Fontella Bass - Later Career and Life

Later Career and Life

The next few years found Bass at a number of different labels, but saw no notable successes. After her second album, Free, flopped in 1972, Bass retired from music and concentrated on raising a family (she has four children with Bowie). She returned occasionally, being featured as a background vocalist on several recordings, including those by Bowie. In 1990 she recorded a gospel album with her mother and brother David Peaston, called Promises: A Family Portrait of Faith and undertook a fall tour of the US West Coast, called "Juke Joints and Jubilee", which featured both traditional gospel and blues performers. During the 1990s she hosted a short-lived Chicago radio talk show, released several gospel records on independent labels; through old friend Hamiet Bluiett, she was invited to perform three tracks on the World Saxophone Quartet album Breath of Life.

The original version of "Rescue Me" was utilized in a TV advertising campaign by American Express: Fontella Bass has stated that she was at a low point in her life when on New Year's Day 1990 she was astonished to hear her own voice singing "Rescue Me" on the American Express television ad. The experience gave Bass the inspiration to set her life in order: it also motivated her to make queries over the commercial use of her recording of "Rescue Me" with the ultimate result a 1993 settlement with American Express and its advertising agency awarding Bass $50,000 plus punitive damages

Like many artists of her time, Bass experienced a revival of interest. She was featured on the PBS Special and accompanying DVD, "Soul Celebration. Soul Spectacular" recorded live at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA, November 2001. Her voice can be heard on two tracks on The Cinematic Orchestra's 2002 album Every Day, and another two tracks on their 2007 album Ma Fleur.

She has been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. She is the older sister of R&B singer David Peaston, who was a former Showtime at the Apollo champion.

Read more about this topic:  Fontella Bass

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