Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Meditations (Hob 117)

The Meditations
Laura Rundless leader

Under the direction of James Cleveland

CP-4825 - One More River To Cross
CP-4826 - His Eye Is On The Sparrow

HOB 117

111 Mack Avenue
Detroit, Michigan


Carmen Murphy established her House of Beauty parlour around 1948 and developed it into a well-respected and profitable establishment. In the late 50s she ventured into the music business when DJ-cum-singer Jack Surrell persuaded her to fund gospel recordings. She had a piano placed in the salon's basement, converting it into a practice room, and consequently became an unlikely pioneer of Detroit R 'n' B.

The first secular HOB label release was made around 1959 by one of Detroit's premier vocal groups, The Peppermints, whose members included Lee Rogers, Jesse Greer and Duke Browner.

The Meditation Singers
Back: Verlene Rogers, Ernestine Rundless, Marie Water
Front: Laura Lee, Donna Hammonds

Laura Lee Rundless

Born Laura Lee Newton, 9 March 1945, Chicago, Illinois)

Lee was born in Chicago, but as a child relocated to Detroit with her mother. After a few years, she was adopted by Rev. E. Allan Rundless, who had previously been a member of the Soul Stirrers, and his wife Ernestine, who led a gospel group, The Meditation Singers. Featuring Della Reese, they were the first Detroit gospel group to perform with instrumental backing. The group recorded on the Specialty label in the mid 1950s, appeared on the LP Della Reese Presents The Meditation Singers in 1958, and in the early 1960s recorded for Checker Records.

As Laura Lee Rundless, she replaced Reese in The Meditation Singers in 1956, and over the next few years toured widely around the country. In 1965, as Laura Lee, she launched her secular solo career as an R&B singer in clubs in Detroit, although she also continued to record occasionally with The Meditation Singers. She first recorded solo for Ed Wingate's Ric-Tic Records in 1966, with "To Win Your Heart".

Source : Wikipedia

According to Dan Nooger :
"The tough, independent women performers of today owe a strong debt to Laura Lee, who paved the way with such women's liberationist anthems as Rip Off, Wedlock Is A Padlock, Love and Liberty, and of course the song with which she will be forever associated, "Women's Love Rigghts. The toughest and raucnhiest of the Hot Wax ladies.

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