Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and started singing in the church in which her mother was a minister. After her grandfather introduced her to blues music, she began singing in juke joints and at dances, and sang in a club as part of Bobby Blue Bland's band. She joined a local band, Little Melvin & The Downbeats, as a teenager. Then in 1961, together with Eloise Hester and Delores Johnson, she formed The Ikettes as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. In 1962 she settled in New York City and recorded under the name Dina Johnson, by her own account a pseudonym to avoid being tracked down by Ike Turner. She recorded advertising jingles and sang back-up for such musicians as James Brown, Walter Jackson and B.B. King, before a chance meeting with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. They began writing songs together, one of the first results being 'Let's Go Get Stoned' which became an R&B chart #1 hit for Ray Charles in 1966. Its follow-up, 'I Don't Need No Doctor' was also a hit, and the trio of writers also had success with songs for Chuck Jackson, Maxine Brown and Tina Britt. After Ashford and Simpson joined Motown, Armstead moved to Chicago in 1967 with her husband, record producer Mel Collins, and formed Giant Productions. The Giant label released her single 'I Feel An Urge Coming On' which, although not successful at the time, later became a favorite with Northern soul audiences in the UK. Two of her follow-up records, 'A Stone Good Lover' and 'I've Been Turned On' both made the R&B chart in 1968. She also wrote or co-wrote hits for other artists, including Ruby Andrews (Casanova), Garland Green (Jealous Kind of Fella) and Carl Carlton (Drop By My Place). She returned to New York after her marriage broke down and continued as a singer / songwriter of commercials. She was a backing singer on Bob Dylan's 1971 single 'George Jackson' and performed in a Broadway play written by Melvin Van Peebles (Don't Play Us Cheap) in 1972. In the early 70s, she signed to the Gospel Truth label, an offshoot of Stax Records, and released several singles as Joshie Jo Armstead, of which the most successful was 'Stumblin' Blocks, Steppin' Stones' in 1974. She also sang as a backing singer for Stax. After Stax Records collapsed, she continued to write songs through her own publishing company, and also worked as a fashion designer. Joshie also performed vocals for four titles on the 1977 Burt Bacharach LP (Futures). In the 80s, after returning to Chicago, she had a spell managing boxer, Alfonso Ratliff. She recorded for her own Prairie Rose Records in the 90s.
This & That collects the complete* recordings of Jo Armstead between 1962 and 1974, including the early offerings as Dina Johnson, the Giant releases, her late 60s one-off on Tay-Ster records, the track from Don't Play Us Cheap, her Gospel Truth releases as well as the unissued LP and a couple other unissued tracks. All files chronicled, cleanly tagged and MP3 @ 320kbs. Thanks to original uploaders, enjoy.
04. Jo Armstead - 1963 - Looking For Lover-Boy (Infinity 028)