Main | Thursday, September 07, 2006

Maybe - The Three Degrees

In 1957, producer Richard Barrett steered The Chantels, a Bronx-born group of five teenage girls into the national top 20 with Maybe, a first for an all-black girl group. Then 13 years later, he gave the same song to his latest girl group production, Philadelphia's The Three Degrees, who were on the cusp of becoming globally famous as the voice of the Philly Soul/Disco sound.

And that, gentle readers, is where things became of interest to The Gays, as the Three Degree's version of Maybe became an absolute drag standard, even though Maybe's very long spoken introduction sorely tested the lip-syncing skills of queens everywhere. I can remember queen after queen stumbling through that intro as audience members catcalled "Learn the words, girl!". (Yes, in the south, you see a LOT of drag shows, whether you want to or not.)

But I also quite fondly remember Casa de Parliamente's Lori Del Mar's triumphant performances of Maybe, which always ended with her pulling some schmuck out of the audience for some enthusiastic dry-humping during Maybe's shrieking climax. Never failed to bring the house down. Give Maybe a few listens and see if you aren't tempted to do head-swivel your way through the ending.

Maybe does not appear on any of the half-dozen or so Three Degrees greatest hits packages that have been released in the last decade, it would be out of place among their Philly soul/disco classics such as TSOP and Love Is The Message anyway, but you can find it on an import compilation called The Roulette Years. With more cast changes than Destiny's Child could shake a stick at, a total of 11 women have been members of the Three Degrees, who despite that Supremesian volume of turnover, continue to perform today.

Download: Maybe - The Three Degrees 3:36
Roulette Records 1970
Billboard #4 R&B.

UPDATE: Thanks to BJ (NSFW), I now have the much longer, funnier version!

Download: Maybe - The Three Degrees 5:42

comments powered by Disqus