7 May 1946, Leland, Mississippi, USA. Houston left her home town of Leland, Mississippi, in the late 60s to tour with the gospel group the Art Reynolds Singers. Her impassioned vocal style and innate mastery of phrasing, most notably on the 1966 single Glory Glory Hallelujah, brought her to the attention of the prodigal songwriter/arranger Jimmy Webb in 1969. He composed and produced Sunshower, a remarkable song cycle that also included an adaptation of the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash. The album transcended musical barriers, mixing the fluency of jazz with the passion of soul, and offering Houston the chance to bite into a sophisticated, witty set of lyrics.
The critical acclaim afforded Sunshower helped Houston to secure a recording contract with Motown Records. Initially, the company made inadequate use of her talents, failing to provide material that would stretch her vocal capacities to the full. The...
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