One of the greatest female singers of Southern soul music, Ann Peebles grew up singing gospel in her father’s Baptist choir, idolising and occasionally backing the legendary Mahalia Jackson.
Her secular music career began with an impromptu performance at the Rosewood club in Memphis in 1969, which caught the attention of famed producer Willie Mitchell of Hi Records (Al Green‘s label).
Alongside Green it was Ann who shaped the Hi soul sound with her hits; I Can’t Stand The Rain (1973), and I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down (1974) – but it is her lesser-known tracks like Trouble, Heartaches and Sadness from her second album – Straight From The Heart (1971) – that best exemplify her forthright gospel-inflected country soul.
Ann recorded seven albums and 24 singles during her eleven years on the Hi label. Nineteen of the singles landed on the Billboard R&B charts.
While her vocal style is similar to Tina Turner‘s, Ann brought with it a subtlety and fragile intensity often lacking in Turner’s phrasing, and which evoked emotion at every turn.
After spending some time raising a family, Ann returned to the recording studio.