My Favorite Record #8

Tina Britt: Who Was That (Veep, 1968)

Just as I was about to dash home after DJing Soul-A-Go-Go on Saturday night/ Sunday morning, DJ Jumpy gets out Tina Britt’s “Who Was That,” a finger-wagging, tongue-lashing tirade by a girl who’s had enough. “Who was that going out the back door when I came in?” She demands to know, half singing, half talking, and veering between furious and laid-back. Questions turn into threats (“Don’t tell me no lie if you don’t wanna wake up dead”) and likening her man to a frog (“ribbit ribbit ribbit, ” she taunts). You get the feeling she’s quite enjoying this. Sue Records co-founder and producer Juggy Murray gets a crystal-clear sound out of every instrument; it was probably the best-sounding 45 of the night.  

I ended up finding a video interview with Tina Britt from around 2010, where she calls Juggy Murray “a player,” who never paid her royalties for her two Billboard hits–“The Real Thing” on Eastern Records in 1965 (#20), and “Who Was That” in 1968 (#39). She was discovered whilst working in a restaurant, and being told by a patron that she looked like she could “do a lot more than flip burgers.” She took it as an insult, and he made it up to her by arranging an introduction to Juggy Murray. She admited to hating “The Real Thing” at first, because it was a bit too soulful, and she considered herself a blues singer. Despite only a short run of singles, an LP Blue All the Way was released on Minit Records in 1968, and produced by Juggy Murray. 

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