The Music Lounge

The Voice of Patti Jo

Make Me Believe in You by Patti Jo…

pattiIn the world of 70s soul and funk there were few to match the talents of Curtis Mayfield (1942-1999) A fine singer, song-writer, guitarist and producer he became one of the most important voices of African-American music with a string of hits and albums as a solo artist and member of The Impressions.

Never one to shy away from addressing the social-political problems of the time, his songs tackled drug abuse, crime, poverty and racism, winning him countless awards and honours. He also knew a talent when he saw it and in the early Seventies he wrote a song for an unknown soul singer called Patti Jo to record.

‘Make Me Believe in You’ was released in 1973 before being given a classic disco remix in 1975 when it became an overnight club classic. The lyrics are instantly attributable to Mayfield’s style;

“Keepin’ filled with all your temptation. You know it leaves me with no inspiration. Another chart playin’ on me. May have a hard time succeedin’, you see. You don’t seem quite like the others. Respectin’ me and your sisters and brothers. It would be awful, awful sad. To give love and you treat me so bad”

But for the lyrics to have any impact they need to be sung with soul and to hear Patti Jo’s rendition is akin to being right there, in New York, ’73 at the height of summer. A woman telling her man how it’s going to be. Patti Jo’s vocal is the perfect voice for Mayfield’s writing. It is the voice of a woman who has lived, loved and endured in a way only the great soul singers can truly portray. It’s an empowering kind of vocal, a woman standing up and protecting herself in that most sexist of times and environments. But what makes it truly remarkable is Patti Jo. She was sixteen years old when she recorded it.

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