GEORGE (1942 - 2006)
Barbara George - who wrote and recorded 'I Know (You Don't Love
Me No More)', one of the most memorable records of the pre-Beatles
era - has died in Chauvin, Louisiana. She was 63. 'I Know (You Don't
Love Me No More)' is one of the songs that put New Orleans on the
musical map, up there with 'Mother In Law' by Ernie K-Doe, 'Iko
Iko' by the Dixie Cups and 'Tell It Like It Is' by Aaron Neville.
Born Barbara Ann Smith in 1942, she sang in church and on the streets
of New Orleans, where she was discovered by the singer Jessie Hill,
who had written and recorded the Mardi Gras favourite 'Ooh Poo Pah
Doo'. By this time she was married, and would record under the name
Barbara George. Hill took her to audition for Harold Battiste, who
was setting up the A.F.O. (All For One) label with the crème
de la crème of New Orleans African-American session musicians.
George based 'I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)' on the traditional
gospel song 'Just A Closer Walk With Thee' and Battiste wasn't too
impressed at first, though he agreed to help her cut the track.
George had never before set foot in a recording studio.
Originally released at the end of 1961 on A.F.O., the catchy single,
featuring a cornet solo by Melvin Lastie, soon gained nationwide
distribution by Sue Records. It topped the R&B charts and crossed
over to the US pop listings, eventually peaking at No 3 in January
1962. 'You Talk About Love', George's follow-up single, only made
the lower reaches of the Top 100 and, after releasing the first
album on A.F.O., she signed directly to Juggy Murray's Sue operation,
joining a roster which included Ike and Tina Turner. However, George
only issued four singles on Sue - 'If You Think' and 'Send For Me
(If You Need Some Lovin')', another minor hit, 'Recipe (For Perfect
Fools)' and 'Something's Definitely Wrong'.
Battiste, the New Orleans arranger who had been her mentor, rued
the day she had decided to join Murray's label, telling John Browen,
the author of Rhythm & Blues In New Orleans: "Fatherly
advice is no good when you're fighting Cadillacs, fancy clothes
and money." The success of George's début 45 helped
put A.F.O. on the map, but also brought problems since it was only
achieved with the help of Sue. Battiste moved to California in 1963,
a few months after George's defection to Sue. George subsequently
issued a few more sides on Lana and Seven B in the '60s, before
dropping out of music to look after her three sons. She made a brief
return to recording in the '70s on the Hep Me label.
Perrone, The Independent)