Singles Going Steady: "I'm Not Ready For Love" by Promise

The Gerldets, later known as Promise

In 1969, four junior high girls from Washington D.C. seemed to be getting their big break.  They were singers in a band dubbed the Gerldets.  Two of the Gerldets had been performing together since they were eight years old.  Back then, one of their mothers was handling management duties and it's safe to say that her tutelage wasn't exactly bringing the pre-teens the fame and fortune they were craving.

But now, four years later, they were a quartet and the future was looking bright for the girls, who up until that time had only played small gigs, dances and private parties. This was because one of them had a serious industry "in."  Her name was Janice Jones, and her father's cousin was Eddie Kendricks, an extremely talented young fellow who sang in one of the best and most popular groups of its time.  

Here are The Temptations.  Eddie Kendricks sings backing vocals on "My Girl," a legendary number one hit of incalculable importance to popular music.

Eddie Kendricks graced the world with his haunting lead vocals with this song—a hit, which Rolling Stone ranked 389th on its list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. 

It must have been something for these girls to be just one degree of separation from a genuine star. Chances are, they were probably fans of his and the thought of him giving them a break probably made them as giddy as, well...schoolgirls.  

And Kendricks did help them.  How?  He arranged an audition for the pre-teens with the most powerful person in all of soul music, Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. It was Gordy who had established careers for pretty much everyone in the soul genre, including the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes...

...and the Jackson 5. 

I imagine a couple thoughts had to cross these girls' minds.  Sure, they could be "the next Jackson 5." But, maybe Gordy would do for them what he did for The Supremes and set up a nationally syndicated Jackson 5/Gerldets television special!  At the very least maybe he'd let the girls provide handclaps and backing vocals to the Jacksons' new hit recordings. There was only one way to find out.  The girls met with Barry Gordy and gave an audition.

It's unclear whether Gordy thought the Gerldets were talented.  What is known is that he rejected them and one of the reasons he did was because he didn't want to manage another underage group.  Still, you can't help but think that if the Gerldets truly had that "it" factor, Gordy and Motown would have gobbled them right up.

But despite Gordy's rejection, the Gerldets carried on.  They changed their name to Promise and released a couple singles.  They never achieved any success, which must have crushed them because they flirted with fame A LOT.  Here are three absolutely legendary performers they opened for:

In 1975, the four members of Promise were no longer girls.  They were 18.  College was on the horizon and each woman enrolled at a school somewhere across America.  I can't tell you that much more than that.  But, I can let you hear what they sounded like.   Here is one of Promise's flop singles: "I'm Not Ready for Love," which appears on a compilation called Homeschooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul, which includes 17 songs by obscure kid groups. 

"I'm Not Ready For Love" by Promise



The Montgomery Movement by The Montgomery Express

I think we all like listening to "lost" music or music that never gained any traction when it was originally released.  When it finally becomes popular or finds appreciation, as in the case of the lost music of Rodriguez or Nick Drake, its a very humbling feeling.  It makes you feel like anything is possible.  

The following artist is lost and probably will never be found.  How did I stumble upon it? I can't even remember.  The band is a funk/soul outfit called The Montgomery Express from Florida and their 1974 album is The Montgomery Movement.  There are zero reviews of this album on amazon.   In my google search, I found a few blog posts by writers who probably stumbled upon the music by accident.  Now, should you look through your uncle's funk and soul vinyl collection and happen to find a copy of The Montgomery Movement, keep it safe! Used copies run around $450. 

It took seconds only of listening to the opening title track of their album The Montgomery Movement for me to pay attention.  A quick and simple jam, "The Montgomery Movement" is built upon a slightly dissonant, cry-baby wha, guitar riff.  It is a guitar players dream! Totally irresistable.  Track two, "Who" is a ballad and the first song with vocals.  It is just as effective.  The expectations are set pretty high for the rest of the album and unfortunately, the remaining six tracks never quite reach the grandeur of the opening quarter of the The Montgomery Movement.   Good not great, but still absolutely worth listening to.  Still, If funk and soul is your thang, then do whatchu wanna do.  Me? I think whatchu wanna do is put this album on soon.  Do it.  

Not like it matters, but the two singers Paul Montgomery and Charles Atkins are both blind.  I think blind people would probably find including such a fact superfluous.  Unless someone commissions printing this blog into a braille text,  I don't think they will read this article anyway.  


The Montgomery Movement by The Montgomery Express