When neighborhood residents entered, their skin color wasn’t a factor. And what a neighborhood they’d moved into! Rufus Thomas came in first, bringing his daughter Carla. Jim and Estelle welcomed the opportunity to record them, and the success of their 1960 duet, “’Cause I Love You,” gave Satellite the hit that had been so elusive.
Jim, meanwhile, had fallen hard for Ray Charles’s “What’d I Say,” and when Rufus and Carla’s record led to a phone call from Atlantic Record’s Jerry Wexler, who’d produced Ray’s hit, Jim was thrilled to make a distribution agreement. Carla, still in high school, returned to cut another hit, “Gee Whiz,” which let Jim show off his talent for string arrangements.