Byrdie Green (sometimes credited as Birdie Green) was a singer-songwriter and record producer originally from Michigan. Born the daughter of a Baptist minister she first started singing in her father’s church; these gospel roots staying with her throughout her career as later styles such as jazz, soul and R&B became part of her repertoire.
Moving to New York to pursue music she began performing in clubs and bars, a move that proved fruitful as at one time she was a protegé of Ruth Brown!
Over her near-decade recording career Byrdie Green released a series of records on labels such as 20th Century, Hallmark and Perri and was eventually signed to US jazz label, Prestige; home to greats such as Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk, the Modern Jazz Quartet and John Coltrane.
Through Prestige she released four albums, of which the first of these was her 1966 label debut, The Golden Thrush Strikes At Midnight. Two years later and fourth record Sister Birdie was released and this is where today’s song is taken from. Written by US jazz saxophonist and flutist, Harold Ousley in 1967, Return Of The Prodigal Son has been recorded by a handful of artists, most of which were only instrumentals. Byrdie Green’s version is far superior as far as I’m concerned! The bass is insanely glorious and her vocals are so powerful and cutting, this is a superb rendition and I love it! Check it out above.