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Lavelle White

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Biography by Richard Skelly

Texas-based vocalist and songwriter “Miss” Lavelle White has a significant discography of singles, most dating back to the 1950s and ’60s, but she only released her first full length album, Miss Lavelle, on the Austin, TX-based Antone’s label in 1994. To say the album has been a long time coming would be the understatement of the year, for White’s talents as a songwriter and singer were well-known in 1950s Houston, where she recorded several singles for the Duke/Peacock labels. In the late ’50s, her labelmates included Bobby “Blue” Bland, B.B. King, and Junior Parker. Miss Lavelle was White’s first recording of any kind, in fact, in 30 years. The fact that it’s a gorgeous album helped White play some large blues festivals across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, but for a number of years when she had no record deal, White continued to entertain club crowds with her singing in Chicago, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.

White’s first big break as a vocalist came about with something she wrote for herself, “If I Could Be with You,” and a procession of other singles followed for the Duke/Peacock label, including “Just Look at You Fool,” “Stop These Teardrops,” and “The Tide of Love.” Unlike many other blues singers, White didn’t get started recording until she was 25, thanks to fellow Houstonian Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, who brought White to Duke/Peacock owner Don Robey’s attention.

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