CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston musician and business owner Ivor Sheff first met Curtis Price when the two were in high school and Sheff was sent to ask a favor.
Sheff was a junior who served on student council and Price was a 10th-grader who came from Thomas Jefferson Junior High School.
Price, a guitarist, had formed a band in junior high called King Curtis and the Noble Knights.
"Curt was just like James Brown -- he was the king," Sheff recalled.
"I was in a class with four girls, and these girls would always get in trouble because they would sing in class," Sheff said. "They came to me one day and they said, 'Hey, do you think you could get that Curt Price to let us sing with his band?'"
School talent shows were popular at the time and one was coming up. Sheff passed along the request.
"Curt said to me, sort of condescendingly, 'No, man. My band's not backing up some girl singers. But if you want, I will loan you some of my musicians, like a drummer and a bass player and then you just have to find a piano player or a guitar player.'
"I said, 'Where am I going to find me something like that?' "
Sheff calls Price the most influential person in his life, "no question about it."
And here's where it started.
"He said, 'You want me to teach you a few chords on the piano?' And I said, 'Well, OK.'"
Sheff got a list of songs to Price, recalling, "Back then, the songs were so simple. If you knew three chords, you could play them all."
Sheff, the four girls, bass player Kai Haynes and a drummer practiced for the talent show. The girls' mothers made them matching black velvet skirts with white blouses.
"It was so classy," Sheff said. The hastily formed group performed "Stand By Me" and a couple of Supremes songs.
Mind you, Price's band also was competing.
"And we beat them," Sheff said. "And after it was over with, Curt really realized that this was like a production."
The girls joined the band and so did Sheff, who also became the marketing manager.