Black History Month: Bettye Lavette


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Bettye Lavette (January 29, 1946, Muskegon, MI, USA) is a soul singer whose music combines several different influences, from soul and blues to rock, funk, gospel, and even country music. Bettye got her start in 1962 with the single “My Man – He’s a Loving Man”, which was a Top 10 R&B hit. She toured at the time with Ben E King, Clyde McPhatter, Otis Redding, and Barbara Lynn. Her first album, Child of the Seventies, was released in 1972. Bettye saw a revival of interest in 2003, and released her third full length album (A Woman Like Me) that year. Her latest album, Worthy, was released in 2015. (Wikipedia)


Black History Month: Joyce Kennedy


Joyce Kennedy (born 1948 in Anguilla, MS) is one of the lead vocalists for funk rock band Mother’s Finest. Joyce began her singing career after moving to Chicago as a child, and recorded the song “Darling I Still Love You” for Ran-Dee Records. She formed Mother’s Finest in the early 1970s with Glenn Murdock, whom she also married. The band saw three albums go gold: Mother’s Finest, Another Mother Further, and Mother Factor.

Mother’s Finest were the opening act for bands such as Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Aerosmith, and The Who. Their songs and albums have explored a variety of social issues, including the seeming conundrum of being (mostly) black rock and roll artists with songs such as “Niggizz Can’t Sing Rock and Roll” and the album Black Radio Won’t Play This Record.

Joyce also has a solo career, reaching number 2 on the Billboard R&B Charts and number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the song “The Last Time I Made Love” (duet with Jeffrey Osbourne). She toured for the last time with Mother’s Finest in 2017.

See More: Wikipedia, Mother’s Finest Discography

Black History Month: Barbara Lynn


Barbara Lynn (born January 16, 1942 in Beaumont, TX) is a left-guitarist, songwriter and vocalist best known for the song “You’ll Lose a Good Thing“, which was recorded and released in 1962. The single was a number 1 on the US Billboard R&B Charts, as well as a Top 10 single in the Billboard Hot 100 list of 1962. The song was re-recorded by Aretha Franklin, as well as country musician Freddy Fender. Barbara Lynn played piano as a child, but later switched to guitar. Before making her big break she played in an all-female band called Bobbie Lynn and Her Idols. She was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues foundation in 1999. (Wikipedia)

Black History Month: Mary Lou Williams


Mary Lou Williams (born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs in Atlanta, GA on May 8, 1910) was a jazz pianist, arranger, and composer. Mary Lou wrote and arranged compositions for jazz heavyweights such as Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, in addition to hundreds more compositions and arrangements. She taught herself to play piano at six years old, and supported her family by playing at parties while still a child. She recorded hundreds of records in her professional career, and was the first black woman to have a composition (Zodiac Suite) played at Carnegie Hall. Mary Lou died in Durham, NC in 1971 from bladder cancer. She was the mentor and friend of many well-known jazz musicians, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and more. (Wikipedia)

See Also: Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band