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Young-Holt Unlimited

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This US soul-jazz group was formed in Chicago in 1965 as The Young-Holt Trio with Eldee Young (7 January 1936, Chicago, Illinois, USA; bass), Red Holt (b. Isaac Holt, 16 May 1932, Rosedale, Mississippi, USA; drums) and Hysear Don Walker (piano). Young and Holt both studied at Chicago’s American Conservatory Of Music. They later joined the Ramsey Lewis Trio and were featured on two of the group’s best-known singles, “The ‘In’ Crowd” and “Hang On Sloopy” (both 1965). The bass player and drummer then broke away to pursue their own direction - although their debut R&B hit on Brunswick Records, “Wack Wack’ (1967), was as undemanding as Lewis” work of this period. In 1968 pianist Walker was replaced by Ken Chaney. Soon Chaney was out and the act was reconstituted as the Young-Holt Unlimited. Under that name, the act hit in 1968 with the million-selling “Soulful Strut”, a US pop Top 5 hit. This instrumental was, in fact, the backing track to a Barbara Acklin single, “Am I The Same Girl?’, but with Floyd Morris” piano part replacing the vocal line. Ironically, neither Young, nor Holt, was on the record as the instrumental was by the Brunswick studio band. Despite that, Young-Holt Unlimited continued to make technically precise, but rather sterile records before the group’s two mainstays decided to rejoin Ramsey Lewis in 1983. Young-Holt Unlimited’s recordings have been extensively sampled by R&B and hip hop artists.

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