Carol Fran

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Carol Fran
Henry Grey and Carol Fran Festival International 2010 01.jpg
Henry Gray and guest Carol Fran playing at the Festival International in Lafayette, Louisiana on April 24, 2010
Background information
Birth nameCarol Martin[1]
Born (1933-10-23) October 23, 1933 (age 85)
Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
GenresElectric blues, soul blues, swamp pop
Occupation(s)Singer, pianist, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, piano
Years activeMid 1950s–present
LabelsExcello, Lyric, Josie, Roulette, Black Top, JSP, others
Associated actsGuitar Slim, Nappy Brown, Lee Dorsey, Joe Tex, Clarence Hollimon, Guitar Shorty

Carol Fran (born October 23, 1933)[2] is an African American soul blues singer, pianist and songwriter. Fran is best known for her string of single releases in the 1950s and 1960s, and her later musical association with her husband, Clarence Hollimon. She has released five solo albums since 1992, her final collaboration with Hollimon being on JSP Records.[2]


Carol Anthony was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, United States.[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, releasing Fran-tastic in October 2001.[4]

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

Fran is 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]



Year Title Record label
1992 Soul Sensation Black Top
1994 See There! Black Top
1995 Women in (E)motion Tradition & Moderne
2000 It's About Time JSP
2001 Fran-tastic Sono


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[8] Nonesuch (one track - "Tou' Les Jours Ç'est Pas la Même")

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Carol Fran". 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 2015-10-02.
  4. ^ a b Hannusch, Jeff. "Carol Fran - Fran-tastic". 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". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Carol Fran | Album Discography". AllMusic. 1933-10-23. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  8. ^ Steve Leggett. "Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-02.

External links[edit]