Nella Dodds

Wand 171, 1965
Billboard: #96

Philadelphia in 1965 wasn't quite the R&B powerhouse it would become in the Seventies, but its local music scene was very much alive. A combine called Dynodynamic Productions, comprising Weldon McDougall of the Larks, Jimmy Bishop, Luther Randolph and Johnny Styles, took young Nella Dodds under their collective wing and put her in front of basically the same band that backed up the Larks. The first Dodds release was a Supremes LP track, "Come See About Me", which charted at #74 and would likely have gone higher had not Motown decided to put their own record out as a single, squashing Nella in the process. The next release was "Finders Keepers", written by Kenny Gamble, who was about to become half of a Philadelphia R&B powerhouse himself. If "Finders Keepers" resembles anything, it's Earl-Jean's "I'm Into Something Good"; it's the same easy-going groove, heated up by staccato brass. Dynodynamic kept on releasing Nella Dodds sides through the Sixties, though ultimately their biggest hit as a production team was Barbara Mason's "Yes, I'm Ready". The Marvelettes cut a track with this same title for Motown, their last single in the UK, but it's not the same song. As for Nella, she got married, moved to Virginia, raised a family and never stopped singing; she's recently completed a gospel CD, and has begun an acting career under her real name, Donzella Berry. The Web Site ranks Nella 185th among the "Greatest Female Artists of Rock 'n' Roll," ahead of the likes of Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson.

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Where can I get this on CD?
The British enthusiasm for what they call "Northern Soul" has made many Nella Dodds recordings available once again. "Finders Keepers" (and "Come See About Me", for that matter) can be had on Sweet Sound of Success, a compilation from the Scepter/Wand vaults issued by Ace Records' Kent subsidiary (CDKEND 112); Kent is due to issue in fall 2007 This Is a Girl's Life: The Complete Wand Recordings 1964-1965. ("A Girl's Life," the single, was the B-side of "Finders Keepers.")

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Thanks to Nella Dodds.