Sweet Inspiration

Album: The Sweet Inspirations (1968)
Charted: 18


  • The Sweet inspirations were an American gospel/R&B girl group founded by Emily "Cissy" Houston, mother of the late Whitney Houston. The lineup was completed by Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell and Myrna Smith. Sylvia Shinwell was the sister of Judy Clay of "Private Number" fame.
  • The group sang backup for many stars, including Aretha Franklin ("Chain Of Fools"), Dionne Warwick ("I Say a Little Prayer") and Van Morrison ("Brown Eyed Girl.")
  • This was The Sweet Inspirations only Top 40 hit under their own name. It was penned by Dewey "Spooner" Oldham and Dan Penn, whose other hits include "Cry Like A Baby" by The Box Tops and "I'm Your Puppet" by James and Bobby Purify.
  • Dewey "Spooner" Oldham recalled the story of the song to Mojo: "I had met The Sweet Inspirations from working with Aretha. They were cutting a record on their own in America. I was a big fan. I loved the way they sung, so I went down to watch but the songs they were cutting were awful. I said to Dan, 'Let's write them something.' We went in to the office, there was a guitar in there. Dan picked it, I started riffing on their name, they'd just come with that earlier in the day, a few minutes later we had the song done."

    Dan Penn added: "We took it into them, they loved it, they started learning it straight away. I got behind the board and we cut it in one. It was magic and the real high point for both of us."


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