The Unsung Hero In Rescue Me

Fontella Bass has passed away. A ‘one-hit wonder,’ her hit was 1965’s Rescue Me.

For me, as a disk jockey in the 60s and 70s, this song was gold. It was uptempo with a hooky instrumental bridge to ‘talk-up.’ Fontella’s voice was strong and soulful.

I never tired of it (and trust me, there were plenty of songs I tired of).

It’s sad Fontella Bass has died, but it’s also an opportunity to point out the hidden power in the song–the bass line. I had to search to find the name and I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was Louis Satterfield, a well traveled Chicago session musician who was a founding member of Earth Wind & Fire.

The bass is penetrating and complementary. It’s the dominant player in the song.

Would Rescue Me have been a hit without Satterfield? I don’t think so. He is the unsung hero in Fontella Bass’s life.

4 thoughts on “The Unsung Hero In Rescue Me”

  1. My law school a capella group, Habeas Chorus, (<— Is there any part of the subject of this sentence that could possibly lead to a good predicate?) used to do a bang-up version of this great song. But we were put to shame by the version put together by our medical school counterparts, the Umbilical Chords. We used to listen to the original to recalibrate to try to not be too awful.

  2. This song always puts a smile on my face. She has such a strong voice. Unfortunately she never got the residuals from the song because she was never credoited with writing it but she indeed co-wrote it. It wasn’t until 1990 that she won a lawsuit against American Express for using her version of Recue Me in a commercial without her consent (or royalties). I believe she received $50,000. But by that time in her career, she had gone back to gospel singing. I have always felt very badly for her … she could have been very wealthy because of the longevity of her hit, but that was not the case. Here’s a version with a saxopohone solo that’s great. You can see from the smiles on her face that she loved performing. A class act. RIP Fontella. Job well done.

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