Lady Bianca

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Lady Bianca
Lady-Bianca-2008-Monterey.jpg
Lady Bianca performing at the 2008 Monterey Blues Festival. Photo by Mike Shea/Tritone Photography
Background information
Birth name Bianca Thornton
Born (1953-08-08) August 8, 1953 (age 61)
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Genres Electric blues[1]
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, arranger, actress
Instruments Vocals, keyboards
Years active 1970s–present
Labels Telarc, Rooster Blues, Magic-O
Associated acts Frank Zappa, Van Morrison, Merle Haggard, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon[1]
Website www.ladybianca.com

Lady Bianca (born August 8, 1953) is an American electric blues singer, songwriter and arranger.[1] She has worked as a session singer, depicted Billie Holiday on stage, and since 1995 released six solo albums, three of which were nominated for a Grammy Award.

She is currently based in Oakland, California.

Life and career[edit]

She was born Bianca Thornton,[2] in Kansas City, Missouri, United States.[1] She was the eldest child, with two sisters and one brother.[3]

Her first exposure to music was through gospel, and she studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.[1] Her first professional gig was with Quinn Harris and the Masterminds, when she was aged 17. Harris dubbed her 'Lady Bianca', and the combination contributed two tracks to a compilation album released by Reynolds Records in 1970.[3]

In 1972, she played the role of Billie Holiday in the San Franciscan stage production of Jon Hendricks' Evolution of the Blues.[1] In the mid 1970s, she worked in various clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she met the bass guitarist Henry Oden. They were subsequently married for 15 years. She then joined Sly and the Family Stone as backing vocalist and keyboard player, and appeared on their 1976 album, Heard Ya Missed Me, Well I'm Back. Late the same year she briefly toured with Frank Zappa, and a recording of her singing "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station" appeared in 1992 on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6, and was re-released on the album Philly '76. When not touring, she performed locally in the recording studio, backing musicians such as Lee Oskar, Merle Haggard and Taj Mahal. In 1977, she co-founded the short-lived ensemble Vitamin E, and they released the commercially doomed Sharing album on Buddah Records. Lady Bianca then joined another group, Zingara, which was set up by Lamont Dozier in 1980. The trio included James Ingram, Wali Ali and Lady Bianca, but again it did not have any lasting appeal.[3]

Between 1981 and 1986, Lady Bianca toured and recorded backing vocals for Van Morrison, and appeared recordings such as Beautiful Vision (1982), Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (1983), Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast (1984), A Sense of Wonder (1985), and No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986). Lady Bianca also worked with John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon.[1] In 1984, she met Stanley Lippitt, a songwriter and her eventual husband. She continued to perform locally and undertook more low-key recording work.[3]

After recording demos with Lippitt, she was noticed by Joe Louis Walker who helped arrange a recording contract.[1] Her debut solo album, Best Kept Secret was released in 1995 on Telarc Distribution.[4] Her backing work continued in the 1990s, when she worked with Frankie Lee and Maria Muldaur. Lady Bianca's next solo effort was the critically acclaimed Rollin' (2001), which was released on the Rooster Blues label.[5] In 2002, she was given the 'Keys to the City' in Oakland.[3]

She formed her own record label Magic-O Records, and with Lippitt have their own production and publishing company.[6] Further albums were recorded and issued on Magic-O. These included All by Myself (2004),[7] Let Love Have Its Way (2005), Through a Woman's Eyes (2007), and A Woman Never Forgets (2009).[8]

In April 2007, at the Bay Area Black Music Awards, Lady Bianca was awarded as Best Blues Performer. In March 2008, she was voted in to the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame. In 2009, she appeared with Van Morrison at the Royal Albert Hall in London.[6]

Lady Bianca and the Magic-O Rhythm Band have appeared at many blues music festivals, including the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1987, and the Sarasota Blues Fest in 1996.[3]

Three of her albums have been nominated for a Grammy AwardBest Kept Secret, Rollin', and Through a Woman's Eyes. She is currently working on her projected seventh release.[6]

Discography[edit]

Year Title Record label
1995 Best Kept Secret Telarc Distribution
2001 Rollin' Rooster Blues
2004 All by Myself Magic-O
2005 Let Love Have Its Way Magic-O
2007 Through a Woman's Eyes Magic-O
2009 A Woman Never Forgets Magic-O

[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Jason Ankeny (1953-08-08). "Lady Bianca | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  2. ^ Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Lady Bianca Thornton profile at". Souldennis.blogpsot.com. January 11, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Best Kept Secret> Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Rollin' > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Lady Bianca biography at". Ladybianca.com. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  7. ^ "All by Myself > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Lady Bianca | Discography". AllMusic. 1953-08-08. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 

External links[edit]