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Puzzle People


The Puzzle People formed shortly after graduating from high school in 1971. The original lineup featured Larry Ross, James “JJ” Janigan, John Carlisle, Johnny Dotson, and Irving Bailey. Interlocking personalities, as well as the jigsaw cover of a late-’60s Temptations LP, provided their enigmatic group name. For the next several years, the group fronted a host of backing bands at venues across the busy corner piece that is the Chicago/Gary/southwest Michigan landscape. By 1976, they’d hooked up with a steady group of backing musicians called Mandingo. Bailey led his People to a nearby Holiday Inn, where American Mutual Group of Recording Companies held impromptu artist auditions. Eventually offered 10 prepackaged songs to select from, the group chose two to record for a 1977 release by AMG, including the lushly orchestrated “Reach for the Truth.”


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