Remembering Nashville’s Queen of the Blues, Marion James (1934-2015). Marion’s career highlights the importance of Black music in Nashville. Bursting on the scene in the 1960’s with the hit single “That’s My Man,” her touring band at the time included Jimi Hendrix and Billy Cox.
Her career spanned over 50 years and recordings as recent as her 2003 album, “Essence.” Along with her musical artistry she devoted her time and energy to helping her fellow musicians and her community. She founded the Marion James Musicians Aid Society to help retired musicians and hosted an annual benefit concert for over 30 years. She led a campaign to erect two statues, of Jimi Hendrix and Little Richard, on Jefferson Street. Her career was highlighted in the “Night Train to Nashville exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
This clip from her 2008 Jazz Cave performance is an example of the close ties between Blues and Jazz, as Marion and her band are joined by longtime friends and collaborators Beegie Adair and Roger Spencer.