Linda Ballentine

Born in Detroit and raised in California and Chicago, Balentine’s father’s eyes were fixated on the same stars as Arrow Brown’s. A music-lover but not a musician, he fed his young daughter a steady stream of his favorite R&B and gospel songs and encouraged her to perform them for the family. Alongside childhood friend and future Emotion Sheila Hutchinson, Linda formed the vocal harmony trio the Shirlettes. Their 1968 silver-winning performance at a Regal Theatre talent show might’ve netted them gold, were it not for five Jackson siblings from nearby Gary, Indiana, then on their first steps toward mega-stardom. Williams told Balentine that if she really wanted to make a record, he could introduce her to Brown. “Glad About That” was rehearsed only a few times before cutting the track, while rehearsals for “You’re A Habit Hard to Break” dragged on for weeks. Brown felt the latter tune was the surefire hit he’d been chasing, and wanted it to be perfect. Finished with her recording sessions, Balentine was given a single white label copy of the resulting 45—one of only three copies known to exist today. There’s no evidence that Bandit ever released the record commercially.

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