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An ESP-Disk Primer

"Iowa-born Patty Waters had been singing since she was a teenager, but had yet to record when Albert Ayler heard her in a New York club in the mid ’60s. He quickly recommended her to Stollman, and in December of 1965, she recorded her ESP-Disk’ debut Sings. It begins with seven short ballads, as Waters’ whispery voice is accented by her sparse piano playing. But the final track, a stunning adaptation of the traditional song “Black is The Color of My True Love’s Hair,” is what earned Waters her reputation as an avant-garde vocal pioneer. She intones the word “black” as if it were a ritual, escalating into a storm of shrieks, howls, and cries. Her performance can still shock 50 years later, a revolutionary act that many singers are still reckoning with."

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