by Dave Segal
on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 9:04 AM
We’re late with this for various valid and invalid reasons, but we hasten to note that Marva Whitney, the powerfully emotive singer who collaborated and toured with James Brown, died Dec. 22 from complications of pneumonia. She was 68.
Nicknamed “Soul Sister #1,” Whitney scored her biggest hits with 1968’s “Unwind Yourself” and 1969’s “It’s My Thing” (a female retort to the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing”), both of which have been frequently sampled by hiphop and electronic-music producers, the former most famously by The 45 King on his “The 900 Number.” At her best, Whitney sounded like a rawer Aretha Franklin, her voice a searing force of nature; it had to be to share a mic with JB. RIP, Marva Whitney.