June Conquest is both an extraordinary, and extraordinarily (and undeservedly) obscure soul singer. During the early '60s, she released a pair of singles, "Almost Persuaded" under her own name, and a duet with a man known only as the Demon on "The Only Way to Correct a Mistake (Is to Make One)." She was based in Houston around the time of the latter record, which, like its predecessor, failed to chart, and have since become choice collector's items.
By 1966, Conquest was based in Chicago and signed to Curtis Mayfield's short-lived Windy C label, where she only cut one single, "Take Care." Mayfield obviously had a lot of faith in her ability, signing her to Curtom when he organized the company in 1968. Her single "What's This I See" was the first record ever issued by the new label and became a serious local hit in Chicago. Despite this encouraging start, however, Conquest's solo recording career never took off.
She next appeared a year later in a duet setting. The idea had been to team Conquest with Sam Cooke's brother L.C. Cooke, who was a pretty formidable soul singer in his own right, but he didn't make the sessions. Instead, Donny Hathaway, who had never before cut records outside the setting of the Mayfield Singers or as a backup singer on various Windy C and Curtom sides, stepped in. It was the start of an auspicious career, but not for Conquest. Donny & June, as they were billed, didn't tear the charts up with "I Thank You," "Just Another Reason," or their remake of "What's This I See," but the sound they got anticipated Hathaway's subsequent celebrated duets with Roberta Flack. Indeed, the single "I Thank You," which went almost unnoticed in 1969, finally came into its own three years later, reaching number 41 on the R&B listings and number 94 pop when it was reissued in the wake of Hathaway's success with Flack. It wasn't enough to rescue Conquest's recording career, however; she never cut another record and later gave up singing. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi