Record Kicks has signed James Brown’s original funky diva Martha High. Her new album “Tribute To My Soul Sisters” produced by Japan’s Osaka Monaurail is out November 17.
Martha High has been an integral part of James Brown’s life and career for more than 30 years. After a lifetime spent shoulder to shoulder with the Godfather of Soul, she flew to Tokyo and teamed up with Japanese funk ambassadors Osaka Monaurail to record her new album “Tribute to My Soul Sisters” that hits the streets worldwide next November 17 on Record Kicks. You can now listen to the first single from the album “A Little Taste Of Soul”, originally recorded in 1962 by her soul sister Sugar Pie, available on digital download and limited edition 45 vinyl on October 20.
“Tribute to My Soul Sisters” was hatched back in 2014, when Martha High was visiting the producer Dj Pari, head honcho of the Soulpower organization and tight collaborator of soul legends like The Impressions, Lyn Collins and Marva Whitney. "I looked up to these ladies of soul" says Martha, "Given the opportunity and the pleasure to perform their songs, is my way of saying: thank you, you're not forgotten. To record the music of the Funky Divas would mean a lot to Mr Brown. He always wanted the world to know he had powerful women on stage that could hold his crowd while he was off the stage; they were just as powerful and funky as he was."
Without further ado, following DJ Pari’s advice, she partnered up with one of the hottest name of the new funk renaissance: Japan’s Osaka Monaurail. Deeply influenced by the work of James Brown, Bobby Byrd, Curtis Mayfield and with nine albums under the belt, Osaka Monaurail have been leading the international funk scene for more than two decades, appearing at festivals such as Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival and Womad’s, as well as recording and touring with funk legends like Marva Whitney and Fred Wesley.
Throughout her career Martha shared stages worldwide with some iconic artists like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson and George Clinton to name a few. 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.
Born in Victoria, Virginia and discovered by Rock & Roll pioneer Bo Diddley, Martha took off 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 and was on stage with him and "The Legends of Rock & Roll". Mr Brown produced several of Martha’s singles on his own label “People” 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 then she released five albums under her name and, being one of the “hardest working woman 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.