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Click below for an Emotions sample:

Blind Alley


Chicago sisters Jeanette, Sheila and Wanda Hutchinson performed as the Emotions.   They were brought up singing gospel before signing with Stax/Volt in the late 60s.   "So I Can Love You" rocketed to #3 in 1969, the biggest of their Memphis hits that also included "Show Me How" and "Heart Association."   However, the song that most people associate with them from this period is "Blind Alley," the B-side of "My Baby and Me" that rose to prominence as the sample for Big Daddy Kane's "Ain't No Half Steppin'" and "Rump Shaker" by Wrecks-N-Effect.  The Emotions can be spotted in the Wattstax film delivering a spine-tingling rendition of the gospel standard "Peace Be Still."  For some reason, the performance was not issued on the soundtrack.   

Once Stax went out of business, the group found a new home in Columbia.  Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire took a keen interest in the group's career, and he wrote and produced most of their material from 1976 through 1981.  Because EWF was one of the biggest bands in the world at the time, the Emotions' affiliation with them gave them much greater visibility than they had on Stax.  

The second phase of the Emotions' career started off with the double-sided hit "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love/Flowers" in late '76.  The momentum reached a peak with "Best Of My Love," a number one smash that made the most of the sisters' harmonizing abilities.  "Smile" and "Don't Ask My Neighbors" were other massive singles for them, along with their co-credit on EWF's "Boogie Wonderland."   As their star was pretty much hitched to Earth Wind and Fire, their careers stalled as their mentors struggled to come up with fresh material and they eventually switched to the Red Label and Motown for their last records.   

I recently learned of their website, you can access it at

Emotions' Deepest Grooves

So I Can Love You (Volt, 1970)

Untouched (Volt, 1972)

Flowers (Columbia, 1976)

Rejoice (Columbia, 1977)

Sunshine (Stax, 1977)
After the Emotions blew up on Columbia, Stax tried to flood the market with some outtakes recorded during their last days with the label.  The best of them are assembled here.

Sunbeam (Columbia, 1978)
The killer slept-on Emotions LP.  Another Maurice White production, imagine All N All with female vocals and you basically have the sound of Sunbeam.  

Come Into Our World (Columbia, 1979)

Chronicle (Fantasy, 1990s)
Collection of early Stax singles and LP cuts.

Best Of (Legacy, 1996)
A retrospective of their tenure with Columbia that distills the essence of their talent into 16 cuts that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes Earth, Wind and Fire.

Copyright 2001 B.Graff.  All rights reserved.

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