She was a vocal dynamo, whether supporting the Godfather of Soul, or showing off her stuff at the front of the stage. The music industry mourns the passing of singer supreme Vicki Anderson-Byrd, at age 83.
The Houston-born singer, born Myra Barnes, possessed the kind of church-inspired voice that was sometimes compared to Aretha Franklin. James Brown heard that voice and had to have her as part of his supporting cast in 1965. She earned praise from both Brown and her peers through her nearly a decade touring with him as his main background singer.
Anderson also released her own material as a solo singer, most notably the feminist funk anthem “The Message from the Soul Sisters” in 1970.
Anderson was also part of a tremendously musical family. She married noted jazz star Bobby Byrd in the 1960s and was the mother of 90s soul singer Carleen Anderson.
Vicki Anderson’s career never took off in the way that her talent deserved, but her limited releases are revered now as much as ever, and her role in the development of funky soul is unquestioned more than a half century after we first heard that incredible voice.