Tue. Sep. 28, 2021

Vicki Anderson – The Message From The Soul Sisters

Classics: Vicki Anderson – The Message From The Soul Sisters (Pt. 1 & 2) (King Records)

I was doin’ some shopping by a friend of mine the other day when my attention got caught up by an infectious one of a kind piece of music he was playin’ in his place. I was like yaow! With this funky gem gettin’ me in the mood. Eventually sayin’: “Let me guess… Lyn Collins?” Something to which he responded by the negative stating this was from Vicki Anderson. Hopefully, I hadn’t been that far from the truth at the end. With these two ladies most likely remembered for their precious contributions to the James Brown Revue. With my confusion most likely comin’ from the fact that ‘The Message From The Soul Sisters’ first appeared credited to Myra Barnes. Then to… Vicki Anderson as the flipside of ‘Yesterday’…

Speakin’ of Anderson, James Brown said she’d been the best singer he has ever had in his revue. One of the two singles credited to Myra Barnes along with ‘Super Good’, ‘The Message From The Soul Sisters’ is the archetype of a masterpiece in the history of Black Music. In the spirit of James Brown‘s ‘Cold Sweat’ on the same label as a matter of fact.

There, you can feel Bootsy Collins‘s bass guitar line comin’ up as the heart of this composition. But also Bobby Byrd‘s piano riffs acting like percussion in a hypnotic way along with Robert McCullough firing sax solo part. The whole with some orchestration courtesy of The J.B.’s over Clyde Stubblefield‘s typical drumming. And Anderson turnin’ this feminist anthem into her most famous song at the end.

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A native of Houston, TX, Myra Barnes aka Vicki Anderson is best remembered for her performances with the James Brown Revue. She married Bobby Byrd in the mid-60’s. Himself a Soul singer and a childhood friend of James Brown, he eventually invited him to join his band, The Flames by the second half of the 50’s. With the latter soon after becoming The Furious Flames. Meanwhile, Anderson joined Brown, replacing Anna King back in 1965. She stayed as his main female singer until Marva Whitney took over from her in 1968. Then she rejoined in 1969 after Whitney departed. Thus staying for an extra three years until Lyn Collins came to replace her in 1972.

She made her debut – as Vikki Anderson – back in 1964 with ‘I Won’t Be Back’ on Whiz Records. Eventually jumpin’ from a label to another until 1966 and her signature with King Records. As Myra Barnes, she released two singles by the likes of ‘Super Good’ and ‘The Message From The Soul Sisters’. With the latter standing as her biggest success ever.

Strangely enough, and despite extra releases along with James Brown or Bobby Byrd, Anderson never released a studio album. She eventually came back in 1981 after a 9 years hiatus, with the mellow ‘You And Me Together (Rapp)’. Then another 15 years later, she resurfaced along with Italian outfit Bossa Nostra. This on a cover version of Gil Scott-Heron‘s classic ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’.

Vicki nevertheless appeared along with her late husband on the 1989 ‘Hot Pants – I’m Coming, Coming, I’m Coming’ album. And on a couple of compilations beginning with the memorable ‘Mother Popcorn (Vicki Anderson Anthology)’ back in 2004 on UK label Soul Brother Records.

Last but not least, she is the mom of Carleen Anderson. And the aunt of Jhelisa (Anderson)…

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