Date of Birth: June 21, 1941
Place of Birth: Birmingham, Alabama
As a member of the traveling gospel group, the Hayes Ensemble, Collier toured throughout Alabama and Georgia. Switching to secular music, she was discovered singing in a talent show by Chess Records scout Ralph Bass. Her early releases lacked direction until "I'm Your Part Time Love", an answer to Little Johnny Taylor's "Part Time Love", reached the US R&B Top 20 in 1963. "I Had A Talk With My Man" (1964), remains her definitive single. Adapted from a Rev. James Cleveland song, "I Had A Talk With God Last Night", Mitty's deep contralto soars against producer Billy Davis' sumptuous backing. Another Cleveland composition, "No Cross, No Crown", then inspired the follow-up, "No Faith, No Love" (1965). Although the quality of her subsequent recordings remained high, "Sharing You" (1966) was her final hit. Her spell with Chess ended in 1968 with "Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes", a southern soul-styled offering recorded at Muscle Shoals. Following five singles for William Bell's Peachtree label and a solitary release for Entrance, Mitty Collier returned to gospel music. The Warning, her first of several albums in this field, featured "I Had A Talk With God Last Night".
- Shades of A Genius (1965)
- The Warning (1972)
- Hold The Light (1977)
- I Am Love (1987).
The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music.
Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Singer Mitty Collier is best known for her sensual orchestrated ballad "I Had a Talk With My Man," a 1964 Chess single, which ironically wasn't her highest-charting single. A later single, "Sharing You," was a Top Ten R&B hit. "...Man" has been covered by Dusty Springfield (Anthology, 1997), Shirley Brown (Timeless, 1991), Inez Foxx (Memphis & More, 1996), and Marva Wright (Marvalous, 1995), among others.
Born June 21, 1941, in Birmingham, AL, Mitty Collier sang in church as a teen and toured with the Hayes Ensemble, a gospel group. While in college, Collier started singing rhythm and blues in local clubs. While visiting her brother in Chicago in the summer of 1959, a former instructor suggested that she enter talent shows. Winning WGES DJ Al Benson's Talent Contest at the legendary Regal Theater for six weeks straight, she was offered a record contract by Ralph Bass of Chess Records in 1960.
Her first charting single was an answer record to Little Johnny Taylor's "Part Time Love," a number one R&B smash in summer 1963. Collier's "I'm Your Part Time Love" b/w "Don't You Forget It" hit number 20 R&B in fall 1963. Her next hit became her signature song. Inspired in part by gospel great James Cleveland's "I Had a Talk With God Last Night" and produced by Chess staff producer Billy Davis, "I Had a Talk With My Man" b/w "Free Girl (In the Morning)" hit number three R&B on Cashbox Magazine's R&B chart in fall 1964. Another hit inspired by Cleveland ("No Cross No Crown"), "No Faith, No Love" b/w "Together," peaked at number 29 R&B in early 1965.
Collier's other Chess singles were "Come Back Baby" b/w "Aint That Love," the local hit "For My Man" b/w "Help Me," "Sharing You" b/w " Walk Away," "Watching and Waiting" b/w "Like Only Yesterday," "That'll Be Good Enough" b/w "Git Out," and "You're the Only One" b/w "Do It With Confidence." In 1969, Collier signed with Peachtree Records of Atlanta, GA and released the singles "True Love Never Comes Easy" and "You Hurt So Good" b/w "I Can't Lose." Her other releases are the single "Let Them Talk" and the U.K. CD Shades of Genius.
In 1972, Collier left secular music and began singing gospel music. In the '90s, she was a minister at a church in Chicago. Mitty Collier had a feature story in issue number 66 of Goldmine Magazine. ~ Ed Hogan, All Music Guide
Mitty Lene Collier (born 21 June 1941) is an American church pastor, gospel singer and former rhythm and blues singer. She had a number of successful records in the 1960s, of which probably the best known is "I Had A Talk With My Man Last Night".
Mitty Collier was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the seventh child of Rufus and Gertrude Collier, and attended Western-Olin High School, Alabama A & M College and Miles College where she majored in English. She began singing in church as a teenager, and toured with gospel groups, the Hayes Ensemble and the Lloyd Reese Singers, before starting to sing rhythm and blues in local clubs to help subsidise her college education. In 1959, while visiting Chicago, she entered DJ Al Benson's talent show at the Regal Theater, winning for six straight weeks and gaining her a slot on a bill with B. B. King and Etta James as a prize. This brought her to the attention of Ralph Bass of Chess Records, who offered her a recording contract.
She recorded for the Chess label from 1961 to 1968, releasing 15 singles and one album, mostly produced by Billy Davis. Her first record was "Gotta Get Away From It All", which was not a hit. Her first real success came in 1963 with "I'm Your Part Time Love", an answer record to Little Johnny Taylor's "Part Time Love". It reached # 20 on the Billboard R&B chart, and was followed up with "I Had A Talk With My Man", a secularised version of James Cleveland's gospel song "I Had A Talk With God Last Night". The orchestrated ballad reached # 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and # 3 on the Cash Box R&B chart, and became her best known song, later being covered by Dusty Springfield and Shirley Brown among others. Her next record, "No Faith, No Love", was also a reworking of a James Cleveland song, and reached # 29 on the Billboard R&B chart and # 91 on the pop chart. She released an album, Shades Of A Genius, in 1965. Her last hit, in 1966, was "Sharing You" (# 10 on the R&B chart, # 97 pop). She left Chess in 1968 after recording a single, a new version of "Gotta Get Away From It All" recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals with producer Rick Hall. She then recorded five further singles and an album with William Bell's Peachtree label in Atlanta, Georgia. However, in 1971 she developed polyps on her vocal cords, losing her singing voice, and gave up her secular music career.
She then began to devote her life to her Christian beliefs. After recovering her voice she recorded several albums of gospel music, of which the first, The Warning in 1972, featured "I Had A Talk With God Last Night". Later albums included Hold The Light (1977) and I Am Love (1987). She also established a Bible Study Telephone Prayer Line and a community outreach program, "Feed-A-Neighbor" (FAN), for which she received the key to the city of Birmingham in 1987. She became a preacher, and was ordained in 1989, later being appointed pastor of the More Like Christ (MLC) Christian Fellowship Ministries in Chicago. She has also worked at the University of Chicago, as well as writing plays and continuing to sing gospel music. She has received a number of other humanitarian and other awards, including the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) Woman of Wonder Award 2000.
Shades of a Genius (Chess, 1965)
The Warning (2 A.M., 1972)
Hold The Light (Gospel Roots, 1977)
I Am Love (New Sound, 1987)
1^ a b c Biography at More Like Christ church website
2^ a b Biography by Ed Hogan at Allmusic
3^ a b Ace Records compilation album notes
4^ a b c Mitty Collier at Soulwalking
5^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 89.
6^ Mitty Collier at Lock It Down
7^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc.. p. 313. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
8^ Cash Box R&B position - Billboard R&B chart was not published during the period.
Video: Mitty Collier - Pain - 1965 http://youtu.be/Ekp2MLJWVvg