People will make you say things - MY RECORD 2101

Frank Lynch

If you wanted to buy R & B in Boston, MA the go-to place was Skippy White’s. For more than 30 years Skippy was the soul king of the city. And while he mainly sold music he did make the occasional foray into providing it as well. Perhaps his best known label was Bluestown but there were others as well like My Record. This 45 by the obscure Frank Lynch is the only one I’m aware of on the My Record label and it contains two good sides. The pick is undoubtedly ListenPeople Will Make You Say Things, a really tuneful ballad. The chord changes work well, as does the orchestral arrangement, and Lynch does the song justice with his gospel tinged vocal – the short unaccompanied rap and his falsetto phrases being especially tasty. The faster flip shows his strong chops to good effect as well.

UPDATE ~ The fine singer and songwriter Eli "Paperboy" Reed, an expert on soul from Boston, has posted some really fascinating background on the Frank Lynch 45on the Southernsoul newsgroup at Yahoo. He has very kindly allowed me to reproduce it here -

"Earlier tonight I spoke on the phone to Herschel Dwellingham who wrote the song "Young Girl." We spoke for over an hour and I found out that not only did he write Young Girl, he arranged, produced and played drums on the record! He grew up in Bogalusa, LA (where he lives again now) and moved to Boston to attend Berklee and after became THE arranger, producer and session drummer for basically all the R & B and Soul records that came out in Boston between 1963 and 1973. He also was the band leader and drummer at the biggest and best Boston Soul Club at the time, The Sugar Shack, in addition to writing and arranging commercial jingles at Ace recording studios in Boston's famed combat zone. Herschel really transformed the Soul Scene in Boston by combining the southern sound he had gotten growing up in Bogalusa (about 70 miles north of New Orleans) with the formal training he received at Berklee.

"Young Girl" was recorded in late 1967 and was the 2nd record Herschel ever produced, after the Billy Thompson record. He and the singer Frank Lynch had known each other for a few years and after a local DJ failed to follow up on a promise to record Lynch, Herschel decided he would produce him himself. He wrote the song "Young Girl" along with the b-side of the single "People Will Make You Say Things." This time Herschel did the horn and string arrangements himself in addition to producing and playing drums. His friend Alf Clausen, though, was involved again this time playing the distinctive french horn part on the session! Herschel recorded the song on his own dime and then brought it to label and record store impresario Skippy White who promptly released it on his label My Records. As soon as the record came out in 1968 it was given pick hits by billboard, cashbox and several other trade magazines.

"Young Girl" was on its way to taking off before fate intervened. On a Friday night, Frank Lynch was playing with Herschel and his band at the famous Boston club, Paul's Mall. At this time Lynch was living with his Aunt who he had recently moved in with after living with Herschel and his wife for almost 2 years. After the gig Herschel was driving Frank home and said that he was acting "funny" and kept talking about death and about how he knew he was going to die. That night, Lynch got into an argument with his Aunt which escalated into a physical fight. A neighbor called the police who, in the process of arresting Frank broke his arm. He was taken, along with another prisoner, to Mass. General Hospital and an armed police officer was stationed there to guard both prisoners. Apparently Frank was still in an odd state because when he came out of the bathroom he started waving a towel at the police officer in a threatening manner. The other prisoner, decided to join in and they both advanced toward the officer. The cop shot Frank 3 times in the head at close range, killing him instantly.

After that night, there was an uproar in Boston's black community. Frank Lynch's family sued the city of Boston along with the Boston Police force but their case was unsuccessful. Boston was still a very racially divided city in 1968 and no one was surprised by the verdict. Herschel Dwellingham, undaunted by the loss of his muse, continued to work on sessions and write music. In 1973 he played drums on album by the group Weather Report and after that record was released he became an in-demand session drummer and decided to move to New York because so much of his work was there and as he put it he was "sick of taking the bus in the snow." He kept working and writing through out the 1970s and 80s and is still working with new artists today back in Bogalusa, producing for his own record label."


Young girl / ListenPeople will make you say things ~ MY RECORD 2101 (1967)


Note ~ I'm really grateful to Eli for all this great new info on Frank Lynch - what a tragic story. Check out Eli's website here for news of his latest release which should include his version of "Young Girl". And also do catch him live if he comes near your town - he always gives a fantastic soulful show.


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