Today’s song comes from an artist whose recognition was a long, long time coming!..
Originally from Chicago, “Little Ann” Bridgeforth was born and bred a singer, she sang at her cousin’s club, Michelle’s Playroom and in 1969 recorded her first single for the Ric-Tic label. As she began to gig more she changed her name to Little Ann, (which happened to be her family’s pet name for her as she was the youngest of seven brothers and sisters).
Eventually she was taken to Dave Hamilton’s TBC studio where she laid down an album’s worth of songs but her only released output consisted of one side of a Ric-Tic single, “Going Down a One-Way Street”. The combination of Hamilton’s atmospheric backings and Little Ann’s marvelous voice made for phenomenal recordings but any hope for releases beyond the Ric-Tic single vanished when she, along with Hamilton associate Rony Darrell, moved to Canada to make a go of her career there. With no artist to promote the records, Hamilton shelved the remaining material and Bridgeforth disappeared off the radar. (see this Soulful Detroit article about Ann and her one record).
For two decades the tapes of that one and only album lay hidden away collecting dust and it wasn’t until 1990 that two British soul collectors came upon the album whilst digging through Hamilton’s vaults…and so began the discovery of Little Ann.
Thirty five years after launching her career, she appeared on stage in the UK to perform in front of many adoring fans and was able to see (before her passing in 2003) the rightful recognition and reception she so greatly deserved and should have received all those years previous..
Lean Lanky Daddy is a real fireball of sound with a discernible rawness that unleashes itself through Ann’s striking vocals, punctuating hand claps and triumphant horns! It’s certainly kicked my spirit into action today!! Finally issued in 2009 on Kent Select Records, this crazy tune was backed with Dave Hamilton’s Who You Trying to Fool and was actually about Dave Hamilton himself!! Check it out above.