Linda Martell was the first African-American woman to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, an event that didn’t occur until 1969 (shamefully, but unsurprisingly), and her 1970 album, Color Me Country, is a fantastic and necessary addition to any classic country record collection.
It’s the only full-length album Linda released, as her music career only lasted for a couple of years before she made the switch to a profession that allowed her to spend more time with her young children and take better care of herself–a move a lot of woman musicians have made, especially in the 60s and early 70s.
Linda grew up singing gospel in her father’s church, and her first single, released in 1962, was a solid R&B record. She made the switch to country when she signed a deal with Plantation records, which released Color Me Country. The album is great, it’s reliable, in the vein of most woman-fronted 70s era country records, but the historical significance gives it extra importance, even 47 years later, when you still don’t hear much about Black women in country music, today or in the past.