It had been nearly eight years when two-thirds of Odds & Ends, Larry and Wanda "Doll" Butler (siblings), recorded again after ending their association with Today Records, where they enjoyed a modicum of success with their younger brother Jim Grant completing the trio. About two years before forming Unity, Larry and Doll formed the Butlers with their mother, Regina Grant, and sung in churches all over their adopted hometown, Philadelphia. Originally from Dorchester, GA, Regina sung gospel as a youth with her siblings and cousins; Larry and Doll sang in church also before moving to Philadelphia as teenagers.
With Mark King, First Choice's ex-keyboard player, Larry and Doll formed Unity in 1979 and worked up some songs with Phil Hughes, Andrew Jones, and others. Hughes played keyboards for Unity while King relinquished his keyboarding to blend with Larry and Doll, who were used to a trio lineup. With demo tapes in hand and armed with a new manager, Eugene Lawson, the trio sought out Terry Philips, the former owner of Perception/Today Records. Philips always had a fondness for Doll's voice and loved their new, aggressive sound and secured a deal for them with United Artists Records.
At this juncture, Larry and Doll switched their performance rights affiliation from BMI to ASCAP for two reasons. Number one, ASCAP gave them an advance on future performance royalties; number two, Larry experienced the same mixup with BMI as his younger brother Jim was a member of Odds & Ends. BMI mailed Larry a big royalty check intended for another Larry Butler; thinking it was his money, he cashed the paper and spent the money. Next thing he knew the FBI was knocking on his door alleging he stole a melody from this other guy, when BMI simply goofed. Having to pay the monies back, and with future royalties being confiscated from BMI to fulfil the obligation, the ASCAP deal was right on time.
The United Artists' album UNITY never got off the ground, though some of its cuts received some play on the East Coast and around the Baltimore/Washington area. Some discography books claimed they cut a song on Long-Go Records entitled "Springtime" in 1980, but neither Doll nor Larry knows anything about this recording. The out-of-print album featured some nifty songs; "I Can Love Again," "Somethin' Special About You," "Ain't Gong' Nowhere," and "Nothing Bad About Feeling Good" were among its eight tracks. They worked mainly in the Philly and Jersey area and appeared with the Continental Four, the Assassins, the Philly Devotions, Double Exposure, Linda Jones, and others. A highlight came in 1980 when Philadelphia hosted its first Unity Day Festival and proclaimed Unity's song "U-N-I-T-Y" the theme song. However, lack of sales and skimpy bookings ended Unity's quest for success, and the trio didn't surface for three years, this time as Three Million on Cotillion Records. ~ Andrew Hamilton, Rovi
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