Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blues on a Saturday: Fontella Bass

Fontella Bass, most famous for her 1965 hit "Rescue Me" died this week on December 26 at age 72. ht: Mick Hartley

The song has been described in Allmusic as "the greatest record Aretha never made." It was certainly an immense hit. It went "pop." I heard it on the radio in small town Kansas and a few years later found it in the bins at a little operation that stocked jukeboxes in the area.

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Bass got her start on the blues scene in St. Louis where she played piano in Little Milton's band and met her husband trumpet player Lester Bowie. After unpleasant experiences, to put it mildly, with Chess Records where she had recorded "Rescue Me" she performed with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and recorded the acclaimed The Art Ensemble of Chicago with Fontella Bass. Here is a AEC song featuring Fontella Bass from a movie soundtrack.

I'm putting the AEC with FB album on my "listen to" list, but for now it seems right to close with Rescue Me."


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