Mitty Lene Collier (born 21 June 1941) is an American church pastor, gospel singer and former rhythm and blues singer. She had a number of successful records in the 1960s, of which probably the best known is “I Had A Talk With My Man”.
Early life and career
Mitty Collier was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the seventh child of Rufus and Gertrude Collier, and attended Western-Olin High School, Alabama A & M College and Miles College where she majored in English. She began singing in church as a teenager, and toured with gospel groups, the Hayes Ensemble and the Lloyd Reese Singers, before starting to sing rhythm and blues in local clubs to help subsidise her college education. In 1959, while visiting Chicago, she entered DJ Al Benson’s talent show at the Regal Theater, winning for six straight weeks and gaining her a slot on a bill with B. B. King and Etta James as a prize. This brought her to the attention of Ralph Bass of Chess Records, who offered her a recording contract.
She recorded for the Chess label from 1961 to 1968, releasing 15 singles and one album, mostly produced by Billy Davis. Her first record was “Gotta Get Away From It All”, which was not a hit. Her first real success came in 1963 with “I’m Your Part Time Love”, an answer record to Little Johnny Taylor’s “Part Time Love”. It reached # 20 on the Billboard R&B chart, and was followed up with “I Had A Talk With My Man”, a secularised version of James Cleveland’s gospel song “I Had A Talk With God Last Night”. The orchestrated ballad reached # 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and # 3 on the Cash Box R&B chart, and became her best known song, later being covered by Dusty Springfield and Shirley Brown among others. Her next record, “No Faith, No Love”, was also a reworking of a James Cleveland song, and reached # 29 on the Billboard R&B chart and # 91 on the pop chart. She released an album, Shades Of A Genius, in 1965. Her last hit, in 1966, was “Sharing You” (# 10 on the R&B chart, # 97 pop). She left Chess in 1968 after recording a single, a new version of “Gotta Get Away From It All” recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals with producer Rick Hall. She then recorded five further singles and an album with William Bell’s Peachtree label in Atlanta, Georgia. However, in 1971 she developed polyps on her vocal cords, losing her singing voice, and gave up her secular music career.