One-third of the pop/soul act Labelle (their big hit was "Lady Marmalade"), Nona Hendryx, by far and away, made the hippest solo records of any member of that group (the others being Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash). After Labelle called it quits in 1976, Hendryx released her self-titled debut record, which was an amazingly strong amalgam of soul and hard rock. It also went almost completely ignored by critics, soul fans, and even Labelle fans, and Hendryx took her strong, clear, booming voice and did lots of session work in the late '70s and early '80s. It was here that she fell in with a hip crowd of musicians, specifically as a result of her time singing backup for Talking Heads. This association with David Byrne led to her working with Bill Laswell, who, along with his band Material, helped Hendryx put together a second solo record entitled Nona. A strong album that's not as wild-eyed as her debut, Nona did spark greater interest in Hendryx's considerable talents, and after that, her solo career flourished to the point where she no longer needed studio work to supplement her income. Although some of her late-'80s records sound a little formulaic, Nona Hendryx is a dynamic, daring, and extremely talented performer, who, as is often the case, didn't receive the credit she's due. But unlike Patti Labelle, who has chosen a career as the most histrionic singer in MOR soul/pop, or the relative invisibility of Sarah Dash, who sang backup for Keith Richards' X-Pensive Winos, Hendryx has taken the road less traveled, and that has meant a more aesthetically rewarding and interesting career. ~ John DouganPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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