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Norma Fraser

b. Norma Fraser, St. Andrew, Jamaica, West Indies. Fraser’s initial recording was a duet with Lord Creator recorded in 1961. The debut release from the session, ‘We Will Be Lovers’/‘Come On Pretty Baby’, topped the Jamaican chart and maintained a significant profile throughout the year. In 1963, the song was released in the UK through Island Records where it proved a hit among the West Indian community. Her success led to sessions at Studio One performing alongside Bob Marley And The Wailers, Ken Boothe, the Skatalites and Delroy Wilson to name a few. A series of solo hits, with Coxsone Dodd producing, ensued including ‘Heartaches’, ‘Respect’, ‘Time’ and ‘Come By Here’. The latter song has the distinction of being released as the a-side to the Wailers’ ‘I Stand Predominate’. She was later employed as the resident vocalist at the prestigious Club 35 in Montego Bay, and also provided vocals for a number of Jamaican bands including the Roland Alphonso Trio, the Sheikhs, and the Cavaliers . Fraser additionally performed on the north coast of Jamaica, including notable appearances at the Playboy Club, the Silver Seas Hotel, the Arawak Hotel and the Sheraton. She was also enrolled to support a number of visiting soul performers including the legendary Sam Cooke and Chuck Jackson. Following a number of low key releases she released a cover version of P.P. Arnold’s ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’, which was greeted with critical acclaim when released in the UK. The single resulted in Fraser being voted the best Female Newcomer in 1967. She maintained her profile with the release of the accusative ‘Telling Me Lies’, coupled with the Viceroys’ classic ‘Shake Up’. The song failed to emulate its predecessor which led to a temporary state of anonymity. Fraser later enjoyed a modicum of success with ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. She migrated to the USA in 1970 and soon found work as a featured performer at a benefit gig that demonstrated solidarity with the US congresswoman Bella Abzug. While based there she maintained a low profile, although she performed as lead vocalist for a number of obscure bands. In the early 90s her reputation blossomed when she toured Colorado and Texas, performing as the opening act in support of Yellowman and Inner Circle on their respective US tours.
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