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Monda Harris on Capitol

January 9, 2012

I don’t quite remember why but one day I was visiting my friend Clive Fox at his office. He was running Chappell Music in Los Angeles. I had just completed the Cooker project, also for Chappell as Cooker was a Chappell writer. He introduced me to the Harris sisters. Beautiful and talented twins. They could sing and both Clive and I thought that they were going to be the next big thing. Even though they were twins they had distinct differences. Patty was extremely funny and out-going and Kate was more subdued with a smoldering bluesy voice. Patty’s voice was very versatile. She had a great range and she could sing with smooth quality like no-one I had ever been around. Together I thought they were as unique as The Righteous Brothers. I immediately started hunting for songs. Of course I started with the Chappell catalogue and we were rehearsing a couple of songs when it became apparent that maybe we should consider other material.

 At this time I had many chart records as a writer and as an artist but I didn’t think I had anything that was perfect for the twins so I kept looking. I think it was my friend Stu Yahm, who was a Capitol Records A& R executive that suggested that the three of us try something together. As an artist I had never sung with anyone else except for background parts. This was three-part harmony and we had a sound.

As a professional song writer I had to write in a variety of styles so writing for Patty  fit with the style I used for Englebert and Gary Puckett and Kate was somewhere between Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. Stu’s suggestion opened up a flood gate of ideas and songs not the least were my two favorites, “Just enough to keep me on the hook” , sung by Kate and “Bumble Bee”,by Patty. When I recorded my latest album, I included both songs but nobody could do them the way Patrizia and Katarina did.

After we had a number of songs rehearsed, Stu set up an audition where we played live for the suits (or t-shirts) of Capitol and they signed us. The deal was not much more than a demo deal as there was no advance and no support but we were happy for the opportunity.

There were several good things that came from the project. I met and was able to spend a lot of time with Carter, who was our A&R guy and the producer of “Private Dancer” for Tina Turner. Because of my Cooker record he recorded “Try to fall in love” with Sammy Hagar. I met Elmer Bernstein. We played a weekend at the Roxy in Hollywood opening for Commander Cody. As a writer I never heard any of my songs sung with the passion and commitment delivered by Patty and Kate. The best thing was that Patty met her husband, Jimmy Greenwood who owned the record chain, Licorice Pizza and today they have a wonderful family. If you factor in all of that it was a successful project but as far as the record goes it got just spotty air play and to be quite honest the record company didn’t give a crap. If I had it to do all over again I would not have interjected myself into the project as an artist. I would have stayed, writer and producer. This became obvious to me when we played The Roxy as everything paled in the existence of the twins on stage. I could not compete with their fantastic presence. I have included a few cuts from our album. Let me know what you think.

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5 comments

  1. I remember their dog!
    Butch


  2. I gave them directions to Anaheim from the Valley and they said we don’t drive on the freeway….Surface streets to Anaheim from the Valley??


  3. I remember Donny having me bring my Harley into the studio to record the into of track #1 here. I suggested it’d be too dead in the studio …little did we account for a rich running Harley Pan Head smoking up the studio. Wee Bee Gee Bees what a session.

    Great memories building this album. Thanks again Dick.


  4. Always considered the album an excellent
    Musical job, but I’m not impartial as my bro
    Ron Fransen (wizard) was the keyboard
    Player and being fried on the back of the
    Album. Has been on my office wall for years. One of my favs is monkey monkey
    In the cocoanut tree. You still have any cuts
    Or film of you guys live? I’m sure many
    Would love to see on you tube.


  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE!



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