Patti Drew – Tell Him

25th August 2021 · 1960s, 1963, Doo Wop, Music, Soul

Here’s another very-oldie dating back to 1963 by The Drew-Vels – re-recorded four years later as a solo single by Patti Drew.

The Drew-Vels were a vocal quartet of Patti Drew backed by her sisters Lorraine and Erma, and bass singer Carlton Black who began singing in church with their mother, who worked as a cleaning lady for a music promoter who auditioned them at his home and signed them up to Capitol Records.

This soulful tune written by Black, who brought a strong doo-wop influence, became their first single. It was a huge hit around the Chicago area, but the group broke up the following year and Patti signed her own deal, re-recording Tell Him as her first solo single.

It’s more soulful than the group version by The Drew-Vels, with the addition of a fiery horn section, Patti’s strong vocal to the fore, and Black’s doo-wop element more restrained.

It’s also a different Tell Him from the better known song recorded by The Exciters (and Billie Davis, Sonny & Cher, The Glitter Band, Hello, Bette Midler and, among others, Caroline Quentin & Leslie Ash), and a different one again from the Tell Him later recorded by Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion.

After a successful solo career, including the first hit version of Neil Sedaka’s song Workin’ On A Groovy Thing – later a huge hit for the 5th Dimension – Drew left the music business in 1971, returned for a one-off single in 1975, and reunited with Carlton Black in a local Chicago group called Front Line in the 1980s.