The Blues Broads
The Blues Broads
Dorothy Morrison, Tracy Nelson, Annie Sampson and Angela Strehli, all highly regarded vocalists in their own rights, have joined forces as the Blues Broads. Their self-titled debut CD/DVD set includes both familiar songs associated with their respective august careers, as well as newly written material that underscores the creative might of these four remarkable women. Reflecting more than two centuries of collective experience in blues, country, gospel and rock, this awesome aggregation is nothing less than a roots music “supergroup” of the first order.
Dorothy Morrison rose to international renown as the lead vocalist on the Edwin Hawkins Singers hit, “Oh, Happy Day,” the biggest selling gospel recording of all time. A member of the singing Combs Family, she rose to prominence in East Bay church circles and has been a force in gospel since the late 1960s. There is also a significant secular side to her career as she has worked with such notable artists as Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, Delaney & Bonnie, Rita Coolidge, Merry Clayton and even Simon & Garfunkel — she’s heard on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
The start of Tracy Nelson’s career in music dates back to the mid-1960s when she recorded an album of acoustic blues songs with Charlie Musselwhite’s backing for the Prestige label. After moving to San Francisco, she founded Mother Earth and rose to the front ranks of the era’s great female singers, sharing stages with the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and many more. She relocated to the outskirts of Nashville where her talents addressed country music in a most resonant way. She recorded with Willie Nelson and turned out a steady stream of blues and country-rooted albums into the new century.
Angela Strehli, whose Lone Star State roots are explored in a song she wrote for the group entitled, “Two Bit Texas Town,” had been one of Austin’s most highly regarded female vocalists prior to her move to the Bay Area in the 1990s. She was a fixture at Antone’s in Austin where she initially played a key role in that legendary club’s business development. At Antone’s she was mentored and encouraged by many of the artists she booked including Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins, and her love for the blues literally found a voice as she transitioned from the back office to the stage.
Annie Sampson is a triple threat, bringing a rock, gospel and theater background to the Blues Broads. She played one of the leads in the original San Francisco production of Hair in the late 1960s and would go on to be a founder of Stoneground, the communal rock band that included Sal Valentino of the Beau Brummels in its line-up, as well as Cory Lerios, Steve Price and David Jenkins who would go on to form Pablo Cruise. Annie, like Dorothy, comes from a church background, and has been a part of recordings and performances by a host of notables including Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, Journey, Eddie Money, Elvin Bishop, Johnnie Johnson, Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello, Sammy Hagar and others.