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The Soul Children

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The Soul Children was an American vocal group who recorded soul music for Stax Records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They had three top ten hits on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart – “The Sweeter He Is” (1969), “Hearsay” (1972), and “I’ll Be The Other Woman” (1973) – all of which crossed over to the Hot 100.

The group was formed in 1968 by Isaac Hayes and David Porter of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, after one of the label’s top acts, Sam & Dave, left Stax to join the Atlantic label. As leading songwriters and producers for the label, Hayes and Porter put together a vocal group with two male and two female singers, all of whom sang lead on some of the group’s recordings. The original members were Norman West, John Colbert (aka J. Blackfoot), Anita Louis, and Shelbra Bennett. Colbert – who had been known from childhood as Blackfoot for his habit of walking barefoot on the tarred sidewalks of Memphis during the hot summers – had recorded solo singles before joining The Bar-Kays as lead singer, after four original band members were killed with Otis Redding in a plane crash. Anita Louis was a backing singer on some of the records produced by Hayes and Porter. Shelbra Bennett had recently joined the label as a singer. Norman West, Jr., the last to join the group, grew up in Louisiana, and sang in church with his brothers Joe, James, and Robert. He replaced William Bell as a member of The Del-Rios in 1962, later recorded several unsuccessful solo singles in Memphis, and sang with a rock band, Colors Incorporated, which had been formed by members of Jerry Lee Lewis’ band.

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