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Benny Spellman Rip


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Benny Spellman Rip magazine cover

Sad news, "Fortune Teller", what a legacy to leave. Rest In Peace.

 

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Benny Spellman, the vocalist whose double-sided recording of "Fortune Teller" and "Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)" is an enduring classic of New Orleans rhythm & blues, died Friday in Florida after a long illness. He was 79.

 

Mr. Spellman was born in Pensacola, Fla. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge on a football scholarship; at Southern, he also began singing.

 

Back in Pensacola in 1959, Mr. Spellman encountered New Orleans R&B band Huey Smith & the Clowns. The band's vehicle had broken down; Mr. Spellman offered to drive them back to New Orleans. He elected to remain there after falling in with the burgeoning rhythm & blues community centered around the Dew Drop Inn.

 

He became one of the many artists to give voice to producer/songwriter Allen Toussaint's voluminous 1960s output. In 1962, Minit Records released a 45 rpm single with Mr. Spellman singing "Lipstick Traces" on the A-side and "Fortune Teller" on the B-side. Both songs were written by Toussaint under the pseudonym "Naomi Neville."

 

"Lipstick Traces," with Irma Thomas on backing vocals, proved to be Mr. Spellman's most significant national hit, reaching No. 28 on Billboard's R&B chart. He also contributed backing vocals to Ernie K-Doe's smash recording of another Toussaint song, "Mother-in-Law."

 

Given his limited national exposure, Mr. Spellman worked the Gulf Coast and local circuit, performing at parties, dances and whatever gigs came up.

 

"I wasn't making that big money like K-Doe," Mr. Spellman once said. "I'd play three gigs (in one night) to make more money."

 

Indicative of the enduring nature of his recordings, many artists would later cover songs originally recorded by Mr. Spellman. The O'Jays, Ringo Starr and Alex Chilton all later did "Lipstick Traces."

 

The Rolling Stones and The Who each did versions of "Fortune Teller." "Raising Sand," the Grammy-winning, million-selling 2007 collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, contained a spooky version of "Fortune Teller."

 

After the market for New Orleans rhythm & blues dried up in the late 1960s, Mr. Spellman largely retired from the music business. He worked for many years at a beer distributorship.

 

He suffered a stroke some years ago and was unable to attend an August 2009 ceremony at Ernie K-Doe's Mother-in-Law Lounge inducting him into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. At the time, he resided in an assisted living facility in Pensacola.

 

Instead, "Deacon" John Moore and Hall of Fame president Mike Shepherd traveled to Pensacola and personally presented Mr. Spellman with the plaque noting his induction.

 

"Thank you Lord. After all these years, I finally made it," Mr. Spellman says in a video of the presentation. "I waited a long time for ya'll to elect me to the Hall of Fame. I'm still living; all them other cats are gone. I don't want to be honored when I'm dead. I want to be honored when I can still move."

 

Survivors include a daughter, Judy Spellman. A funeral is scheduled for June 10 at the St. Joseph Catholic Church, 140 West Government Street in Pensacola, Fla.

 

Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame Induction video




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another day and yet more sad news

another artist whos music must have touched many peoples lives in many ways

it certainly touched mine

RIP

thanks for passing on

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Fortune Teller I think is one of the greatest records of all time, in any genre. One of the very few UK records I kept and still have. "This is for you my love" is nearly as good.

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yes one of my endearing memories when brian rae spun this at the end of an era and people rushing to get on the floor............great great record,,,rip

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Fortune Teller I think is one of the greatest records of all time, in any genre.

I totally agree...superb lyric and well delivered.

I can also remember the first time I played, 'This Is For You My Love' at the Capitol Soul Club...played in twice in the one night as it caused such a buzz! If the truth be known, I actually bought that disc for the other side, 'It's For You', which I first came across on the Charly LP release...another great slab of New Orleans/Northern Soul.

RIP Benny.

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Word Game was one of my first Northern tracks. RIP Benny.

Paul

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It just seems never ending. Another memory dies.

I was late in hearing Benny Spellman. I heard Lipstick Traces on pirate radio (Radio Invicta I think) and being in a group like almost everyone else back then, we just had to do it. Other groups all seemed to be doing Fortune Teller, but I just loved that New Orleans groove of the 'a' side.

RIP Benny.

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R.I.P BENNY .....SAD NEWS FOR THE SCENE BUT HIS MUSIC LIVES ON K.T.F.

SOUL LOVE AND PEACE .SAM EVANS

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he gave me so much pleasure over the years i can still remember ordering lipstick traces from my local record shop ist time round it took one month to come in and yes i still have it R I P BENNY SPELLMAN BRIAN WALKER

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he gave me so much pleasure over the years i can still remember ordering lipstick traces from my local record shop ist time round it took one month to come in and yes i still have it R I P BENNY SPELLMAN BRIAN WALKER

Even if you had not come across his other work , you will have heard and enjoyed " Fortune Teller " at some point in your life .

Another sad loss .

Malc

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It's sad about Benny, great voice, but just one thing: why have you a picture of Lloyd Price up instead of Benny?

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thanks for posting

while was checked at the time

it does seem the original image I used does appear to be wrongly titled in a number of places

have replaced

apologies to members for the error

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Even if you had not come across his other work , you will have heard and enjoyed " Fortune Teller " at some point in your life .

Another sad loss .

Malc

correct malc, as its refered to in the music industry: a standard,,,,an absolute myriad of covers ensued but benny spellmans reading is the proverbial yardstick.:thumbsup:

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