This is a tribute to some of the unique and forgotten music and artists of the past.
Some of this music and the artists never received the chance they deserved,
some deserve to be forgotten. None the less, enjoy my tribute to Retro Rarites

Laura Lee Newton, born in Chicago, moved to Detroit with her mom when she was young. After some years, Rev. E. Allan Rundless, who had previously been a member of the Soul Stirrers, adopted her. His wife Ernestine led a gospel group, The Meditation Singers, that then featured Della Reese. The Meditation Singers broke new ground being the first Detroit gospel group to perform with instrumental backing. The group recorded on the Specialty label in the mid 1950s., They appeared on the LP Della Reese Presents The Meditation Singers in 1958, and in the early 1960s they recorded for Checker Records before disbanding.  At 11, Laura replaced Della and toured singing gospel until 1965 when she launched her own solo R&B career. She first recorded on Ric-Tic Records in 1966, and recorded "To Win Your Heart". The following year she signed with Chess Records in Chicago, but later went to Rick Hall's FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to record "Dirty Man". This became her first charting record, reaching #13 R&B and #68 pop. She stayed with Chess until 1969, recording "Up Tight Good Man" (#16 R&B) and "As Long As I Got You" (#31 R&B). She then signed with Cotillion and had two singles which went nowhere. Finally in 1970, Lee joined with Motown writer-producers, Holland, Dozier and Holland's newly established Hot Wax label in Detroit. "Women's Love Rights", became one of her biggest hits, reaching #11 on the R&B chart in 1971 and #36 pop. In 1972, "Rip Off" became her biggest R&B hit at #3 but only went to #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. She also recorded an album, Two Sides of Laura Lee. William Weatherspoon, also with Motown at one time, produced many of her Hot Wax recordings.
Lee eventually left Invictus/Hot Wax in 1975 and signed with Ariola Records, but became seriously ill a short time later and retired from the music industry for a number of years.
After radiation therapy for cancer, she returned in 1983 with a gospel album, Jesus Is the Light of My Life, on which she worked with Al Green with whom she’d had a relationship in the early 70s. By 1990, recovered from her illness, she had been ordained as a minister. She has recorded mostly gospel music since.
But it is the first single release for Hot Wax records we spotlight here. This was a song that fit right in with what the label was doing at the time with the Honey Cone, and 100 Proof. She recorded many more great songs including “Crumbs From The Table”, “Love And Liberty” and “If You Can’t Beat Me Rockin’”.  On several recordings she sounded VERY much like Freda Payne who also recorded for Invictus.
“Wedlock Is A Padlock” was mostly ignored by Top 40 radio but was what I would have considered a great career kick-off song, possibly because she still had the persona of being a gospel singer or at the very least having gospel roots, who knows.  It never made Billboard’s Hot 100 but did chart and #37 R&B. It made it to #17, January 13 on the WOLF Hot 30 in Syracuse. Interesting to note, this song does not appear on her vinyl “Best Of” LP but did later on CD releases. Also, the single released to radio stations was edited from its original 3:09. Several minor edits made it 2:56. The longer version was released in stores with the incorrect time on the label.

Wedlock Is A Padlock - Laura Lee 

Page Up


Please check out my tribute to WOLF, The Syracuse Rocker

Copyright © 2012 Retrorarities Music