Unreleased Recordings From Sylvester Released On New Album


In 1970, years before Sylvester became a disco icon, he recorded some traditional gospel and blues songs at Peter Mintun’s home in the Bay Area. Mintun was a piano player who performed with the Cockettes, a drag theater troupe Sylvester was a part of for a few years. The reel-to-reel recordings of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child” and the 1933 torch standard “Stormy Weather,” along with seven other songs, were never heard by the public. Sylvester was 22 years old at the time and eight years away from his breakthrough single “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” The singer’s well-known falsetto delivered the songs calmly, significantly contrasting how he belted out his disco hits in the same tone but with much more volume and style. Mintun posted the songs to Soundcloud, and Josh Cheon, owner of the Dark Entries label, released the music as Private Recordings, August 1970. The album comes with a 16-page booklet that has never seen before photos of Sylvester that Mintun took after they drove around San Francisco one day. Private Recordings was released last September, and it is not the only recent posthumous sighting of Sylvester. Amazon Prime released the mini-documentary Love Me Like You Should: The Brave And Bold Sylvester three years ago. Martha Wash, Sylvester’s sister Bernadette Baldwin, biographer Josh Gamson, and Billy Porter participated in the film.