Roscoe & Friends - Broadway Sissy / Tojo - Broken Hearted Lover 45
  • Roscoe & Friends - Broadway Sissy / Tojo - Broken Hearted Lover 45
  • Roscoe & Friends - Broadway Sissy / Tojo - Broken Hearted Lover 45
  • Roscoe & Friends - Broadway Sissy / Tojo - Broken Hearted Lover 45
  • Roscoe & Friends - Broadway Sissy / Tojo - Broken Hearted Lover 45

Roscoe & Friends / Tojo

Broadway Sissy / Broken Hearted Lover 7"

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A Side: Roscoe & Friends - Broadway Sissy
B Side: Tojo - Broken Hearted Lover
Label: Soul Junction
Catalogue #: SJ1012
Format: 7" Vinyl
Genre: Northern Soul, 70s Soul
Release Year: 2018
Condition: New

Two northern soul dance floor destroyers that rocked the dance halls of the 1970’s. Roscoe & Friends powerhouse instrumental “Broadway Sissy” has been a perennial favourite for the last 40 plus years and can rightly lay claim to being regarded as a northern soul classic. While Robert “Tojo” Barnes falsetto dancer “ Broken Hearted Lover” rose to prominence under the cover name of Ann Perry “Have You Ever Been In Love” in the later days of Wigan Casino but fell away during the ensuing years. That is until recently when some of the more adventurous northern DJ’s who look to reactivate titles which still have some life in them are giving “Broken Hearted Lover” it’s well deserved second coming. The “Broadway Sissy” too is enjoying more widespread popularity having crossed over and found a new audience with the funk scene.


Roscoe Bowie Jr a talented multi-instrumentalist who honed his skills as a jazz musician in and around Washington, D.C. As an arranger Roscoe’s name can be found on many generic Washington recordings such as Leroy Taylor’s sublime Brunswick outing “Oh Linda”, The Ascot’s Miradon sides “Miss Heartbreaker”, “Anytime and Sometimes I Wonder”. When Knight Brothers Jimmy Diggs (of “Temptation ‘Bout To Get Me” fame) briefly accepted an invitation to join Larry Bell and Jerry Norris in the vocal trio The Carltons it was Roscoe who arranged the first two of their 3 excellent Argo 45’s “Can’t You Hear The Beat/Ooo Baby” followed by “Easy Living/Hey, Mr. Lonesome”. Roscoe again featured as the arranger on another fellow Washington, D.C artist Andy Magruder’s 1964 Chess outing “Later Than You Think/Do You Wanta Go released under the artist name of Andy Mack with The Carltons featuring as backing singers.


During 1960 record producer Harry J. Coombs began managing five young men, two from Arlington V.A. and the other three from Washington D.C. Their performing name was The Versatiles, and their members included two lead singers, Jeyone (Jay) Wiggins and James (Buddy) Owens, 1st tenor Robert Barnes, 2nd tenor Victor Brown and baritone Bobby Douglas. The Versatiles were a working group who performed cover versions of hits of the day. Only working under a verbal agreement with Harry, they were later persuaded to sign with Philly producer Ritchie Barret (the later manager of the Three Degrees). With no recordings materializing the group returned somewhat disillusioned to Washington. Losing one of their lead singers Jay Wiggins who decided to pursue a solo career which saw him record the 1963 low rider classic “Sad Girl/No Not Me (IPG 1008) later picked up for national distribution by Amy, Mala, Bell.


Following The Versatiles departure Harry took another prospective act under his wing, with the only place big enough for them to rehearse being pianist Buzzy Bowie’s basement, during one rehearsal session Buzzy’s older brother Roscoe then predominantly a horn player sat in on the session, with the scheduled session finishing early. Roscoe joined the band in a jamming session and it was here that “Broadway Sissy” was created and later released under the artist name of Roscoe & Friends on the Harry Coombs Tec label.
Harry also went on to record a solo 45 on former Versatile Robert (Tojo, his nickname) Barnes. Harry had always been impressed by Tojo’s angelic voice and thus recorded the uptempo dancer “Broken Hearted Lover” backed with the pleasant ballad “Blue Lover “on him.


Both “Broadway Sissy” and “Broken Hearted Lover” would later find favour upon the dance floor of many a UK northern soul venue and are now presented to you as a excellent double sided 45 release.

- Soul Junction Records





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