Carol Fran

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Carol Fran
Carol Fran 2014.jpg
Fran in 2014
Background information
Birth nameCarol Augustus Anthony[1]
Born(1933-10-23)October 23, 1933
Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedSeptember 1, 2021(2021-09-01) (aged 87)
Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresElectric blues, soul blues, swamp pop
Occupation(s)Singer, pianist, songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, piano
Years activeMid 1950s–2021
LabelsExcello, Lyric, Port, Roulette, Black Top, JSP, others

Carol Fran (born Carol Augustus Anthony; October 23, 1933 – September 1, 2021)[2] was an American soul blues singer, pianist, and songwriter, best known for her string of single releases in the 1950s and 1960s, and her later musical association with her husband, Clarence Hollimon. She released six albums since 1992 including four as a duo with Hollimon.[2]

Biography[edit]

Henry Gray and guest Carol Fran playing at the Festival International in Lafayette, Louisiana on April 24, 2010

Carol Augustus Anthony was born in Lafayette, Louisiana.[1][2] Commencing her jump blues singing career with Don Conway, she subsequently relocated to New Orleans. There she married a saxophone player, Bob Francois, which allowed a simple abbreviation to arrive at her stage name of Carol Fran. Establishing a musical presence around Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Fran also undertook a tour of Mexico. Her debut single was "Emmitt Lee", recorded in 1957 and released by Excello Records. Three more singles ensued, but lack of success saw Fran singing with Guitar Slim, and after his death in 1959, she then sang alongside Nappy Brown, Lee Dorsey, and Joe Tex.[2]

Lyric Records then offered a recording contract to Fran. Her next offerings were a swamp pop version of "The Great Pretender" (1962) and a cover version of "Crying in the Chapel" (1964). Despite a subsequent reissue of the latter on Josie Records, her momentum was stalled by Elvis Presley's release of his own version. Her follow-up, "You Can't Stop Me," was enhanced by an arrangement by Sammy Lowe, whilst the Bobby Darin penned "A World Without You", also failed to find sufficient buyers. After another effort, "Any Day Love Walks In," she returned to the concert circuit.[2]

In 1967, she signed to Roulette Records and issued a version of Brook Benton's "So Close." Success still eluded her and many recordings remained unreleased. Downhearted she concentrated on performing in clubs back in Louisiana. In 1982, Fran met the session guitarist Clarence Hollimon, and they went on to marry a year later and relocated to Texas. After appearing together in concert, Black Top Records released their 1992 album Soul Sensation.[2] Elsewhere, in 1993, Fran contributed to Guitar Shorty's album, Topsy Turvy.[3] In 1996, Fran and Hollimon appeared at the Long Beach Blues Festival.

See There! (1994) was her next album release, before another collaboration with Hollimon saw the issue of It's About Time (2000).[2] However, Hollimon died the same year, and Fran moved back to Lafayette. She recorded her first solo effort Fran-tastic in New Orleans in October 2001 which was released the following year.[4]

She appeared in the 2015 documentary film I Am the Blues.[5]

Fran was a recipient of the 2013 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts in the United States.[6]

In 2020, Carol Fran released her first newly recorded album in 18 years titled All Of My Life: The Saint Agnes Sessions. This was an LP only release by Jazz Foundation of America. In the same year, her documentary film Carol Fran: Tous Les Jours C'est Pas La Même, Every Day Is Not The Same was released by Coulee Productions.[7][8]

Fran died from post-COVID-19 complications at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, on September 1, 2021, aged 87.[9][10][11]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title Record label
1992 Soul Sensation with Clarence Hollimon Black Top
1994 See There! with Clarence Hollimon Black Top
1995 Women in (E)motion with Clarence Hollimon Tradition & Moderne
2000 It's About Time with Clarence Hollimon JSP
2002 Fran-tastic Sound of New Orleans
2020 All Of My Life: The Saint Agnes Sessions [LP] Jazz Foundation of America

[1][4][12]

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Record label (and notes)
2005 The Complete Cala, Port and Roulette Recordings Stateside (with Bettye LaVette)
2005 Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast[13] Nonesuch (one track - "Tou' Les Jours Ç'est Pas la Même")

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Carol Fran". Soulfulkindamusic.net. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ankeny, Jason. "Carol Fran". Allmusic. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  3. ^ "Topsy Turvy - Guitar Shorty | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Hannusch, Jeff. "Carol Fran - Fran-tastic". Soundofneworleans.com. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  5. ^ "Here Are 6 Must-See Music Films at Hot Docs". Exclaim!, April 19, 2016.
  6. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships 2013". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. Archived from the original on September 30, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  7. ^ "Louisiana Music Factory". October 21, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  8. ^ "Coulee Productions". October 21, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  9. ^ Montgomery, Darla (September 1, 2021). "Acadiana's soulful music legend Carol Fran, has died". KLFY. Lafayette, Louisiana. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  10. ^ McCree, Cree (August 9, 2021). "Jazz Fest Canceled; New Orleans Reacts". Downbeat. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  11. ^ Wirt, John (September 2, 2021). "'Once you met her, you never forgot her.' Louisiana blues artist Carol Fran dies at 87". The Advocate. Lafayette, Louisiana. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  12. ^ "Carol Fran | Album Discography". AllMusic. October 23, 1933. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  13. ^ Steve Leggett. "Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 2, 2015.

External links[edit]