Chicago’s Argo Singers released a host of fine 45s for Vee-Jays Records in the mid-1960s, including the bouncy “Fill Me Now.”
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The Argo Singers were founded in the late 1940s in Chicago by Minnie Colbert, who would lead the group for the next 30 years. The Argos were an all-female quartet, though occasionally they had a male pianist who would sing a song or two as well. Their best years were in the early ‘60s with the legendary Vee-Jay label – then at its peak. Vee-Jay, you may remember, stumbled into the first licensing agreement with the Beatles and when Beatlemania hit, the small Chicago label could barely keep up with the demand. The owners used the money to sign an impressive roster of blues, R&B, jazz, pop and gospel artists – many from Chicago.
Alas, Vee-Jay eventually couldn’t handle the prosperity and folded. The Argo Singers bounced around several other gospel labels, including Specialty – and released a series of fine recordings that are much beloved by collectors even today.
From 1964, this 45 by the Argos is titled “Fill Me Now,” and it’s a great example of what the group did well, featuring tight, well-blended harmonies, an impassioned lead vocalist, and Vee-Jay’s always impressive studio band. “Fill Me Now” begins softly and gently, but halfway through suddenly shifts to a march-tempo vamp, with the vocalists and musicians all getting happy until the chaotic fade out ...
MUSIC: “Fill Me Now,” the Argo Singers, 45
I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.