Though her fading notoriety stems from the fact she was the first black female country artist of note, La Melle Prince actually had a long diverse career in music before that distinction.

Born in 1927 Prince ran away from home at 17 to briefly join Lionel Hampton’s band as a singer but it would take another six years until she got her first recording opportunity with with Aladdin Records and teamed up with producer Maxwell Davis as a rock ‘n’ roller.

When no other releases followed she transitioned to country music eventually breaking through in the late 1960’s when produced by the legendary Owen Bradley and backed by The Jordanaires. Her vocals sounded light years removed from her early rock sides and with country music being such a white enclave with the only prominent African-American being Charley Pride, her brief success was considered a welcome first step in making the genre more inclusive.

A scheduled project teaming her with Pride however was curtailed after the tragic death of her son after which she struggled to regain her footing and Prince died in 1991.
LA MELLE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Aladdin 2067; October, 1950)
Matching the song’s reckless energy with an undercurrent of psychological insight Prince impresses on her debut, though it doesn’t hurt to have Maxwell Davis providing a simple but effective arrangement with a fusillade of horns to add to the raucous atmosphere. (7)

(Aladdin 3067; October, 1950)
Proving herself just as adept at delivering a torch song as a party anthem, Prince paints a vivid picture of romantic despondency while the subtle arrangement adds to mood without distracting from her poignant vocals. (6)