An evolution of The Dixiebelles (ex-The Tonettes), the Charmels recorded just four singles at Volt between 1966 – 1968 under the protection and guidance of Isaac Hayes. Baritone Eula Jean Rivers replaced Shirley Thomas, Mary Hunt was the soprano, and Mildred Pratcher was the alto voice. Isaac Hayes decided to add a strong lead voice to the act and ultimately recruited singer Barbara McCoy after hearing her perform at a Bar-Kays gig at The Hippodrome.
One of the singles the band cut, 1967’s “As Long As I’ve Got You,” received only middling support at radio at the time, but went on to become of the more legendary and mythical 45’s to come from the family of Stax/Volt. Years later, “As Long As I’ve Got You” was sampled to great effect by RZA for the Wu-Tang Clan song “C.R.E.A.M.,” and has since sent fans, producers, and beatmakers scurrying to find more information about the Charmels (or digging for original copies of the 45 which routinely run about $800 or more.) Beyond Wu-Tang, the song has additionally been sampled hundreds of times, and remains one of the most distinctive loops in hip-hop.