Francine Barker “Don’t You Know Love When You See It” (Columbia 44614, 1968)
It shouldn’t be surprising that back to back are two birthdays of the two most prominent R&B Duet partners of the late 1960s. And, of course, chances are you know little about their own careers away from their duet partners.
Francine Hurd started out as one of Van McCoy’s beloved girl singers, receiving his composition “Lost” as a first recording effort in 1965 under The Darlettes moniker. A few additional singles that featured Francine floating above some of Van’s best undiscovered gems followed in 1966, but she gained more notoriety when she was paired with Herb Fame at the end of the year. Their string of duet hits played sweet counterpoint on the charts to a certain sparkling Motown Duet partnership.
Francine, however, wasn’t about the touring life. Although she’s the vocalist on all of the Date Records releases under Peaches & Herb, she didn’t tour often and was replaced by Marlina Mars on the road. However, she did still love getting into the studio, and like Tammi Terrell, delighted us with some less remembered solo gems as the 1960’s drew to a close.
Her first official solo outing is the perfect Taurean Seduction Dream Sequence, and a bit of a shame that it came and went without notice during 1968. Like Terrell, there’s a bit of winsome fan wishing of what could have been had their been more opportunities for recording. Meanwhile, we enjoy this and all of her gems on what would have been her 68th Birthday.