Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ta Mara & The Seen

Ta Mara & The Seen were an R&B/dance group from Minneapolis, Minnesota that consisted of lead singer Margaret "Ta Mara" Cox (born in Kenitra, Morocco), bassist Keith Woodson, guitarist Oliver Leiber (the son of songwriter Jerry Leiber), keyboardist Gina Fellicetta and drummer Jamie Chez.

Margaret moved from Morocco to Minneapolis, Minnesota when she was seven years old where she learned to play several instruments such as the piano, guitar and drums. In the 9th grade, she formed her first band, Split Rock. In 1976, she was a member of the house band at the Mermaid Supper Club, Sweet Thing.

In 1979, Margaret joined a band from St. Paul, Minnesota called Raggs and a year later, she joined the Doug Maynard Band who toured with singer Bonnie Raitt. After returning from tour, the group formed the T.C. Jammers. she provided vocals on Lipps Inc.'s last album and later joined bands such as Inside Straight & Metropolis.

During the early '80s, Ta Mara & The Seen caught the attention of former Time guitarist Jesse Johnson (who changed Margaret's name to "Ta Mara") and got the band a record deal with A&M Records.
In 1985, the band released their debut album which peaked at #72 on the Billboard 200 and #50 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. The album was produced by Jesse himself.
The first single "Everybody Dance" became the band's only pop hit, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100, #9 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, #17 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #3 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 19 weeks.
 
The second single from the album "Affecttion" peaked at #19 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 15 weeks.
The last single from the album "Thinking About You" peaked at #85 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for only 5 weeks.
In 1988, Ta Mara & The Seen released their sophomore album "Blueberry Gossip." which was a commercial flop, failing to chart at all on the Billboard 200 or R&B albums chart.
The only single to chart was the title song which managed to peak at #54 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 8 weeks. After that, the band was dropped from their record label and disbanded in 1989.

Margaret and Jesse Johnson wrote the song "I Need You" which ended up on Paula Abdul's debut album, "Forever Your Girl," but according to Margaret, she never got a penny from it.
In 1990, Margaret began working with Prince under the name "Margie Cox" when he formed a new band called MC Flash. She recorded 25 songs written by Prince for a planned album, but it was never released.

The song "Standing at The Altar" was released as a single and appeared on Prince's 1994 compliation album "1-800-NEW-FUNK."
Margaret later founded the band, Dr. Mambo's Combo. They play at Bunker's in downtown Minneapolis every Sunday and Monday night. In 2003, she released her solo album, "Margie's Little Demo" which is available on CD Baby.

These days, Margaret continues to be active in the music business. She still performs with Dr. Mambo's Combo and is currently in the band, the R-Factor.

Keith Woodson (now Keith Woodson Cox) is the executive producer, songwriter, engineer and musician for BigFace Films Studios West.

Oliver Leiber is still active in the music business as a songwriter & producer. It is unknown what  Gina Fellicetta and Jamie Chez are up to today.

To see a fan-made video for "Everybody Dance," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09kFTN23jMU

To see the music video for "Affecttion," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqpNMX09LTw

To see the music video for "Blueberry Gossip," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rGtnIqADDI

To see a fan-made video for "Thinking About You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdlK2WB-29M


[updated on 05\29\13]

5 comments:

Tracy said...

I loved their whole entire first album!!! Tamara sang her ass off!

trendyjesusguy said...

This is amazing to me - THANK YOU.
I listened to their 1st album all thru college, and have been scouring the net for years to find some of this stuff!! Thank God for youtube & ppl like you!!!
thanks for sharing such exotic, rare bits of JOY....
Can't thank ya enuff. ~Tom

deepstructure said...

Their best song wasn't released on either album. It was a b-side to Affection, called U Turn Me Up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCQ-zqs-GRk

butterflies are free said...

My beloved Jamie Chez passed away on 12/24/2005. His soul soars on the wings of a butterfly, as he watches over the baby girl he left behind. We miss you honey . . .

bonnie bianco said...

unbeleivable that tamara became margie cox. lucky i have 1800-funk and "standing at the altar". gr8 song. i bought 1800-funk to get 5 prince songs.