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soul children

Soul Children

The Soul Children were formed in 1968, and comprised of:

Anita Louis (b. 24th November 1949, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.)

Shelbra Bennett a.k.a. Shelbra Deane (b. Shelby Dene Bennett, 12th February 1947, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. d. 31st May 2013, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.)

John 'Blackfoot' Colbert (b. John Colbert, 20th November 1946, Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.A. d. 30th November 2011, The Methodist Hospital, Germantown, Tennessee, U.S.A.)


Norman West (b. 30th October 1939, Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.A.)

Under the Stax Records songwriting team wing of of Isaac Hayes and David Porter, the Soul Children were initially formed in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. in 1968.

Anita Louis was, originally, a backing singer, whilst Shelbra Bennett had recently been recruited to the label as a singer.

Norman West, Jr. was from Louisiana, and sang in church with his brothers Joe, James, and Robert.

Norman had previously replaced William Bell as a member of The Del-Rios in 1962 (group members Louis Williams (later member of The Ovations), Norman West, James Taylor and William Bell).

The Soul Children’ early sides included the 1968 45, ‘Give 'Em Love' b/w 'Move Over'.

Three of the group's further singles, 'The Sweeter He Is' b/w 'The Sweeter He Is (Part 2)' (in 1969), 'Hearsay' b/w 'Don't Take My Sunshine' (in 1970) and 'I'll Be The Other Woman' b/w 'Come Back Kind Of Love' (in 1973), reached the U.S. R&B Top 10.

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soul children - 1969 / best of two worlds - 1971 / genesis - 1972 / friction - 1974

The Soul Children released their first album, ‘Soul Children’, in 1969.

A second album, ‘Best of Two Worlds’, was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

In 1972, they released a third album entitled ‘Genesis’, which featured the hit single, ‘Hearsay’ b/w 'Don't Take My Sunshine', which reached no. 5 on the R&B chart and no. 44 on the U.S. pop chart.

The Soul Children appeared at the Wattstax concert in August 1972.

The following year, they recorded the ballad ‘I’ll Be the Other Woman’ b/w 'Come Back Kind Of Love', written and produced by Homer Banks and Carl Hampton, which reached no. 3 on the R&B chart and no. 36 on the pop chart.

Their final album for Stax (with Banks and Hampton), was entitled ‘Friction’, and was released in 1974.

The group left Stax in 1975, and Shelbra Bennett left for a solo career.

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finders keepers - 1976 / where is your woman tonight? - 1977 / open door policy - 1978 / still standing - 2004

The trio of Norman West, John Colbert and Anita Louis relocated to Epic Records in 1976, releasing the album, ‘Finders Keepers’, following the Stax label’s demise.

A second album at Epic was entitled ‘Where Is Your Woman Tonight’ (in 1977), featured their old producer David Porter.

David then signed the group to a reactivated Stax label, co-producing a further album for the group entitled ‘Open Door Policy’ (in 1978).

Following a lack of response to the album the Soul Children went their seperate ways in 1979.

John Colbert later became the solo singer J. Blackfoot.

He had previously been nicknamed ‘Blackfoot’ for his habit of walking barefoot on the tarred sidewalks of Memphis during the summer, and had also spent time in prison between 1964 and 1967.

John had previously recorded solo 45’s before joining The Bar-Kays as a lead singer, following the four original band members deaths (along with Otis Redding) in a plane crash.

His single, 'Taxi', was a 1983 hit in both the U.S.A. and U.K.

Anita Louis later left the music business and later worked for Federal Express and Time-Warner.

Norman West continued work on the club circuit and as a gospel singer and musician.

Shelbra Bennett recorded several singles as Shelbra Deane in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Shelbra’s biggest solo success came in the form of ‘Don't Touch Me’ (number 50 R&B, 1977).

She passed away in 2013.

In 2007, Norman West and J. Blackfoot decided to reform the Soul Children, adding two new singers, Ann Hines and Cassandra Graham.

They recorded one album entitled ‘Still Standing’ for the JEA Right Now Records imprint.

J. Blackfoot passed away in 2011.

Norman West released a single in 2008 entitled ‘Long Ride Home’.

Soul Children

Real Player


Soul Children (Stax Records 1969)

Best Of Two Worlds (Stax Records 1971)

Genesis (Stax Records 1972)

Friction (Stax Records 1974)

The Soul Years (Epic Records 1974)

Finders Keepers (Epic Records 1976)

Where Is Your Woman Tonight? (Epic Records 1977)

Open Door Policy (Stax Records 1978)

Still Standing (JEA Music Records 2004)

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