STUMBLIN' BLOCKS, STEPPIN' STONES * JOSHIE JO ARMSTEAD * GOSPEL TRUTH 1214 * USA
Writer and singer Josephine "Jo" Armstead was not at all a well known name in the UK during the 1960s, yet her career has high points that, of themselves, are well known to Soul music fans. Born in the wonderful sounding city of Yazoo, Mississippi in 1944 Jo Armstead started out singing in Juke joints and at dances and enjoyed a stint with the Bobby 'Blue' Bland's band, after which she joined Little Melvin & The Downbeats. It was as part of the Ikettes, which she formed in 1961 with Eloise Hester and Delores Johnson as a backing group on the IKe and Tina Turner Revue, that she would have first been heard by British Soul fans. After leaving The Ikettes in 1962 she began recording under the pseudonym Dina Johnson, it is said to avoid Ike Turner! It was her talent as a writer that her work would be well known to most Soul fans; along with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson she wrote the Ray Charles hit Let's Go Get Stoned and the scorcher I Don't Need No Doctor. She also had success in the 1960s with song recorded by Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown, Casanova by Ruby Andrews, and Garland Green's Jealous Kinda Fella which was produced by her Giant company.
Released on the Stax Gospel imprint Gospel Truth, Stumblin' Blocks, Steppin' Stones (What Took Me So Long) is a sublime (auto?) biographical account of a life spent misinterpreting what is beneficial which eventually changed by adopting a frame of mind, or attitude, that could be described as Zen.
“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are,
where else do you expect to find it?”
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