Rotary Connection

Profile:
The classically trained Charles Stepney honed his skill as a jazz pianist and vibraphone player through his work for the Chess label in the 1960s, eventually graduating to sheet writer, arranger, and producer. His friend Marshall Chess—son of label owner Leonard Chess—had founded Cadet Concept as a younger subsidiary of the Cadet label, and their first release was the 1967 debut by a conceptual group called The Rotary Connection, formed by Marshall Chess with Stepney acting as co-producer and arranger. The group was designed as a way for the label to tap into the psychedelic era, combining a little-known white rock group called The Proper Strangers with the voices of Black singers Sidney Barnes and Minnie Riperton—the latter of whom Stepney had first worked with on her solo single “Lonely Girl” under the name Andrea Davis.

It was Stepney’s studio genius that made Rotary Connection’s mix of acid-laced rock, classical strings (courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and Riperton’s operatic voice hang together.

The group released six albums during their time together, produced & arranged by Charles Stepney for Chess Records.
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Variations:

Artist

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Albums

LPS 318, LPS-318 Peace — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Peace (Album) Cadet Concept, Cadet Concept LPS 318, LPS-318 US 1968 Sell This Version
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837-8312 The Rotary Connection — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection The Rotary Connection (Album) Cadet Concept, Cadet Concept 837-8312 US 1967 Sell This Version
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LPS 317, LPS-317 Aladdin — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Aladdin (Album) Cadet Concept, Cadet Concept LPS 317, LPS-317 US 1968 Sell This Version
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CRLS 4551 Songs — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Songs (Album) Cadet Concept CRLS 4551 UK 1969 Sell This Version
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LPS 328, LPS-328 Dinner Music — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Dinner Music (Album) Cadet Concept, Cadet Concept LPS 328, LPS-328 US 1970 Sell This Version
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CC 50006 Hey, Love — Rotary Connection The New Rotary Connection* Hey, Love (Album) Cadet Concept, Cadet Concept CC 50006 US 1971 Sell This Version
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Singles & EPs

7000 Like A Rolling Stone / Turn Me On — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Like A Rolling Stone / Turn Me On (Single) Cadet Concept 7000 US 1967 Sell This Version
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DJ-1 Amen — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Amen(7", Single, Promo) Cadet Concept DJ-1 US 1967 Sell This Version
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7008 Aladdin / Magical World — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Aladdin / Magical World (Single) Cadet Concept 7008 US 1968 Sell This Version
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DJ-2 Ruby Tuesday / Soul Man — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Ruby Tuesday / Soul Man (Single) Cadet Concept DJ-2 US 1968 Sell This Version
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7009 DJ Peace At Least / Silent Night Chant — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Peace At Least / Silent Night Chant (Single) Cadet Concept 7009 DJ US 1968 Sell This Version
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169531 Paper Castle — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Paper Castle (Single) Cadet Concept 169531 France 1968 Sell This Version
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AR 25.789 Soul Man — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Soul Man(7", Single) Chess International AR 25.789 Netherlands 1968 Sell This Version
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CC-7014 Respect / The Weight — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Respect / The Weight (Single) Cadet Concept CC-7014 Canada 1969 Sell This Version
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7018 Memory Band / Want You To Know — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Memory Band / Want You To Know (Single) Cadet Concept 7018 US 1969 Sell This Version
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7027 Teach Me How To Fly / Stormy Monday Blues — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Teach Me How To Fly / Stormy Monday Blues (Single) Cadet Concept 7027 US 1970 Sell This Version
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7021 Love Me Now / May Our Amens Be True — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Love Me Now / May Our Amens Be True (Single) Cadet Concept 7021 US 1970 Sell This Version
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1037-7028 Love Is / Hey Love — Rotary Connection The New Rotary Connection* Love Is / Hey Love (Single) Cadet Concept 1037-7028 US 1971 Sell This Version
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J 249 Living Alone / Magical World — Rotary Connection Minnie Riperton With Rotary Connection Minnie Riperton With Rotary Connection - Living Alone / Magical World (Single) Janus Records J 249 New Zealand 1975 Sell This Version
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Compilations

CDBGPD 115 Songs / Hey Love — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Featuring Minnie Riperton Rotary Connection Featuring Minnie Riperton - Songs / Hey Love (Comp) BGP Records CDBGPD 115 Europe 1998 Sell This Version
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RVCD-89 Aladdin / Dinner Music — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Aladdin / Dinner Music(CD, Comp) Raven Records RVCD-89 Australia 1999 Sell This Version
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983 437-9 Black Gold: The Very Best Of Rotary Connection — Rotary Connection Rotary Connection Black Gold: The Very Best Of Rotary Connection(2xCD, Comp, RM) Chess, Universal Music Catalogue 983 437-9 Europe 2006 Sell This Version

Add Review

OF-THE-WORLD

OF-THE-WORLD

October 27, 2022
who's the guy with aliester crowley eyes in all the mug shot / promo photos of the band.. he usually has the handlebard mustachio - what i mean is.. he's doing the 'bug out and stare' classic hypnotism look. is that Bobby Simms?
RockNurse

RockNurse

December 29, 2019
Quality control alert. Really need some diligent cleanup on the entries - in particular, the first album and the initial pressing of 2nd album "Aladdin" - as regards the listing of "Rotary Connection" versus "The Rotary Connection." From what I can tell after some (admittedly succinct) research, the band called itself simply Rotary Connection, and the first album was also titled "Rotary Connection" despite a misstep on the part of the company or pressing plant that had the LP labels read "The Rotary Connection" on all the early pressings, an error that was subsequently caught and corrected. Similarly, for "Aladdin" the LP labels create confusion that runs rampant through the Discogs listings, which have been rendered wildly inconsistent, as even a quick glance at the photos associated with the various entries for that title reveals.
dnbodi

dnbodi

February 14, 2016
I think Phil Upchurch must be added to this line up.
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Soulie66

Soulie66

March 2, 2011
edited over 12 years ago
2 45's missing from the complete discography:
Cadet Concept 7007: Teach Me How To Fly / Paper Castle
Cadet Concept 7027: Teach Me How To Fly / Stormy Monday Blues

Also Sidney Barnes is currently doing well performing globally and with George Clinton in Parliament / Funkadlic.
Sid was in The Serenaders with George Kerr at Motown and also staff writers at Motown's New York office.
Sid then went to become a staff writer at Sue Records with JJ Jackson before teaming up with Clinton at Golden World. It was Andre Williams who took Barnes to Chess and Rotary. Sid doesn't appear on Hey Love LP.
Check out http://www.sidneybarnes.co.uk or http://www.sidneybarnes.net
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