was a black American
whose short recording career between 1968
saw her produce some of the most impassioned vocal performances ever committed to vinyl. Her sudden unexplained departure from the music industry and the lyrical content of her last ever recording "I don't wanna' leave you" have been the cause of much speculation with parallels having been drawn with a lot of the mythology surrounding blues guitarist and singer Robert Johnston
Little is known about her background, date of birth etc, but she has achieved iconic status with fans of soul music due, in the main, to her pairing / partnership with songwriter / producers David Jordan and Patrick Adams .
It's believed that Debbie Taylor first came to the attention of Decca records through her church singing. Her first recording with the Decca label in 1968 produced the tracks “I get the blues / The last laugh is on the blues” (Decca 32090) and Check yourself / Wait until I'm gone (Decca 32259). Neither track achieved much in the way of commercial success at the time of their release however today both are much sought after releases which give the earliest indications of a vocal talent that would beguile listeners worldwide.
She parted company with Decca and moved to the New York based GWP label which ran its affairs from 150 East 52nd Street. Her 1969 debut single with GWP “Never gonna let him know / Let's prove them wrong (GWP 501) was also the launch single for the label. In that year she also recorded the uptempo “Don't let it end / How long can this last” (GWP 510) and a flip side to the Hesitations single “No brag just fact” titled “Mamma look sharp” (GWP 512) which saw her showcase her vocal diversity in a style very reminiscent of the great Billie Holiday’s interpretation of Strange fruit.
Despite having released three records in 1969 between then and 1972 she recorded and released only one further recording - "Don't nobody mess with my baby" / "Stop" on the GWP subsidiary label GWP Grapevine.
In 1972 she left the GWP label and was brought to the Perception / Today label by its then Vice President Boo Frazier and David Jordan. It was during her brief stint at Today that she recorded the seminal soul / funk album "Comin' down on You" with Vice President of A&R Patrick Adams and songwriter producer David Jordan providing not only musical direction in the shape of songs but also with Adams infusing the recordings with a soulful vibe that was to become his trademark.
Taylor's tenure with Today was another short stint. It resulted in the album Comin' down on You, and one single released from it. Many regard this as her most productive / prolific period as a singer. Her collaboration with Adams, the then manager / producer and co-writer for label mates Black Ivory, resulted in her covering the track "No if's, and's or but's".
In 1973 demo / promotional recordings on the Polydor label of the Mavis Staples track "I have learned to do without you" released on Volt Records in 1970 began to surface. The track was released that year with the flipside "Cheaper in the long run". Commercial success still eluded her and by 1975 she had moved to and was recording with Arista Records.
It was during this period with Arista that she recorded what many consider to be the soul single - a track in the classic Northern Soul style. "Just don't pay" backed by a phenomenal vocal performance of "I don't wanna leave you" - both tracks penned by David Jordan.
Little or nothing is known of Taylor's activities post 1975 and in his liner notes of the 1997 reissue CD "Still comin' down on ya!" John Ridley states "The last thing Debbie recorded was "I don't wanna' leave you"" and he further moots that "If Debbie is still singing no doubt it will be in the church where she undoubtedly started".
Decca Records 7" Discography
- "I get the blues" (Don Bryant) / "The last laugh is on the blues" (Buddy Scott, Jimmy Radcliffe) Produced by Joe Medlin - Cat No: 32090 released 1968.
- "Check yourself" (David Porter, Isaac Hayes) / "Wait until I'm gone" (Willa Dean Parker, Henderson Thigpen). Produced by Joe Medlin - Cat No: 32259 released 1968.
GWP Records 7" Discography
- "Never gonna let him know" (R Dahrouge, B Terrell) / "Lets prove them wrong" (E Jones, G Kerr). Produced by George Kerr and Paul Robinson - Cat No: GWP-501 released 1969.
- "Don't let it end" (T McQueen) / "How long can this last" (E Jones, A Mitchell). Produced by Paul Robinson and George Kerr. Cat No: GWP-510 released 1969.
- "Momma, look sharp" (Sherman Edwards) flipside to The Hesitations / "No brag just fact" (L Banks, H Rooney). Produced by Paul Robinson. Cat No: GWP-512 released 1969.
GWP Grapevine 7" Discography
- "Don't nobody mess with my baby" (R Dahrouge, B Terrell) / "Stop". Produced by R Dahrouge, B Terrell, ED Bland. Cat No: GRA-202 DJ Copy released 1970.
Today records Album
"Comin' down on you": Album - Cat No: TLP 1007 - Released 1972
- No if's, and's or but's.
- (I can't believe I'm) Touchin' you.
- Too sad to tell.
- Second to none.
- Romance without finance.
- Leaving him tomorrow.
- No deposit, no return.
- Eye doctor.
Today Records 7" Discography
- "No deposit, no return" (David Jordan, Patrick P Adams) / "Too sad to tell" (Maurice Irby jnr, T Philips). Produced by Patrick P Adams & David Jordan. Cat No: T-1510-A/B released 1972.
Polydor Records 7" Discography
- "I have learned to do without you" (David Jordan, D Davis, J Barnes) / Same. Produced by David Jordan, Arranged by Richard Rome, Cat No: PD 14219 - Promo/Demo copy 1973 - No commercial release.
- "I have learned to do without you" (David Jordan, D Davis, J Barnes) / "Cheaper in the long run" (David Jordan). Produced by David Jordan, Arranged by Richard Rome, Cat No: PD 14219 - released 1973.
- "Superstar" / "A good woman don't grow on trees" Cat No: Polydor 14252 - scheduled 1973/1974 but never released.
Arista Records 7" Discography
- "I don't wanna leave you" runtime 3:58 (D Jordan, A Smith) / "I don't wanna leave you" runtime 5:30. Produced by David Jordan, Tom Moulton mix, Cat No: AS-0144 - Promo/Demo copy 1975 - not commercially released (label mispress on 5:30 version).
- "I don't wanna leave you" runtime 3:58 (D Jordan, A Smith) / "I don't wanna leave you" runtime 5:30. Produced by David Jordan, Tom Moulton mix, Cat No: ASDJ-0144 - Promo/Demo/DJ copy 1975 - not commercially released.
- "Just don't pay" (D Jordan, A Smith) / "I don't wanna leave you" runtime 5:30. Produced by David Jordan, Tom Moulton mix, Cat No: AS-0144 - released 1975.
- "I don't wanna leave you" runtime 3:58 (D Jordan, A Smith) / "Just don't pay" (D Jordan, A Smith). Produced by David Jordan, Tom Moulton mix, Cat No: Arista 50 - UK Demo - 1975 not commercially released.
- "Still comin' down on ya!". Tracklisting as with "Comin' down on you". CD format reissued by Sequel Records. Cat (UPC) No: 502322409412, release date 09/09/1997.
- " Soul twins, volume I" A twin set release of JJ Barnes's "Born again" album and "Comin down on you". CD format reissued by Today / Sanctuary (UK). Cat (UPC) no: 5050749415011. Release date 28/05/2007.
- "I have learned to do without you" appears on the compilation album "Urban classics III" released by Urban Records / Polydor (UK). Vinyl format only. Released 1989.
- "Too sad to tell" appears on the "Doors of perception" compilation album. CD format released by Castle. Release date 24/09/2001
- "Too sad to tell" appears on the compilation album "Sisters of Soul". CD format released by Castle. Release date 2004 Cat No: CMQCD903
- The tracks "Don't let it end", "Don't nobody mess with my baby" and "All that I have" (with the Hesitations) appear on the GWP NYC TCB compilation CD issued by Kent in the UK. Release date 2006. Cat No: Kent (CDKEND 249).