A talented soul and blues singer who had the distinction of recording for both Stax and Motown, Mable John (b. 1930) never gained quite the fame that her talent deserved.
The oldest of nine children including singer Little Willie John, Mable John grew up in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Detroit. Due to her strong voice, she caught the attention of producer Berry Gordy and became the first female singer signed to his new Motown label. She recorded for Gordy on a few occasions during 1959-1961 without having any hits. In 1962 Mable John became one of Ray Charles’s Raelettes, singing in the background behind the Genius of Soul.
During 1966-1968, she recorded for Stax, having a few minor hits notably "Your Good Thing Is About to End.” Stay out of the Kitchen is a fine overview of Mable John’s Stax period including such numbers as "Bigger and Better,” "Able Mable,” and "Running Out.” Her powerful singing and heartfelt interpretations still communicate well nearly four decades later, combining together blues, gospel, and rock to form her own brand of soul music.
After her Stax period ended, Mable John had a second stint with the Raelettes, becoming its leader between 1968 and 1977. She also wrote over 50 songs with Ray Charles through the years. She eventually retired from singing secular music and became involved in Christianity, performing religious music. Mable John still sings in public on rare occasions.