Also known as ‘The Female Preacher’, Texan born soul singer Lyn Collins’ career was short but sweet. With only a handful of albums and releases, the soul and funk artist didn’t spend much time in the spotlight, however, when she did, it was among the greatest to ever to do it. Signed to James Brown’s own label, People Records, Collins was a personal favourite of the Soul-giant. Her career started from the early age of fourteen when she married a promoter for the James Brown revue band. Collins plucked up the courage to send Brown a demo-tape and he instantly warmed to her ability. After being placed among the roster of the Godfather’s backup singers, Collins had to be patient in working her way to the front. However, there was one thing which made Collins stand out from the rest. Her deep, wailing and powerful vocals sent shivers down the spines of the entire soul community. Her style was further from the stereotype of the traditional soul-female singer and more similar to that of James brown himself. The power in her voice was unrivalled and carried a heavy, gospel inspired tone, hence the nickname ‘The Female Preacher’.
Brown saw Collins as somewhat of a female protégé, and, like many of his protégés, Brown demanded that they expressed empowerment, attitude and of course, diversity. The godfather of soul was wanting to create an entourage of powerful female musicians with Lyn Collins leading the way. Now when it comes to empowering and funky songs, it doesn’t get much better than this week’s track of the week ‘Think’. The song is a forceful and energetic statement about the treatment of women, turned into an explosive and funky classic. The Female Preacher throws her screaming vocals over this infectious groove laced with heavy bass-lines and tight interludes of powerful horns. For me, it doesn’t get much better than this, and, i’m not the only one who thinks this. Believe it or not, ‘Think’ is actually one of the most sampled songs of all times. The song has been sampled in a nearly two thousand separate songs. Just a few of the artists to sample include J Dilla, Kanye West, N.W.A and Lauryn Hill; the list is endless.
Collin’s individuality lead for her to become one of music’s original divas. However, being in James Brown’s revue meant that she would only receive any money in royalties. Henceforth it never came to much surprise that her career was very short lived as she only managed to release a handful of albums. She unfortunately passed away at the young age of fifty six from a rare heart condition. Although gone, this inspiring and feisty vocalists legacy will live on thanks to ‘Think’, one of the greatest funk numbers of all time.
Listen & enjoy here –