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Martha High – 1979 – Martha High

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Disco funk LP from longtime JB backup singer Martha High. James Brown on production.

The funky Diva Martha High has been an integral part of James Brown’s life and career for more than 30 years: she was his backing vocalist, hairdresser, payroll master and his always loyal and reliable confidant. 

A1 Showdown 6:40
A2 He’s My Ding Dong Man 6:00
B1 Don’t Ask My Neighbors 6:40
B2 Wallflower 7:25
B3 Oh, This Feeling 4:12

Breaking from the James Brown Revue with Brown’s permission, Martha High recorded this neglected LP produced by Thomas Stewart in Georgia; Stewart, along with Julian Chatman and Harold Daniels, wrote every song except High’s high octane rendition of “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” a crowd pleaser originally done by the Emotions, that Martha kicks up a notch. 

High’s demanding vocals serve up generous helpings of “Showdown (On the Dance Floor)“, the bawdy “He’s My Ding Dong Man“, “Wallflower” and “Oh This Feeling“.

Born in Victoria, Virginia, and discovered by rock ‘n roll pioneer Bo Diddley, Martha started her career with the soulful, legendary doo-wop group The Four Jewels, with whom she scored the national hit Opportunity in 1964. Soon, The Jewels caught the attention of James Brown and joined the James Brown Revue in 1966. The Godfather of Soul recorded and released several songs featuring The Jewels until the group disbanded. Nevertheless, Martha stayed with James Brown and continued to work with him as his personal vocalist for 32 years.

She was with him at the Boston Garden during the iconic 1968 gig after Martin Luther King’s assassination. She was by his side when he performed at renowned Rumble in The Jungle event in Zaire. Mr. Brown produced several of Martha’s singles on his own People label such as Georgy Girl, Try Me and Summertime. Meanwhile Martha launched her solo career in 1979 with the self-titled debut LP for Salsoul Records. Since, she has released five albums under her name and, being one of the hardest working women in show business, she became one of the leading singers of saxophonist Maceo Parker’s legendary funky music machine, working with him for 16 years.

Throughout her career Martha has shared stages worldwide with iconic artists like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson and George Clinton. Martha has been carrying the torch of soul music for her whole life, like a true soul sister. Now, with this new effort, she is keeping the music of the Funky Divas going, and we are sure that the Godfather of Soul and her faithful audience would appreciate it.