This Duo sold over 7 1/2 Million Records in 1963/64.
Dale (Houston) & Grace (Broussard)
Dale Houston was born in Seminary, Mississippi on April 23, 1940. The family later moved to Collins Mississippi, where Dale’s father became a minister. By sixth grade, Dale began his musical training by taking piano lessons, but had to quit after three months, as his parents could no longer afford them. From that point on, Dale was self taught and polished his musical skills by playing and singing in church. Determined to make music his life, at 18 Dale recorded a song called “Lonely Man“, which climbed to #75 on the national record charts.
In 1960, Dale was playing in Baton Rouge when Montel Record executive Sam Montel caught his act in a local bar. Sam had a recording studio in Baton Rouge inside his fathers produce company. It was a “demo” studio for local musicians and singers to try and get an idea of what their material would sound like.
After listening to some of Dale’s material, Sam decided that Dale was, in his words, “a pretty good writer” and signed him to compose exclusively for his label. Dale wrote and recorded “Lonely Room“, “Bird with a Broken Wing” and “That’s What I Like About Us“, but none met with great success.
In 1963, Montel had an idea that Dale doing harmony with a female singer would make for a better production. Dale was working in a honky-tonk bar in Ferriday, LA. at that time. Sam Montel drove from Baton Rouge to get Dale. Sam picked Dale up that night and drove back to his home in Baton Rouge; then he went to Prairieville and picked up 19 year old Grace Broussard and introduced them to each other.
Sam had a piano at his home and the two started rehearsing in preparation of a recording session the next day. It was after midnight and the duo had been at it for about 4 hours, doing old songs and some that Sam had given them to learn, when Dale started playing the old Don & Dewey song from the mid 50’s called “I’m Leaving It Up To You“. Sam came out of a dead sleep when he heard it from the bedroom, ran in, still in his underwear and screamed “play it again….that’s a hit!”
1. I’m Leaving it up to You/ Montel 921/ October 1963/ #1(2)
The next day Sam took Dale & Grace to the recording studio where they cut 4 songs. Montel Records then released “I’m Leaving It Up To You” as a single and by October, 1963 it was the #1 record in the nation, eventually knocked out of the top spot by The Beatles.
The pair spent much of the rest of the year touring with Dick Clark’s Caravan Of Stars and had Thanksgiving at Clark’s house. While on tour in Dallas Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963, they were standing on a street corner waving at John Kennedy. His limo had just passed and was about two blocks away when he was assassinated.
Dale and Grace followed their first hit with a song called “Stop and Think It Over” which went to #8 in 1964, but ‘The British Invasion’ and personal problems were starting to take their toll.
Finally, in 1965, Grace Broussard had her fill and split from Dale. Dale carried on, teaming with Connie Sattenfield to form a new ‘Dale and Grace’, although by this time, their style of Cajun-country rock was out of style and no major hits followed. Grace Broussard and her brother also toured as Dale and Grace.
Twenty years later…
Twenty years later, Dale’s wife, Patricia, played a part in reuniting Dale with Grace Broussard, who had also married. The two put their differences aside to sing together again for a while, but the reunion lasted just long enough to split Dale and Patricia.
The other “Grace”, Connie Sattenfield, later teamed up with a man named Jimmy Jordan, who started using the stage name of “Dale”. The pair recorded an album called “Dale and Grace – Together Again” and toured as “The All New Dale & Grace Show”. This duo recorded a gospel album called “Dale & Grace – In God’s Hands” in 1998 and they now own Dale & Grace Ministries, as well as having a syndicated, gospel radio show. Although the name of their act is the same, they make it clear that they are not the duo that sold over 7 and half million rock and roll records, although many fans are often confused. [and rightly so. RS]
Dale Houston continued on the road with his band while Grace Broussard went on to sing as a solo act across the United States. In 1997, they were inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame, and into the Gulf Coast’s Hall of Fame.
Dale died on September 27, 2007 of heart failure at the Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is survived by four sons, two daughters, a brother and two sisters, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. At his funeral Troy Shondell gave a musical tribute, and interment was in Smyrna Cemetery in Collins, Mississippi.