b. James Jay Barnes, 30th November 1943, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 10th December 2022
Born in Detroit in 1943, J.J. Barnes is a well respected singer in the R&B genre.
He has seven brothers and one sister (the singer Orthea Barnes).
J.J. was educated at the North Western High School in Detroit.
His vocal career began with contributions to the groups, The Halo Gospel Singers (whose line-up included: J. J. Barnes, (his sister) Orthea Barnes, Johnny Starks, Charles Sims, Calvin Southern, and Donald Southern), The Five Seniors (whose line-up included J. J., Barry Reed, Don York, and Walter Payton) and his own group, J. J. Barnes & The De!l Fi’s.
My Love Came Tumbling Down b/w Won't You Let Me Know - 1960 / Just One More Time b/w Hey Child, I Love You - 1963
The latter group were signed to the Kable imprint, who released the single ‘My Love Came Tumbling Down’ b/w ‘Won't You Let Me Know’ in 1960.
As a solo singer, J.J. released ‘My Love Came Tumbling Down’ b/w ‘Won't You Let Me Know’ for the Rich imprint the same year.
J.J. recorded his earliest sides for the Mickay’s and Scepter imprints, which included ‘Just One More Time’ b/w ‘Hey Child I Love You’, released in 1963, and issued on both labels.
Further releases included ‘These Chains Of Love’ b/w ‘Color Green’ (in 1963) and ‘Please Let Me In’ b/w ‘I Think I Found A Love’ (in 1965), following a label move to the Ric-Tic imprint.
These early sides became highly sought after on the U.K.’s Northern Soul scene.
At Ric Tic, J.J. covered The Beatles' ‘Day Tripper’ b/w ‘Don't Bring Me Bad News’,after which he switched labels to the Motown imprint.
After a short stay at the label, J.J. moved labels again to Groovesville Records, where he released his most successful single ‘Baby Please Come Back Home’ b/w ‘Chains Of Love’ in 1967.
‘Baby Please Come Back Home’ reached number 9 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart.
rare stamps vol.1 - 1969 / born again - 1973 / the groovesville masters - 1975 / sara smile - 1977
He left the label the same year, and recorded sides for the Revilot and Groove City labels between 1967 and 1969.
At the turn of the decade, Edwin Starr suggested J.J. relocate to England.
Following appearances at U.K. shows, (at which Edwin Starr helped J.J. peform), J.J. signed to the Contempo label in 1976.
Prior to the label move, J.J. released the singles ‘Real Humdinger’ b/w ‘I Ain’t Gonna Do It’ (on U.K. Motown in 1973) and ‘You Are Just A Living Doll’ b/w ’Touching You’ (on Perception in 1973).
Contempo Records released several singles (including ‘Sara Smile’ b/w ‘Let Me Feel The Funk’ and ‘The Erroll Flynn’ b/w ‘She's Mine’) and an album, entitled ‘Sara Smile’ in 1977.
try it one more time - 1991
In the 1980’s J.J. released material for Ian Levine’s Motorcity imprint, and released a version of the Northern soul evergreen by Frank Wilson, ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’.
J.J. still maintained a large following amongst Northern Soul fans in the U.K.
J.J. died on the 10th December 2022.
Rare Stamps Vol.1 (Volt Records 1969)
Born Again (Perception Records 1973)
The Groovesville Masters (Contempo Records 1975)
Sara Smile (Contempo Records 1977)
Try It One More Time (Motorcity Records 1991)
King Of Nothern Soul (Motor City Records 1996)