Plenty of soul singers (Aretha, Otis, Whitney) had parents who were church ministers and plenty more began singing in church when they were young. A handful (Al Green, Eddie Holman) even went on to become ministers themselves. Only one earned the title “The Female Preacher” – Lyn Collins.
The title was bestowed on Lyn – a relative of Bootsy and Catfish Collins – when she went solo after two years singing with James Brown and had this self-penned hit.
Its instantly identifiable funk groove has the fingerprints of her employer all over it – Brown produced it himself and that’s also him grunting in the background.
A Texas gal, Lavern Collins had made her recording debut at the age of 14 singing lead vocals on the fantastic Unlucky In Love by Charles Pikes & The Scholars.
Doors opened wider when she married a man who was not only her manager but also the local promoter for the James Brown Revue, so Collins sent the Godfather of Soul a demo tape.
That session, early 1971, produced the single Wheels of Life. And when Anderson left again at the end of the year, Collins officially joined the James Brown Revue.
She continued to record singles for Brown through 1973 in between live dates in his Revue, and her second album, Check It Out if You Don’t Know Me by Now, came out in 1975, producing another funk classic, Rock Me Again & Again & Again & Again.
Collins eventually became a backup session vocalist, appearing on the TV series Fame, before attempting a comeback as a dance-club diva in the Eighties.
She recorded the house single Shout for a Belgian label, and a self-penned track called Break Your Heart (with Stefano Secchi) for an Italian one. She continued performing up to her death in 2005 at the age of only 56.