Ladies of Soul

Author: David Freeland

Publication date: 2001

American Made Music Series

University Press of Mississippi

“Female performers were responsible for some of the most enduring and powerful contributions to the genre. All too frequently overlooked by the star-making critics, seven of these women are profiled in this book: Maxine Brown, Ruby Johnson, Denise LaSalle, Bettye LaVette, Barbara Mason, Carla Thomas, and Timi Yuro.

Getting started during the heyday of soul, each of these talented women had recording contracts and gave live performances to appreciative audiences. Their careers can be tracked through the popularity of soul during the 1960s and its decline in the 1970s. With humor, candor, pride, and honest recognition that their careers did not surge into the mainstream and gain superstardom, they recount individual stories of how they struggled for success.

Their oral histories as told to David Freeland address compelling issues, including racism and sexism within the music industry. They discuss their grueling hardships on the road, their conflicts with male managers, and the cutthroat competition in the recording business. As each singer examines her career with the author, she reveals the dreams, hopes, and desires on which she has built her professional life. All seven face up to the career swings, from the highs of releasing the first hit to the frustrating lows when the momentum stops."

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