I've been working with Poze Productions for many years. I owe a lot of it to Kj, Vanessa, Harmony, and the rest of Poze Staff. They have been with me for support from the beginning and I think of them as family.
A longtime staple of Chicago's West Side blues circuit, singer Mary Lane was born November 23, 1935 in Clarendon, Arkansas. After honing her skills in local juke joints in the company of Howlin' Wolf, Robert Nighthawk, Little Junior Parker and James Cotton, Lane relocated to Chicago in 1957; backed by Morris Pejoe, she soon cut her debut single "You Don't Want My Lovin' No More" for the Friendly Five label. A
favorite among peers for her dulcet tones, she nevertheless did not record again for several decades, remaining virtually unknown outside of the Chicago blues faithful; finally, in the early 1990s, Lane recorded a handful of tracks for the Wolf label, leading to 1997's full-length Appointment with the Blues.
"I've been a black woman scuffling out here for a long time," says Lane. "Life has been hard. It ain't been easy.“ Even with a fine new album, "Appointment With the Blues," on the fledgling Noir label, the West Sider sometimes ponders giving it all up to devote her talents to the church.
It's amazing that "Appointment With the Blues" is Lane's debut album. The singer recorded a single back in 1963 for the obscure Friendly Five label (both sides are redone on her new CD), but recording opportunities generally proved elusive. Moreover, the new disc is filled with attractive originals (another rarity these days, especially among local blueswomen). Lane looks deep within herself for songwriting inspiration.
"It's all about things that are happening in your life," she says. "Things that happened to you, and things that you do and things that you don't do. You think about all those things most of the time -- especially if you're a country girl."
The Arkansas-born Lane began singing blues barely into her teens. Soon she was working with slide guitar master Robert Nighthawk.
"I was about 16 or 17 when I did a few shows with him in a place called Marvell, Ark.," she says. "It was fun to me. It was beautiful. I was just out there being wild!"
Lane came north in 1957, settling in north suburban Waukegan. There she met guitarist Morris Pejoe, who had recorded for Chess and Vee-Jay. She moved to Chicago in 1961, playing the West Side, and she and Pejoe had three daughters (including singer Lynne Lane, who shares Saturday's bill at the Zodiac). Their relationship ended, but Lane stuck with her music even when the going got rough. She was a regular attraction at Theresa's Lounge during the early 1980s and briefly fronted Mississippi Heat earlier this year
(Lane's reluctance to fly scuttled the partnership).
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Famous Chicago Blues Singer
Enter in the Chicago Blues hall of fame