Chicago soul diva Jackie Ross was born in St. Louis on January 30, 1946; the daughter of husband-and-wife preachers, she made her performing debut on her parents' radio gospel show at the age of three. Following her father's 1954 death, the family relocated to the Windy City; there the legendary Sam Cooke, a friend of her mother, recruited Ross for his SAR label, where she issued her debut single, "Hard Times," in 1962. Following a stint singing with Syl Johnson's band, she signed to Chess Records, making her label bow with 1964's "Selfish One"; the single fell just shy of the Billboard pop Top Ten, and Ross soon issued a follow-up, "I've Got the Skill," as well as an album, Full Bloom. The superb "Take Me for a Little While" followed in 1965; unbeknownst to Ross, however, the same song had been recently recorded by New York singer Evie Sands as well, and although Sands' version for Blue Cat actually came first, Chess' marketing muscle nevertheless ensured that their label's rendition proved more successful. Ross' disgust with the situation, combined with the negligible royalties she received from "Selfish One," soon prompted her to exit Chess, and in 1967 she landed at Brunswick; two years later, she moved to Jerry Butler's Fountain Productions, but failed to recapture her earlier commercial success.
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