Laura Lee – 1971 – Women’s Love Rights
Another rare lost gem.
Her voice is raspy & soulful, and she can get a song across. Listen to such singles as: Women’s Love Rights, Since I Fell For You, Love & Liberty
1. Women’s Love Rights
2. Wedlock Is a Padlock
3. I Don’t Want Nothin’ Old (But Money)
4. (Don’t Be Sorry) Be Careful If You Can’t Be Good
5. Love and Liberty
6. It’s Not What You Fall for, It’s What You Stand For
7. Since I Fell for You
8. Two Lonely Pillows
9. That’s How Strong My Love Is
10. Her Picture Matches Mine
A tough ’60s soul singer with a salty sense of humor (aimed mostly at the men in her life), Laura Lee recorded at Rick Hall’s ~FAME studio in Muscle Shoals for the Chess label, and later for Hot Wax. In songs like “Wanted: Lover, No Experience Necessary,” “A Man with Some Backbone,” and the anthemic “Women’s Love Rights,” the female experience was brazenly discussed, debated, kicked around, and, finally, celebrated. Her music laid the groundwork for artists like Millie Jackson and Denise LaSalle to expand this proud, sexy, brash-talking corner of “women’s” soul music. Lee had a country-soul, romantic side as well, as shown on her splended version of the Penn-Oldham classsic “Uptight Good Man.”
Lee is a fine, versatile, saucy singer whose work deserves more attention. Biggest hits: “Rip Off” (#3 R&B), “Women’s Love Rights” (#11 R&B, #36 Pop), “Dirty Man” (#13 R&B) and “Up Tight, Good Man” (#16 R&B).
At the exact moment when the women’s liberation movement first threatened to descend into the banalities of middle class enlightenment (as it eventually did), Detroit-born Chicago-bred Laura Lee erupted on the R&B charts with this hard-boiled, exploitive, round-house punch. The arrangement is strictly Honey Cone pop-rock. What gives this song its edge is the gutsy yelp she picked up from Aretha Franklin when both were working at Rick Hall’s Hall of Fame in Muscle Shoals. “Love who you wanna,” she cries. “Cause a man’s sure gonna.” After suggesting a litany of demands (including weekly dinners at fine restaurants, a set of her own car keys, and regular shopping sprees–all at the man’s expense, mind you), Lee cracks the arrangement down the middle as she barks out her justification for such an attitude: the man’s probably got three other girls he’s supporting across town, so why shouldn’t you get as much as you can? None of this may bode accurately for male-female relationships then or now (personally, we’ll take Loretta Lynn’s more durable and action-oriented hostility any day), but just for the guts required to raise such a rucuss, this song is worth coveting.