Thursday, 6 January 2011

NS540 Bunny Sigler [1967] - Follow Your Heart [Parkway 6001]

b/w: Can You Dig It
Format: 45
Label: Parkway
Cat No: 6001
Year: 1967
Value: £0

A huge tune from The Twisted Wheel era.  Fairly easy to find a copy at around £25.

Walter Sigler was born on March 27, 1941 in Philadelphia, one of 8 children.  Apparently, he got the nickname 'Bunny' from his mother when he was an infant because he was born with a fully grown front tooth and she commented that he looked just like a bunny rabbit, an alternative story is that it came from the Easter bunny because he was born around Easter.  He is also known as 'Mr. Emotion'.
His early years were spent singing gospel, although his true desire was to become a professional basketball player which was ended when when he injured his leg.

Sigler first recorded for the V-Tone, Hi-Lo and Bee in 1959 and subsequently recorded for Craig, Bamboo, Decca, Parkway and Neptune in the 60s, Philadelphia International and Gold Mind in the 70s and Sugar Hill, Jersey Connection and Star Island in the 80s.
In his teens he sang with various doo wop groups like the Opals. He recorded for various local labels singing, playing guitar and piano in nightclubs where he was spotted by Leon Huff who introduced him to producers John Medara and Dave White (Len Barry's '123') who then signed him to a deal that lead to the release of his first album, 'Let the Good Times Roll & Feels So Good' on Cameo Parkway. The first single, 'Girl Don't Make Me Wait', received both R&B and pop airplay ans was a huge tune on the UKs Northern Soul scene. The title track (originally a hit for Shirley & Lee) was the second single and was making a respectable showing on the R&B/pop charts (number 20 R&B and number 22 pop) when Cameo Parkway suddenly folded.

Sigler then started writing songs for Gamble & Huff Productions which became Philadelphia International Records in 1970. He co-wrote 'Sunshine' with Phil Hurrt which was released as a follow-up single to the O'Jays' million-selling 'Back Stabbers' as well as 'When the World Is at Peace' and 'Who Am I' which appeared on the Backstabbers album.

He also wrote 'You Got Your Hooks in Me' and co-wrote 'Don't You Call Me Brother' with Kenny Gamble for The O'Jays' follow-up album, 'Ship Ahoy' and continued to write, produce, play and sing on many PIR productions.
In 1972 Sigler was given approval to cut tracks on himself and brought into the studio TNJs (T for Trenton, NJ for New Jersey) and their backing band Instant Funk. His first single was the 'Regina' and another single was a remake of Bobby Lewis' 'Tossin' and Turnin' gave Sigler his first chart hit (number 38 R&B) since 'Let the Good Times Roll'.

PIR issued two albums by Sigler in 1974, 'That's How Long I'll Be Loving You' which featured a remake of the O'Jays' 'Love Train' and 'Keep Smilin'.  'My Music' was issued in 1976 which contained 'Somebody Loves You' an Opal's tribute, 'Just Let Me Love You Tonight'.  This album featured the Instant Funk rhythm section.

Sigler worked with a number of acts as a writer and/or producer, including the Whispers, Ecstacy, Passion and Pain, and Carl Carlton and cut tracks for artists on Curtis

Mayfield's Curtom label, including Mayfield himself ('Trippin' Out').  He also made a duet album with Barbara Mason.

In 1976, Sigler got Instant Funk an album deal with Gamble & Huff's TSOP label, 'Get Down on the Philly Jump' which featured clubs hits for the title track and 'It Ain't Reggae (But It Sho Is Funky)'.

In 1978, Sigler switched to Gold Mind (started by MFSB guitarist Norman harris) bringing along Instant Funk and scoring a top 10 R&B hit single with 'Let Me Party With You (Party, Party, Party)' with his first release and an album of the same name was a smash in disco clubs. When Goldmind folded, all of its acts were transferred to Salsoul. Sigler and Instant Funk worked with many acts on Salsoul such as Loleatta Holloway, Double Exposure, and First Choice.

In the early '80s, when Salsoul folded, Sigler continued to write and produce, hitting with 'Somebody Loves You Baby', a million-seller for Patti Labelle, and taking Shirley Jones to number one R&B with 'Do You Get Enough Love' in August of 1986.

Studio Albums
1967 - Let The Good Times Roll And Feel So Good (Parkway PS-50,000)
1974 - That's How Long I'll Be Loving You (Philadelphia International)
1975 - Keep Smilin (Philadelphia International)
1976 - My Music (Philadelphia International)
1977 - Locked In This Position (with Barbara Mason)
1977 - Let Me Party With You (Gold Mind)
1979 - I've Always Wanted To Sing...Not Just Write Songs (Gold Mind)
1980 - Let It Snow (Sal-Soul)
2003 - Let Me Love You Tonight (Grapevine Records)
2008 - The Lord's Prayer (101 Distribution)

Compilation Albums
1996 - The Best of Bunny Sigler: Sweeter Than the Berry (Sony/Legacy)
1998 - Bunny Sigler (Sony Special Products)
2006 - The Best of Philly Soul - Vol. 2 (That Philly Sound)

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