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Patrinell Staten

Soul singer Patrinell Staten was born and raised in Carthage, TX. The daughter of a preacher, she absorbed the gospel music of Mahalia Jackson while performing in her father's church choir. In 1964 she relocated to Seattle, forming Pat Wright & the Cassanovas; soon she was headlining Emerald City clubs including Club Ebony and the Tiki Tavern, eventually touring the West Coast's so-called "chitlin circuit" of black-owned nightclubs. Staten remained rooted in the church, however, and in 1967, while performing at Seattle's True Vine Baptist, she was approached by LaVera Clark, owner of the aspiring Sepia label. Clark was also a songwriter, but when none of her material was to Staten's liking, the singer simply wrote her own.

"I Let a Good Man Go," backed by the superior B-side "Little Love Affair," appeared on Sepia in 1969. Though a local smash thanks to steady airplay on KYAC, it never cracked the national consciousness. In 1973 Staten retired from the club circuit, founding the Total Experience Gospel Choir, which in 1989 became the first African-American-oriented choir to perform in the Mormon Tabernacle. In later years, Staten also returned to secular performance, playing jazz and R&B with her Good Foot Band. Her lone Sepia single was later rediscovered by the DJs and clubgoers populating Britain's Northern soul scene, with impossibly rare original copies fetching upwards of $4,000 prior to its inclusion on the Light in the Attic label's excellent 2004 compilation Wheedle's Groove: Seattle's Finest in Funk & Soul 1965-75. ~ Jason Ankeny
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