3 July 1940, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. The daughter of gospel luminary Martha Bass, Fontella toured as keyboard player and singer with the Little Milton band during the early 60s. Simultaneously, she made several solo records, including one for Ike Turners Prann label. When Miltons band leader, Oliver Sain, left to form his own group, he took Bass with him, and teamed her with another featured vocalist, Bobby McClure. The duo was subsequently signed to Checker Records, on which Dont Mess Up A Good Thing and Youll Miss Me (When Im Gone) were hits in 1965. Rescue Me, a driving song, gave Fontella success in her own right that same year with an R&B number 1 and a UK/US Top 20 hit. Other solo hits, including Recovery, followed, but by the end of the decade she had moved to Paris with her husband, jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie. When they later returned to America, Fontella recorded a series...
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