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Laura Lee

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Laura Lee (born Laura Lee Newton, 9 March 1945, Chicago, Illinois) is an American soul and gospel singer and songwriter, most successful in the 1960s and 1970s and influential for her records which discussed and celebrated women’s experience.

Lee was born in Chicago, but as a child relocated to Detroit with her mother. After a few years, she was adopted by Rev. E. Allan Rundless, who had previously been a member of the Soul Stirrers, and his wife Ernestine, who led a gospel group, The Meditation Singers. Featuring Della Reese, they were the first Detroit gospel group to perform with instrumental backing. The group recorded on the Specialty label in the mid 1950s, appeared on the LP Della Reese Presents The Meditation Singers in 1958, and in the early 1960s recorded for Checker Records.
As Laura Lee Rundless, she replaced Reese in The Meditation Singers in 1956, and over the next few years toured widely around the country. In 1965, as Laura Lee, she launched her secular solo career as an R&B singer in clubs in Detroit, although she also continued to record occasionally with The Meditation Singers. She first recorded solo for Ric-Tic Records in 1966, with “To Win Your Heart”.
The following year, she signed with Chess Records and, after initially recording in-house with the label’s producers in Chicago, it was decided to send her to Rick Hall’s FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to record “Dirty Man”.

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