Nothing much happens in our little town of Overland, a suburb of Saint Louis – this is where I have made my home since moving from Ft Lauderdale in 1998 and now, France, in 2011. The biggest thing that might happen in Overland some days- is dumping some shock in the spa, breaking into the house when getting locked out, or going to get my eyebrows waxed and embracing that incredible pain when she starts with above the lip and then the chin. “I am MY grandmother!!!” I shout in pain, as she removes the hairs that are growing EVERYwhere. The other excitement while back home was getting THE Christmas Card, quite lovely, but from the Bellefontaine Cemetery. Okay , folks, we know that I’m getting “up there” in the age thing – but honestly? Bellefontaine? Must you? And the greeting of ….. Peace on earth Goodwill to ALL – no signature – kind of eerie – I’m thinking – wow, I’m that old……. That I get a CHRISTMAS CARD from a CEMETERY?!?!
WELL, there was some news – that actually mentioned OVERLAND in the news the other day. It seems that the American R&B singer, Fontella Bass died the day after Christmas 2012. She was best known for the 1965 hit “Rescue Me”. She was the wife of jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie and the sister of David Peaston a gospel singer.
Yep, she was from our hood. She lived on Pasteur, right down the street from Richard, my airline buddy friend.
I remember dancing to that song. I remember hiding liquor in a (new) douche bag so that my mom wouldn’t see us putting rum in our cokes when I had a “new home party” back in Aretha Franklin days of “Rescue Me.” That song that Fontella wrote catapulted Aretha to the top of the charts. It was indeed, her best song.
Fontella Bass remained popular in Europe, where she toured occasionally. She made a memorable appearance at the Womad festival in the UK in 2001. She was also sought out by young producers such as Jason Swinscoe of the electro-jazz group Cinematic Orchestra, but when Swinscoe travelled to St Louis in 2007 to record vocals by Bass, he found her in poor health, having suffered a series of strokes.
Bass is survived by her children, Neuka, Ju’Lene, Larry and Bahnamous, and 10 grandchildren. Bowie died in 1999 and Peaston died in 2012.
- Fontella Bass, singer, born 3 July 1940; died 26 December 2012, Saint Louis, Missouri
- NO, she was not that old either…….only 72. Rest in Peace Fontella Bass. Thanks for the memories………..
- is the one of the best articles on her. She lived for a while in Paris and cut the acclaimed albums – The Art Ensemble Of Chicago.
- Fontella Bass obituary (guardian.co.uk)