365 reasons to smile ~ 15.

15. The discovery of Willie Mae Thornton!

Hound Dog and Down Home Shakedown ~ Big Mama Thornton, 1965

Holy shit! How have I not found this woman earlier!

"Thornton Big Mama 01" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

“Thornton Big Mama 01” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

-Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984) was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record Leiber and Stoller’sHound Dog” in 1952,[1] which became her biggest hit.

-Thornton’s performances were characterized by her deep, powerful voice and strong sense of self. She tapped into a liberated black feminist persona, through which she freed herself from many of the expectations of musical, lyrical, and physical practice for black women.[5] She was given her nickname, “Big Mama,” by Frank Schiffman, manager of Harlem’s Apollo Theater, due to her big voice, size, and personality. Thornton made it a point to use her voice to its full potential, once stating that she was louder than any mic and that she didn’t want a mic to ever be as loud as she was. Her big voice was something she became known for as an artist



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