With a name like Queenie, you could say the odds were stacked in her favour from an early age. Singing was in the blood and calling from the age of five when she began to be “crowned” regularly in recognition of her precocious vocal talent as the winner of numerous local talents contests and shows. With an undeniable stage presence that belied her tender years she gravitated to song and dance routines and popular comedy sketches.
Time passed and the musical influence poured in. Compared with Grace Slick and Jo Ann Kelly for her belting gravel voiced blues and with Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez for her soaring high notes, she quickly became a leading player on the folk and blues circuit, fronting early bands such as “Fruitcake”, “Mallyshag” and “Herb Robert’s legendary “Elbow Grease”. Her own compositions won her national acclaim with songs like The Hero, Driver, Desert Adored, and Winter Moon whilst Folk roots gave way to electric folk rock and new bands like “Plankton” and “Witchazel” emerged with a mixture of traditional and contemporary arrangements that explored new territory.
Slipping between genres and never content to rest with one, she went on to mix crystal sharp pitch with her unique muddy delivery rocking the college circuits with the soft rock melodies of “Night Moves”, followed by the metal mayhem of “The Diamond Devils.” Punk met blues in the shape of “The Red Hot Brickies” and then a spell with heavy duty rockers, “Racket” A change in direction towards more reflective ballads followed with low slow gospel refrains and a driving back beat in “Mama Boss” leading to the now famous “Lavender Interlude” with the likes of Big Jim Tucks and Montana Peach.
Along the way were minor dalliances with dance groovers “Dangerous Sports”; the wild rolling funk rhythms of “Blue Vein”; the percussive intricacies of “Teacher’s Pet” and the sophisticated harmonics of festival favourite “Full Circle.” But whether duo (Double Dub), solo (Mi-Mi), guesting (“Palace Boys”, “Dealer”, “The Parrot Collective”) or running the show, (“Diva”) music was at the heart of every decision.
Perhaps best remembered for her stint with the long term big band party sounds of “The Soul Banned” where motown met R & B for a guaranteed good time, she explored the limits of her vocal range. “Reggae Reggae” followed, matching storming roots reggae with popular hits, then a surprise move to Long Tall Sally” to belt out jive classics to an appreciative following of hard core rock n rollers along side all time greats.