Joan Pulliam (Jaibi) was born on February 6 1943, and started her professional music career as a member of the Pleasures who recorded a couple of 45s for RSVP in 1964/5 under her married name Joan Bates. These rather ordinary pop/soul girl group records didn’t do anything in a saturated market, but she moved up a gear after she married Larry Banks in 1965. Together they wrote several very good songs such as Larry’s own recording “Muddy Water” and the duet they cut You’re Not Mine.
She also recorded sessions as a solo artist in the mid 60s, from which only one 45 ever emerged. This was the celebrated ballad You Got Me which has received rave notices from many sources over the years. I’m a big fan of this desperate piece of big city music too, on which Jaibi’s heartbreak vocal is almost tangible in its distress. She is greatly aided in this by the fine chord structure of the song itself and the “open” arrangement which gives her plenty of room. A superb effort no question.
Sadly her other tracks, which have all been issued on one CD or another by UK Ace don’t get anywhere this artistic level. The nearest attempt was It Was Like A Nightmare which tried for a similar emotional impact but the song doesn’t quite cut it for me despite a fine vocal performance.
After Banks and Jaibi separated Joan went on to a lucrative and successful career in the IT business. She sadly died very young – only 43 – on September 4 1984.
You got me / What good am I ~ KAPP 804 (1967)
Note ~ You can find “You got me” on the Ace UK CD “Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures Vol 1” and “It was like a nightmare” on Vol 4 of the same series. Early demos and alternate takes of “You got me” are on the same company’s “Deep Shadows” and the “Larry Banks’ Soul Family Album” CDs.