I'm having a lot fun putting my set together for this 4th edition of "Touch Your Woman" happening Saturday, March 28th at the World Famous Kenton Club.
One record I just can't get enough of is Linda Martell's rendition of "I Almost Called Your Name" from 1969. If you've been following the country aspect of my DJ career, you may remember me featuring Linda on-line a couple of times in the past. She's actually gained some more appreciation in the past couple of years, which is pretty exciting. I believe her country LP was reissued as well.
LINDA MARTELL was the first African-American woman to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. After recording some soul singles, she crossed over to country with the help of revolutionary Nashville producer Shelby Singleton, who built his career around blending country & soul in a variety of ways. Linda busted down walls, opened minds, and broke down traditional stereotypes of country music. She ultimately left the business to raise her family leaving a pretty significant void in the world of country music.
My record of the day is Linda's reworking of a Mira Smith & Margaret Lewis composition originally released by Margaret in 1963. Linda was actually not the first Black woman to do a country cover this song. Jewell Hall released a lovely country-pop version back in 1963. Perhaps that's why the Plantation Label thought it would be a good fit for Linda Martell when the songwriting team of Mira Smith & Margaret Lewis joined the label.
There's no denying that when Linda broke loose on this song, she brought it to another level. It's heartbreaking that she had to leave the business before putting more work out into the world. Just imagining what she could have done with so many other songs, all the opportunities lost, all the Linda Martell renditions of country classics that SHOULD be out there, but never came to fruition.
The Linda Martell chapter of country music history was never really completed, but it's also a story very rarely told. So, I hope you will join me in celebrating Linda today by listening to her song below, and then join me in person on March 28th at the Kenton Club to celebrate Linda and so many other ladies of classic country.