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b. Josephine Armstead, 8th October 1944, Yazoo City, Mississippi, U.S.A.
A former member of the Ikettes, 'Joshie' Jo Armstead sang on the 1962 US Top 20 pop hit 'I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song)'.
Armstead began her solo career under the name Dina Johnson and she subsequently formed a songwriting partnership with Ashford And Simpson, with whom she penned 'Let's Go Get Stoned' (Ray Charles) and 'Never Had It So Good' (Ronnie Milsap).
In 1967, Jo moved to Chicago, where she met and married Mel Collins.
Together they started the record labels, Gamma, Globe & Giant.
Their production company would include a roster of many artists including, Little Jimmy Scott, Ruby Andrews, Smokey Smothers, Fenton Robinson, Garland Green and Joshie Jo Armstead herself.
She began recording for the labels herself as well as being instrumental in the launch of John Edwards solo career.
Armstead also produced several acts as well as founding the Giant & Gamma labels on which she had two 1968 R & B hits, 'A Stone Good Lover' and 'I've Been Turned On'.
In 1969, Joshie's studio had a massive smash with Garland Green's soul classic 'Jealous Kind Of Fella'.
The song would chart at No 5 in October of 1969 R & B, and No 20 on the pop charts, in November that year.
It was at this time that Jo divoced Mel Collins and moved to New York.
In 1972, Joshie appearred, and gave a powerful performance, in Melvin Van Peebles' Broadway play, 'Don't Play Us Cheap', as well as featuring on the soundtrack.
In New York she sang session work for Stax Records ontheir subsidiary label Gospel Truth.
Here she recorded 'I've Got The Vibes' and 'Give A Little Loving'.
Her final chart entry came in 1974 with the emotional 'Stumblin' Blocks, Steppin' Stones' which was issued on the Stax subsidiary Truth.
Joshie also was, at this time, in the midst of trying to retrieve her songwriting royalties over the years and she began designing women's clothing.
She even managed a boxer from Chicago named Alonzo Ratliff.
In the early nineties, she recorded 'In The Right Place' for her own Prairie Rose Record label.
Her work, both as a writer and performer, is vastly underrated. Jo Armstead has had a long and distinguished career in the music business. She started out as an Ikette in the early 60s before going solo in New York cutting for Infinity in 1965. But she was an
expert songwriter as well as singer, penning songs for the great Big Maybelle, Tina Britt and Betty Everett as well as Ray Charles, including "Let's go get stoned" with Ashford and Simpson. In 67 she moved to Chicago setting up the Giant and Gamma concerns with her husband Mel Collins. They cut some excellent material on Garland Green, Shirley Wahls and Ruby Andrews as well as Armstead herself before personal and professional problems ended the labels and the relationship.
|Sittin' Here Thinkin' / Looking For A Lover Boy
|No Better For You / This And That
|I Feel An Urge Coming On / I Who Love You So
|A Stone Good Lover / The Urge Keeps Coming
|I've Been Turned On / Never Had It Like This Before (J A)
|Another Reason Why I Love You / There's Not Too Many Left Like Him
|I'm Gonna Show You (How A Man Is Supposed To Be Treated) / I've Been Turned On
|Never Try To Love No More / Lovers Lane
|I Got The Vibes / Ride Out The Storm
||Gospel Truth 1207
|Stumblin' Blocks, Steppin' Stones / Give A Little Loving
||Gospel Truth 1214
|In The Right Place / By A Twist Of Fate
|Got My Taste Of The Honey / Won't You Join The Band
||Preacher Rose 0009
||A Stone Good Lover - US Collectables (cd)
1.I Feel an Urge Coming On (Jo Armstead) (2:37)
2. I Who Love You So (Jo Armstead) (2:50)
3. Stone Good Lover (Jo Armstead) (2:29)
4. Urge Keeps Coming (Dance, Dance, Dance) (Instrumental) (Jo Armstead) (2:11)
5. Another Reason Why I Love You (Jo Armstead) (2:32)
6. There's Not Too Many More (Left Like Him) (Jo Armstead) (2:35)
7. I've Been Turned On (Jo Armstead) (2:34)
8. I'm Gonna Show You (How a Man Is Supposed to Be Treated) (Jo Armstead) (3:15)
9. Never Had It Like This Before (Jo Armstead) (2:35)
10. Ride Out the Storm (Jo Armstead) (3:44)
11. Stepping Stones (Jo Armstead) (7:12)
12. Got My Taste (Jo Armstead) (3:02)
13. Won't You Join the Band (Jo Armstead) (7:03)
14. Give a Little Loving (Jo Armstead) (3:59)
15. Living in a Song (Jo Armstead) (3:09)
16. Send It Up (Jo Armstead) (4:04)
17. I Got the Vibes (Jo Armstead) (2:21)
18. Say Thank You Tonight (Jo Armstead) (5:48)
||Steppin' Jones Truth (Stax)
TRS-4203 1975 (as Josie Jo Armstead)
1. Won't You Join The Band (On My Caravan)
2. Ride Out The Storm
3. Stumblin' Blocks, Steppin' Stones (What Took Me So Long)
4. Got My Taste
5. Give A Little Loving
6. I'm Living In A Song
7. There Is No Love (Send It Up)
8. I Got The Vibes/
9. Say Thank You Tonite.
||Don't Play Us Cheap Stax 2SCD-88040-2 1972 (Broadway Musical)
1. You cut up the clothes in the closet of my dreams (Josie Jo at her Gospel best)
2. Break that party
3. The eight day week
4. Saturday night
5. The browsers thing
6. The book of life
7. Quittin time
8. Ain't love grand
9. I'm a bad character
10. Know your business
11. Feast on me
12. Someday it seems that it just don't even pay to get out of bed
14. The phoney game
15. It makes no difference
16. Bad character Bossa Nova
17. The Washingtons thing
18. If you see a devil smash him
Melvin Van Peebles (Music, Lyrics & Book)
||Dude Kilmarnock 72003 1972 (Broadway Musical)
I love my Boo Boo
Talk to me about love
A song to sing
I never knew
Sweet dreams blossom
Say what you want to say
A garden for two
Only a few more years
Cissy Houston also appeared
|To David Cole of 'In The Basement' magazine for his help in compiling the above Discography