Dauphine Williams

In addition to being snappy, the YoDi abbreviation avoided name association with a local East St. Louis gang. 19-year-old Dauphine Williams was easily the collective’s most deserving of a solo release. In addition to leading the Debonairs, Williams shared chief songwriting duties with YoDi owner/producer Allen Merry, acted as lead booking agent, and mentored new students. Married and divorced by 16, Williams drew heavily from his experience, as evident on both “I Love You” and “I’m Your Man,” the latter a duet with Debonette Degnis Staten. For the inaugural YoDi single, Merry stirred the pot and moved the recording over to St. Louis’ Premiere Studio, stripped the Debonairs of Dauphine, and sewed the Debonettes in behind him.

Dauphine Williams Appears on: