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Fontella Bass

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Fontella Bass
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Fontella Marie Bass (July 3, 1940 December 26, 2012)  was an American R&B and soul singer and songwriter best known for her 1965 hit, "Rescue Me."

Fontella Bass was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of gospel singer Martha Bass (a member of the Clara Ward Singers). She was the older sister of R&B singer David Peaston.  At an early age, Fontella showed great musical talent. At the age of five, she provided the piano accompaniment for her grandmother's singing at funeral services, she sang in her church's choir at six, and by the time she was nine, she had accompanied her mother on tours throughout the South and Southwest America.

Bass continued touring with her mother until the age of sixteen. As a teenager, Bass was attracted by more secular music. She began singing R&B songs at local contests and fairs while attending Soldan High School from which she graduated in 1958. At 17, she started her professional career working at the Showboat Club near Chain of Rocks, Missouri.

 In 1961, she auditioned on a dare for the Leon Claxton carnival show and was hired to play piano and sing in the chorus for two weeks, making $175 per week for the two weeks it was in town. She wanted to go on tour with Claxton but her mother refused and according to Bass "... she literally dragged me off the train". It was during this brief stint with Claxton that she was heard by vocalist Little Milton and his bandleader Oliver Sain who hired her to back Little Milton on piano for concerts and recording.

Bass originally only played piano with the band, but one night Milton didn't show up on time so Sain asked her to sing and she was soon given her own featured vocal spot in the show. Milton and Sain eventually split up and Bass went with Sain; he also recruited male singer Bobby McClure and the group became known as "The Oliver Sain Soul Revue featuring Fontella and Bobby McClure".

With the support of Bob Lyons, the manager of St. Louis station KATZ, Bass recorded several songs released through Bobbin Records and produced by Ike Turner. She saw no notable success outside her home town. It was also during this period she met and subsequently married the noted jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie.
#1 - December 28, 2017, 11:20:23 AM
 
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Fontella Bass - Rescue Me


"Rescue Me" is a rhythm and blues song first recorded and released as a single by Fontella Bass in 1965. The original versions of the record,  and BMI,  give the songwriting credit to Raynard Miner and Carl William Smith, although many other sources also credit Bass herself as a co-writer.

 It would prove the biggest hit of Bass's career, reaching #1 on the R&B charts for four weeks and placing at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.  "Rescue Me" also peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart.
#2 - December 28, 2017, 11:22:33 AM
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