). She became a minister and held that position at the Gates of Prayer Church (New York) for some years. She continued to record (on & off) right through till 2007 and even performed on a radio show after that (in 2008). She passed away due to complications from pneumonia in Harlem at the end of August 2009 at the grand old age of 84.

Before her death, Ace UK had topped off her long career by finally breaking some tracks she had cut (in 1960) out of the master tape vaults (“Better Wait And See” a duet with Junior Lewis + her original demo version of “Come Tomorrow”. Both released in 2002 on the CD "The Arock & Sylvia Story" CDKEND 212). She may be gone, but she certainly isn’t forgotten.


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19 Comments

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RoburtNov 10 2012 12:44 PM

A montage of Marie related bits ........

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RoburtNov 10 2012 01:01 PM

Marie's Musicor NS biggie was produced by Stanley Kahan.
Stanley had started out in the 50's working with the likes of Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, April Stevens (he wrote "Talk To Me" in the 50's which Billy Eckstine also cut for Motown in 1966). In the 1960's, in addition to working with Marie Knight, he produced tracks for Junior Lewis, Chuck Jackson ("Any Other Way"), Sammy Ambrose ("THis Diamond Ring") and more.
He was back working with Chuck Jackson in the late 70's, producing Chuck's version of "When The Fuel Runs Out". He also worked with Dutch Robinson ("Can't Get Along Without You") and Nancy Wilson around the same time.

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RoburtNov 10 2012 01:41 PM

March is always a bad month to be in New York; cold, windy with lots of snow.
Back in 1962, Marie was wise enough to head back to her birth state to play gigs at the Knight Beat Club (not named after her) in Miami ............

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RoburtNov 10 2012 02:17 PM

A few weeks later & she hit the chitlin circuit with vengeance. Touring with the likes of Clyde McPhatter, Ben E King, Gene Chandler, the Impressions and more ......................
............... here's some shows she undertook at the Royal in Baltimore ................

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RoburtNov 10 2012 02:28 PM

In 1966, Marie was one of the artists that Musicor were giving a push to in their trade ads .............
... even though they never released a 45 on her after "You Lie So Well" that escaped around October 1965 ..............


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RoburtNov 10 2012 02:32 PM

Her 1959 45 release (a duet with Rex 'Queen of the Go Go' Garvin) .........

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RoburtNov 10 2012 02:52 PM

A year earlier (1958) and she was on Baton Records ................

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RoburtNov 10 2012 02:55 PM

November 1951 and she had a 'Sepia' record out (according to her label) ......
This was her track cut in association with world boxing champ 'Jersey Joe' Walcott ....

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RoburtNov 10 2012 03:09 PM

Her very R&B-ish Addit 45 cut ........


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Steve EdgarNov 10 2012 03:55 PM

In 1966, Marie was one of the artists that Musicor were giving a push to in their trade ads .............
... even though they never released a 45 on her after "You Lie So Well" that escaped around October 1965 ..............



Great stuff Roburt, very interesting, thanx for all the info.
Regarding Marie's "You Lie So Well" 45, For me it is coupled with one of her finest, the sublime "A Little Too Lonely" :thumbsup:

steve

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MrsWoodsrulesNov 10 2012 10:14 PM

That's No Way To Treat A Girl, Main Hall, Wigan Casino.....sounded just so fantastic.

Aid.

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DeeJayNov 14 2012 05:55 AM

That's No Way To Treat A Girl, Main Hall, Wigan Casino.....sounded just so fantastic.

Aid.


No what you mean, used to love it, but i must admit since the Kent cd release i really like the extended version.
DJ

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manusf3aNov 14 2012 07:20 AM

In 1966, Marie was one of the artists that Musicor were giving a push to in their trade ads .............
... even though they never released a 45 on her after "You Lie So Well" that escaped around October 1965 ..............

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INY96EOZIWM

Great stuff.

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DaveKDNov 14 2012 08:57 PM

Thought I saw on a BBC4 documentary that she also hung around with Sister Rosetta Tharpe in the 50's?


Dave

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RoburtNov 14 2012 09:12 PM

Thought I saw on a BBC4 documentary that she also hung around with Sister Rosetta Tharpe in the 50's?

Dave


She did. They toured together for 3/4 years (late 40's / early 50's) & even recorded together -- they performed gospel stuff as would be expected.
I skirted over much of her gospel period but did make a mention of this ..............
.... In 1950, together with Rosetta Tharpe, she sang before an audience of thousands of gospel fans at a big show in Washington.
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DaveKDNov 14 2012 10:02 PM

She did. They toured together for 3/4 years (late 40's / early 50's) & even recorded together -- they performed gospel stuff as would be expected.
I skirted over much of her gospel period but did make a mention of this ..............
.... In 1950, together with Rosetta Tharpe, she sang before an audience of thousands of gospel fans at a big show in Washington.


Thanks - will have to revisit that doc - Rosetta Tharpe's guitar playing in particular mind blowing

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Kris HolmesNov 15 2012 03:43 AM

she gets covered in the excellent Rosetta Tharpe biography which came out a few years back.
I always liked Marie Knight's take on "Cry Me A River".

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julesNov 16 2012 03:32 AM

no way to treat a girl is one of my all time faves, pure, pure quality

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RoburtNov 17 2012 08:27 PM

It seems that Marie was signed to a record deal in 1949 by The Major Distributing Company (New York).
Billboard notes that she was due to have a release on their Lee label in December 1949.
However I don't believe she ever had anything out on the label and tracks she cut in 1949 eventually escaped (in the 80's) on an MCA album that attributed the cuts to Decca Records.
A group that did have releases on Lee Records were the Shadows. Ed Levy (of Major Distributing) was the group's manager & he seems to have created Lee Records to have a label to release their records on.
By a strange co-incidence both Marie Knight & the Shadows were both having releases on Decca by 1953; though the Shadows had got their deal with the company via Paul Kapp (brother of Dave who started Kapp Records).

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