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Fontella Bass

Posted by purplemary54 on December 27, 2012

R&B/Soul singer Fontella Bass passed away today at 72.  She’s best remembered for her hit song “Rescue Me,” which I must confess I used to think was by Martha Reeves.  I also always thought this was just another classic Motown tune, but Bass actually recorded for Chess Records.  According to the Wikipedia page about Bass, she agitated for greater creative control over and credit for her music.  I am always amazed to learn these things about otherwise (mostly) forgotten artists.  I admire her courage.  The mid-60s were a time of great change in Civil Rights, but it still couldn’t have been easy for her to take the stand she took.  She had to contend with being a black woman artist fighting for rights that record companies–and their mostly white male executives–would just as soon deny her.  She eventually retired from music, aside from occasional guest shots and background vocals.  That’s a shame, because the world was denied more music from a truly terrific voice.

As I was listening to samples on itunes from her 1972 album Free, I came across this fun, soulful song that made me do a little chair dancing.  I wish I’d known about her other work sooner, because she was worth the search.

 

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