Ben, LaBrenda

** This is just a short biographical summary – for the full story, check out this artist’s reviews! **

LaBrenda Ben was an early Motown solo act; she was signed to Motown during 1962-3 and recorded a number of tracks, several of which were issued on Motown 45s. Because one of the songs was a re-recording of Saundra Mallett and the Vandellas’ Camel Walk (itself a bizarre situation, Saundra temporarily leading the Vandellas in place of Martha Reeves), with Saundra’s vocals simply replaced by LaBrenda’s, some early biographies thought that there was no “LaBrenda Ben” or that the unlikely name was a pseudonym – confusion thankfully put to bed by the appearance of The Complete Motown Singles series, which confirmed Ms Ben was very much a real person.

Her name has lived on via the Northern Soul scene, as she was long (erroneously?) named as the mystery uncredited vocalist for a track referred to as “I’ve Got A Right To Cry”, now known as Holland-Dozier’s Lead Me And Guide Me – but the voice on that track most definitely doesn’t sound anything like LaBrenda to these ears, unless she was deliberately trying to sound like someone else. (If it’s not her, the Motown Junkies theory instead points the finger at Gloria Jean Williamson, but that’s a story for another day).

Review Archive: LaBrenda BEN (1962-63)

We have 4 reviews for LaBrenda Ben currently available here on Motown Junkies – see our archive for more details, or click a link below:

  1. Camel Walk
  2. The Chaperone
  3. Just Be Yourself
  4. I Can’t Help It, I Gotta Dance

2 thoughts on “Ben, LaBrenda”

  1. Paul Goldstein said:

    That track you mentioned above (Lead Me And Guide Me) I would say was by The Andantes, as it sounded just like the lead singer on their one-off single Nightmare, and possibly the B side. It did not sound like Gloria Williamson from The Vells who evolved into Martha And The Vandellas. Furthermore, she was gone from Motown by then.


  2. psychedelic jacques said:

    that lead singer was in fact Ann Bogan, rather than one of the actual 3 Andantes. As far as I know, she has not been considered as the singer on ‘i’ve got a right to cry’, where the smart money has alternated between LaBrenda, Gloria Williamson and Saundra Mallett (future Elgins lead).

    Paul Nixon seems to lean toward LaBrenda, thanks (I believe) to master tape cards and/or a comment in the Hollands’ book of a couple of years ago (am I right in thinking that, Paul?). To me, the voice doesn’t sound ‘unlike’ LaBrenda’s, but i’d love to know the current thinking on this if any of our experts have a view…


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