Little Ann is an artist that initially began her first musical moments in Chicago, the birthplace of some of sounds greatest pioneers under the name Ann Bridgeforth. After some time spent in the house that Vee-Jay Records built, she relocated to Detroit, where Motown was rampaging at the time and was able to sprout her first hidden emerald of power. Detroit’s Secret Soul may be a record released in 2019, but it features a collection of tracks from Little Ann stretching over her most infamous piece “Deep Shadows” to the unreleased cuts of first takes and alternative versions.
So where the internet has been able to essentially dismantle some artist’s careers, in cases like Little Ann’s, her career was resurrected after her death in 2003 and while she was never able to see the stardom or recognition that she deserved for her powerhouse vocal performances, hindsight becomes 20-20 and clearer with each listen.
Opening with the rambunctious “What Should I Do” where Little Ann is simply a sparkling gemstone from foremost seconds, she takes a step in front of graceful but commanding horns with a rhythm section built on tight-knit personality. She blends into the crowd of twists and shouts but begins to make deep incisions on the following track, “I Got To Have You.” The rock blend fusion that is paired with dusty production is a lo-fi recording of a soulful dreamscape where Little Ann is in control. Stomping along like a master to her own sound, Detroit’s Secret Soul is the swinging open of the obsidian curtains where Little Ann has all eyes on her.
While Little Ann may have never seen the hold that her music has over just one listener nearly 60 years later after the initial first recording, hopefully, people eventually catch on and can see why she deserves a spot at the table. Breaking the glass is never easy, but Little Ann creates a velvet throne to sit upon as the pages of history continue on in why Detroit is one of America’s most important cities for sound.