“The Sweet Inspirations were an American R&B girl group founded by Emily “Cissy” Houston (née Drinkard), mother of Whitney Houston, and sister of Lee Warrick (herself the mother of well-known sisters Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick).
“The group sang backup for many stars, including Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Esther Phillips… [They] provided the backup vocals for Van Morrison on his classic hit ‘Brown Eyed Girl’…In 1967, the group did backing vocals for the Jimi Hendrix single “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” which was later featured on the album Electric Ladyland in 1968. They also backed Dusty Springfield on her album Dusty in Memphis.
“In 1969… The Sweet Inspirations also began recording and touring with Elvis Presley as both background singers and his warm-up act, as well as doing occasional ‘live’ dates with Aretha Franklin.”
In the midst of this work for others, the group managed to put out some albums in their own right. The song Sweet Inspiration was the biggest hit for the group, going to #18 on the pop charts and #5 on the soul charts.
Cissy Houston left the group in 1969, but various iterations of the group are still performing.
LISTEN to Sweet Inspiration by the Sweet Inspirations, and by the New Zealand group The Yandell Sisters.