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The Bitch Is Black

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This onetime James Brown paramour and Tammi Terrell fill-in was a hard-touring overseas star when, after numerous delays, she finally released her sole Motown album in 1975. Superstar producer Norman Whitfield (Marvin Gaye, Temptations) took the main reins here and kicked out the maximum R&B. The opener, “Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On,” is killer, doors-blowing-down dance-funk with an impossible groove and saucy vocal that showed how Fair was just too much for radio play back in the day. (On the album’s cover, she's all in black and brandishing a whip.) She could be as gutsy as Tina Turner and even James Brown (listen to her dominate the psych-era Temptations’ ditty “Let Your Hair Down”), then unexpectedly flip to her gentler side and lead a classic Motown sound of honeyed strings and sweet vocal accompaniment (“It’s Bad for Me to See You,” “Stay a Little Longer”). Elsewhere she handles Stevie Wonder (“You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”) and Gladys Night & The Pips (the 1968 hit “It Should Have Been Me”) with all the sassy ease of dungeon priestess administering religious rites.


Born: October 21, 1942 in Richmond, VA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s

Yvonne Fair got her start as a latter-day member of the Chantels and the James Brown Revue. Signed to Motown in the early '70s as a result of her work with Chuck Jackson, she appeared in a minor role as a chanteuse in the film Lady Sings the Blues before hooking up with producer Norman Whitfield for a first-rate series of singles: "Love Ain't No Toy," "Walk Out the Door If You Wanna," what is perhaps the definitive version of "Funky Music Sho' 'Nuff Turns Me On," and a stunning remake of the Kim...
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The Bitch Is Black, Yvonne Fair
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  • $8.99
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music
  • Released: 1975

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