Marie "Queen" Lyons Soul Fever

Originally released in 1970, Soul Fever is a forgotten Southern soul masterpiece. Little is known about Louisiana-bred Marie "Queenie” Lyons except that she travelled the chitlin circuit, sang with King Curtis and opened for the likes of Jackie Wilson and the Coasters. Soul Fever was initially issued on the King subsidiary De-Luxe and the liner notes suggest that James Brown may have helped Lyons obtain a contract with the label. That might not be impossible since the overall vibe of Soul Fever suggests such funky divas as Marva Whitney and Lyn Collins. There are enough ass-shaking rhythms and sassy attitude on "Your Key Don’t Fit It No More” and a cover of "Fever” (both cult classics in the funk collector pantheon) to put most divas of the day in their place. That’s only half the story here, however. The playful bounce of "Daddy’s House” is an ironic counterpoint to the lyrics — a poignant snapshot of a broken home and the stigma of illegitimacy. The galloping, gospel-tinged barnstormer "I Want My Freedom” rocks like a Baptist church on a warm Sunday morning and cries out like a hymn to both the civil rights and feminist movements. No one knows where Marie "Queenie” Lyons is nowadays but the righteous Soul Fever heralds the rediscovery of a true soul sister. (Vampisoul)