Harvin grew up in Washington, D.C., attending Roosevelt High School and singing in Trinity AME Zion Church. She began singing in The Four Jewels (whose members attended the same church and school) after the departure of Carrie Mingo. After Martha joined the group, they changed their name simply to The Jewels and released their best-known hit, "Opportunity". After a follow-up single, "But I Do" b/w "Smokey Joe", flopped, they were dropped from Dimension Records.
The Jewels went on tour with James Brown in 1964, with a demanding nightly schedule. They visited the studios of Motown Records on the Detroit leg of the tour, hoping to record, but the building was closed that day. They did record two singles while they toured with Brown, but after a year and a half with Brown the group split up. Harvin adopted the stage name Martha High and continued singing with Brown for the next 30-plus years. Among her appearances with Brown are on the track "Summertime" and on the Original Funky Divas album.
In 2004, High teamed up with the Soulpower organization, which is also behind the comebacks of Soul artists like Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Bobby Byrd, Gwen McCrae and RAMP. During her collaboration with Soulpower, High performed all across Europe and even performed in Africa, backed by the Soulpower Allstars. In February 2005, High embarked on the "James Brown's Funky Divas Tour" in Europe, sharing the stage with her friend Lyn Collins.
In 2016, High released her solo album on Blind Faith Records. . 11 original tunes produced and recorded by Italian soul man Luca Sapio and his crew.
|No.||Song titles (Artist)||Label and no.||Release||Format|
|1||"Georgy Girl" b/w "Try Me"||People 611||1972||7"|
|2||"Take Me Higher And Groove Me" (James Brown)
b/w Summertime (Martha And James)
|3||"Spank Georgia Disco" Parts 1&2 (as Martha And The Lazers)||Polydor 14498||1978||7"|
|4||"He's My Ding Dong Man" b/w "Wallflower"||Salsoul 2097||1979||7"|
|5||"Showdown" b/w "He's My Ding Dong Man"||Salsoul 2110||1979||7"|
|6||"He's My Ding Dong Man" b/w "Wallflower"||Salsoul 306||1979||12"|
|7||"Showdown" b/w "He's My Ding Dong Man"||Salsoul 317||1979||12"|
|8||"The Big Payback"||Diaspora Connections||2007||CD|
|9||"The Shakedown (Say Yeah)"
b/w "Dragging Me Down" (as Speedometer ft. Martha High)
|Freestyle 7072||Feb. 2012||7"|
|10||"I'd Rather Go Blind" b/w "No More Heartaches"
(as Martha High & Speedometer)
|Freestyle 7074||Sept. 2012||7"|
- High (Salsoul 8526) released 1979
- Live at Quai Du Blues (Austerlitz Music 5978012) released 2003
- W.O.M.A.N. by Martha High With Shaolin Temple Defenders (Soulbeats 004[CD]/005[LP]) released 2008
- It's High Time (Diaspora Connections 90101) released 2009
- Soul Overdue by Martha High & Speedometer (Freestyle FSRCD096[CD]/FSRLP096[LP]) released 2012
- Singing For The Good Times by Martha High (Blind Faith Records BF01002[CD]/[LP]) released 2016
- Presenting… The James Brown Show (LP by various artists, 1967) Smash 27087 (mono) & 67087 (stereo)
"This Is My Story" and "Something's Got A Hold On Me" by The Jewels
- James Brown's Original Funky Divas (CD compilation, 1998) PolyGram 314 537 709-2
"This Is My Story" by The Jewels
"Summertime" by Martha And James
- Love Over-Due (album by James Brown, 1991) Scotti Bros. 72392 75225-1
"Later For Dancing" (duet with James Brown)
- Matha High (CD, 2014) on Octave-lav/Ultra-Vybe inc. 5067)
- Reissue of Salsoul 8526 with 4 bonus-tracks