Martin, Janis

A young white woman with light curly hair posed with an acoustic guitar. She is wearing a western-style fringed shirt.

Janis Martin was born in 1940 in southern Virginia. She had a precocious start in music: by the time she was a preteen, she could be heard on WDVA’s Barndance in Danville, Virginia, and on Old Dominion Barndance out of Richmond. Although she found her earliest performing opportunities in country music, she harbored a love for R&B. “Ruth Brown,” she told the Washginton Post in 1990 “was my favorite. … I don’t know what it was—the rhythm, the feeling—it was just my kind of music.”

Moore, Sparkle

A young blonde woman with a guitar. Here eyes are closed and she appears to be singing loudly,

Sparkle Moore was born Barbara Morgan in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1936. She grew up loving music and had diverse influences. She developed a particular affinity for the sound of the Hawaiian steel guitar and learned to play the instrument herself, but she also listened to country, gospel, vaudeville. She discovered rock and roll unexpectedly when she saw Bill Haley perform at a country music show in the mid 1950s. She began playing rockabilly at venues around Omaha by 1955.

Morris, Betty Jean

Betty Jean Morris was an R&B singer with one known release on Capitol Records, “Shack Daddy” backed with “I Ain’t Gonna Mambo.” She was reportedly discovered by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller while singing in a Los Angles cafe, and the songwriting team wrote the two songs for her. “Shack Daddy” was a 12-bar blues, and “I Ain’t Gonna Mambo” was an effort to capitalize on a current fad for mambos. Billboard remarked that “the gal has a real wild style.”

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