The Occasions

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Jim Brown's legendary career with the Cleveland Browns was over when he decided to back a local singing group. Big Jim Records had lofty goals of recording local talent, and the Occasions, a relatively…
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Jim Brown's legendary career with the Cleveland Browns was over when he decided to back a local singing group. Big Jim Records had lofty goals of recording local talent, and the Occasions, a relatively unknown group, consisting of Jennifer Mason, Johnal Thompson, Billy Carter, and Evans Woodson, was the first act.

The label, a subsidiary of Way Out Records, unleashed "Baby Don't Go" in 1967. The soft, floater written by Carter and Woodson became an instant local hit and received play in other metropolitan areas. "There's No You," a snappy uptempo number featuring Woodson on lead vocal, was the B-side. Big Jim was off and running with more releases coming, or so they said. It never happened. If Jim had remained with the Browns, it might have, but he retired at the end of the 1965 season and had begun acting in movies; he left Cleveland for Hollywood permanently shortly after the Occasions release and never looked back.

People waited and waited for the new Occasions record that never came. They only did a few gigs so few people witnessed a live performance; distraught, they gave up and never recorded again. Jennifer Mason married Evans Woodson, Woodson died in the late 90's; the rest are alive and well in Cleveland. Brown wasn't in California long before he backed another act, the Friends of Distinction, this time getting a bang for his bucks when they hit the first time out with "Grazing In The Grass," in 1969.