Zilla Mayes: All I Want Is You (Tou-Sea, 1968, 7″) (Available on The Lost Sessions)

Even if this song screams “NOLA” thanks to the touch of writer/arranger/co-producer Allen Toussaint, Zilla Mayes/Mays herself was far more of a fixture in Atlanta. As a recording artist, she primarily cut blues tunes; there’s a phenomenal series of photos killer photo of her recording “Come Back to Me” for RCA’s Groove subsidiary in 1955. However, Mayes was best known as a pioneering radio DJ, the first Black woman to grace a booth in Georgia when she first began broadcasting as “The Mystery Lady” in 1954 for WAOK in Atlanta.

I couldn’t find any info on how/why she ended up recording this single on Toussaint’s Tou-Sea subsidiary in the late 1960s. By this point, she wasn’t recording much at all; she only has three credited releases in the entire decade (this being the last and musically, it’s quite unlike any of her previous sides). Regardless, I think “All I Want Is You” is one of the finest female funk/soul recordings to come out of NOLA – which is saying a lot – especially with that passion that Mays brings to the track (and that rolling piano does amazing work too).



2 thoughts on “7 DAYS OF SOUL: ZILLA MAYES”

  1. Oh what a good oldie. But there appears to be resurgence of almost anything old.
    Right down from dressing, music and even records on LPs are being prefered to CDs in some climes. Why this sudden nostalgic feeling?

  2. Great track indeed, but as I listened I thought “Isn’t this Betty Harris?” Turns out I’m not the only one–it seems Zilla’s song has been reproduced as Betty over and over since 1980 due to a labeling/cataloging error.

    Apparently Betty recorded an unrelated song with the same title in 1969, though I can’t find any reliable versions of it on youtube. It’s listed as the B-side of “There’s a Break in the Road”. Oliver, since I know you’ve posted that record before, can you confirm what song appears on the other side? Thanks!

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