At the time of Sam's death, James had made a recording of Gene Barge's 'Love Is A Five-Letter Word' as a solo act and made a deal with Chess subsidiary Argo. When the record was a top R & B hit in Billboard & Cashbox, instead of staying & potentially hurting the Soul Stirrer's gospel reputation, James went solo. In the studio recordings he did for Chess, his backing singers included Fontella Bass, Minnie Riperton, Sugar Pie Desanto and Etta James. His touring consisted of chitlin circuit as well as some salt & pepper circuit package shows alongside rock acts as well as popular contemporaries Otis Redding and James Brown... Future chart sucess eluded him, and by 1967 he was recording with Fontana, and after a few years hiatus, in 1971 appeared on the Apache label.
He officially left the record biz by 1972, and nowadays Phelps is now in his later years, residing in Los Angeles. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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