Classics: Jean Carn – Don’t Let It Go To your Head (Philadelphia International Records)
“Now that you know how I feel about you, don’t let it go to your head… Now that you know I can’t live with you, ooh-wee, don’t let it go to your head…” As many words bringin’ us back to one of the most vibrant performances by the likes of Jean Carn. In the purest tradition of the Philly Sound. With those one of a kind arrangements courtesy of Jack Faith. But also the instantly identifiable presence of the nucleus of MFSB in the background. And a standout production work by the likes of label heads Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff…
As a result, no need to come out of Harvard to understand we’re left in front of an absolute staple in the genre. Even though, strangely enough, ‘Don’t Let It Go To Your Head’ only reached a modest #54 position in the U.S. R&B charts by the time of its release back in 1978. Why then? Well, this could be for any reasons, like some problem(s) with the promo for instance. P.I.R. givin’ it a 7 inch release with a shortened version as compared to the album one. Awkward, to say the least. Don’t you think???
Meanwhile, ‘Don’t Let It Go To Your Head’ would resurface back in 1979 in a Reggae version by the likes of Black Harmony. Then in 1992 as covered by The Brand New Heavies. And in 1998 by Hip-Hop fortet Brand Nubian.
A Columbus, GA native, Jean Carn started singin’ at an early age with the encouragements of her family. Eventually becoming a member of her church choir. From then, she went on to learn to play the piano, the clarinet, and the bassoon, mastering all three before attending Morris Brown College. She planned furthering studies in NYC when she met and married Jazz pianist Doug Carn. And soon after joined him as a featured singer in his Jazz fusion band. Both of them releasing 3 albums on Black Jazz Records. Coming to the attention of Earth, Wind & Fire, she would contribute to their 2 first albums. Then join Norman Connors along with Michael Henderson on his 1975 ‘Saturday Night Special’ album.
By 1976, Jean Carn signed a record deal with Philadelphia International Records. Releasing her eponymous debut-album the same year and therefore makin’ quite a sensation with ‘Free Love’. Another big classic of hers – ‘Don’t Let It Go To Your Head’ – followed 2 years after, as a part of her ‘Happy To Be With You’ album. Meanwhile a third one – ‘Was That All It Was’ – written by Jerry Butler came up by the end of 1979, closing her ‘When I Find You Love’ album.
1980 saw her delivering another quite sought after gem. Sharing the duties with Al Johnson on the quiet stormy ‘I’m Back For More’. Meanwhile she would switch from PIR to sublabel TSOP the year after. Resuming her liaison with the Philly label with ‘Sweet And Wonderful’, she duetted with Glenn Jones on a cover version of the Spinners‘ ‘Love Don’t Love Nobody’.
Carn then made a quick stop on Motown with her 1982 Norman Connors produced ‘Trust Me’ album. Eventually comin’ up with a cover version of ‘If You Don’t Leave Me By Now’. Signing with Omni Records, she teamed up with Grover Washington, Jr who produced her 1986 ‘Closer Than Close’ album. The title track of which providing her with her only ever #1 in the U.S. R&B charts. 3 extra albums followed including her latest to date – ‘Love Lessons’ – back in 1996 on Moja Entertainment.