The Ritchie Family comprised of:
Gwendolyn Oliver Wesley
Cheryl Mason Jacks (a.k.a. Cheryl Mason-Dorman)
Cassandra Ann Wooten
This group are usually bracketed into the same category as disco era bands such as the Village People, however, the bands pedigree goes back further than the heady disco dancing days of 1978.
Each album was carefully themed, visually.
The Ritchie Family took their name from Philly arranger and producer, Richie Rome one of the gentlemen responsible for the group and its success, the other being Jaques Morali.
That success gave the team their first big hit single and album with "Brazil' on 20th Century.
'Arabian Nights' followed containing the subsequent hit single, 'Best Disco In Town'.
The group first met as background singers at Sigma Sound studios in Philadelphia.
Prior to that, Cassandra and Gwendolyn had been part of' a quartet known as Honey & The Bees in 1966.
Honey & The Bees comprised of:
Cassandra Ann Wooten
The group had a few, hits on the Jubilee label including 'That's What Boys Are Made For' and 'Sunday Kind Of Love'.
The band stayed together until 1971 when the group split up.
They then began working as background singers.
Cassandra met Cheryl in drama class and the core of the group were formed.
Then Jacques Morali and Nenri Beliol came over from Europe with the idea of recording a disco alburn at Sigma Sound.
They worked with Richie Rome and they chose the girls to perform back-up work on an album, entitled 'Brazil'.
The group also performed with Phil Hurtt as background singers.
The band went their seperate ways at the end of the Seventies, with Richie Rome cutting a solo project entitled 'Deep' in 1980.
Gwendolyn Oliver is married to Fred Wesley today.
The group's original members, Cassandra Wooten, Cheryl Mason-Dorman and new member Renee Guilory-Wearing have reformed the group and are now touring.
Brazil (20th Century Records 1975)
Arabian Nights (Marlin Records 1976)
African Queens (Marlin Records 1977)
Ritchie Family (Marlin Records 1976)
Life Is Music (Polydor Records 1978)
American Generation (Ariola Records 1978)
Bad Reputation (Casablanca Records 1979)
I'll Do My Best (RCA Records 1982)