Legend is a word so overused in the music business that it has lost it’s much of original meaning. But Freestyle Records feels wholly justified in describing our latest signing as precisely that.
Unable to choose between the raucous funk fuelled version of ‘No More Heartaches’ and the tender, gentle and touching rendition of Etta James’ ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, we opted to put these very different, but equally fantastic tracks on a Double-A side single – it’s a double whammy no genuine soul and funk fan could possibly resist!
Martha High’s impeccable soul credentials are beyond question, and for the uninitiated, here is a potted history of the ladies incredible musical history!
A member of The Jewels, who, in 1964 became part of The James Brown Revue, touring all over America on a relentless schedule of one-nighters, alongside Vicky Anderson and other stalwarts of that incredible live phenomenon that was beautifully captured on tape and released by Smash Records on the 1967 release Presenting The James Brown Show. If you think you have never heard Marthas’ voice before – think again!
She features on massive JB classics such as ‘Say It Loud’ and on the ‘The Big Payback’. After a year and a half, and two 45s produced by James Brown, The Jewels disbanded but Martha continued to be a part of the live James Brown show for the next 30 years!
She’s fondly remembered by fans as the jet-black sister with glowing blond hair!
She also recorded a solo album, for Salsoul Records in 1979, also produced by Soul Brother Number 1, which added a touch of soulful disco to her enviable array of singing talents. In 1995 Martha was invited to tour with ex JB sax master Maceo Parker, joining another former James Brown band member “Sweet Charles” Sherrell in an incredible, feisty line up that is touring to this day. After featuring on Freestyle mainstays Speedometers’ 2011 album ‘The Shakedown’, and touring with the band, leader Leigh Gracie and Martha formulated the idea for her to record an album on which she would re-interpret some classics, and give a new angle to some more contemporary funk & soul compositions.
‘Soul Overdue’ is an incredibly apt title for a project that has been over 40 years in the making, and it shows that Martha’s’ voice remains undiminished, her youthful vocal clarity and style quite simply dazzles as she shows a host of young pretenders the way it should be done! And as a tantalizing teaser for what is to come, we here at Freestyle are immensely proud to release a 45 single sampler to whet your appetite for the forthcoming album.
You can buy I’d Rather Go Blind / No More Heartaches right now on vinyl (and digital download) directly from Freestyle Records, or you can get it in digital formats from the likes of Juno Download and Itunes