Entertainer Mable John returns to Northeast Louisiana for a celebration of her birthday and talent! The community of Bastrop hosts a celebration of John's 88th birthday Saturday, November 3 at 2 p.m. at Evans Business Plaza in Bastrop. At 6:30 p.m., the historic Rose Theatre in Bastrop hosts a screening of the Academy and Grammy Award-winning 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom.
Dr. Mable John, “Motown’s first singing lady” is a Bastrop, Louisiana native. The eldest of 10 children, she became the first female signed by Berry Gordy to Motown’s Tamla Records. John later sang backup for Ray Charles and released a few singles of her own. The documentary film 20 Feet from Stardom features John and other performers who served as backup singers to famous artists.
In 1960, John recorded her first single with Tamla Records called “Who Wouldn't Love a Man Like That?” The record had little success. By 1962, her contract had ended with Berry Gordy. John then began her solo career with Stax Records in 1966, releasing the single "Your Good Thing Is About To End.” The single became a hit and reached number six on the R&B charts. After performing as a solo artist for 17 years, she joined Ray Charles and became a performing member and director of the Raelettes. John also toured the south with some of the biggest names of that era: Billie Holliday, Jimmy Reed, Shirley and Lee, B.B. King, Sam Cooke, The Flamingos, and others.
Attendance at Dr. Mable John's 88th Birthday Celebration is free. Individual tickets to the screening of 20 Feet from Stardom cost $15. Sponsorships are available for $200, which includes 4 tickets to the showing. Tickets are available by calling the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber office at 318-325-1961 or online.