Miss Lavelle White

Lavelle White was born in Amite City, Louisiana, the daughter of sharecropper parents. She started to write poetry at the age of 12, which led her to songwriting and singing gospel songs.

 

White relocated to Houston, Texas a the age of 15, and started performing in blues clubs with guitarist Clarence Hollimon. Her break came when Johnny Copeland recommended her to Don Robey, the owner of the Duke and Peacock record labels. As "Miss La-Vell", she recorded fourteen tracks between 1958 and 1964, released as a singles on Duke records. These included "If I Could Be With You", "Just Look At You Fool", "Stop These Teardrops", and "The Tide Of Love". Several of her songs were self-penned, a process of writing that has lasted most of her lifetime. White also co-wrote Bobby Bland's "Lead Me On", which was a hit in 1960 – though her contribution was credited to Deadric Malone, a pseudonym used by Robey. She appeared in local revues into the late 1960's.

 

When her recording contract expired, she toured across the United States. In the 1960's White shared musical stages with musicians Bobby Bland, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Junior Parker, Aretha Franklin, and Jerry Butler. In 1978, White moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she appeared at various clubs, working with Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks and Buddy Guy, before returning to Houston eight years later, where she was voted Houston's Blues Artist of the Year. She relocated once again to Austin, Texas, where she became a regular performer with a residency at Antone's. She appeared at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1995, and has also performed at the Houston International Festival.

 

Her debut album was not released until 1994, when "Miss Lavelle" was issued on the Antone's label - it was her first recording for almost 30 years. Her second album was "It Haven't Been Easy" (1997). Both albums featured guitar work from her former performing colleague Clarence Hollimon. Her third album, "Into The Mystic", was released in 2003.

 

Miss Lavelle as been nominated several times for a Blues Music Award, and in 2006 was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. The same yaer her ensemble was voted the Best Blues Band in the Austin Chronicle Music Awards.

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