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No Ways Tired

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  • Singer Fontella Bass Dies at Age 72

    American singer Fontella Bass, best known for the seminal soul classic "Rescue Me," died last week at the age of 72. Recorded for Chess Records when she was 25 years old, "Rescue Me" remained on the Top 40 R&B Chart for 19 weeks in 1965. She returned to the music scene with the released of her album No Ways Tired on Nonesuch Records in 1995. Bass suffered a heart attack on December 2, 2012, and died on December 26.

About this Album

Best-known for the 1965 soul classic “Rescue Me,” Fontella Bass returns on No Ways Tired, a gospel collection on the Nonesuch American Explorer Series. Backed by a full rhythm section, choir, organ, and horns, Bass reclaims the music that shaped her as a young singer, bringing elements of blues, jazz, and soul to form a singular sound.

It was Bass’s 1992 collaboration with Hamiet Bluiett and the World Saxophone Quartet on Breath of Life that prompted Executive Producer / Nonesuch President Bob Hurwitz to suggest a follow-up solo recording. Bluiett rejoins Bass on No Ways Tired, along with long-time collaborators Lester Bowie and David Sanborn. No Ways Tired combines traditional and original material, spanning the breadth of Bass’s involvement with gospel music. Both her mother and grandmother were gospel singers, and Bass toured the country with them, learning the style while also serving as their pianist. Bass left her native St. Louis upon the death of her grandmother in 1965, moved to Chicago, and signed with Chess Records. By 1966, she had earned a Gold Record for Rescue Me. That same year she married Lester Bowie, a pioneering jazz trumpeter. They moved to Paris soon after, and Bass spent most of the next 20 years raising a family. Frustrated by the pop music business, she returned to St. Louis, and to gospel. She has been singing there in churches and touring occasionally since the 1970s. No Ways Tired marks the joyful and compelling re-emergence of Fontella Bass onto the music scene—nearly 30 years to the day after she first captured it.


Arthur Baron; Lester Bowie; Hamiet Bluiett; Dave Douglas; Marty Ehrlich; David Sanborn; Doug Wieselman, horns
Stew Cutler, guitar
Harvey Brooks, bass
Garry Bruer, drums
Donald Smith, organ & piano
The Institutional Radio Choir

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