Alabama-born blues singer and drummer Big Mama Thornton is mostly remembered today by many as a footnote in the saga of two famous rock performers. Thornton helped with the lyrics and was the first to record the Leiber-Stoller classic "Hound Dog," several years before it was made famous to rock 'n rollers via pre-Army Elvis Presley's cover version. The original version was a No. 1 R&B hit for on the Peacock label, but would be Thornton's only chart success. A decade or so later, Janis Joplin and her Big Brother and the Holding Company bandmates unleashed a brutally decimating cover of Thornton's "Ball and Chain" as a part of their Cheap Thrills LP.
Meanwhile, after her first hit, Thornton toiled in semi-obscurity; in between the eras of Presley's first success and Joplin, she would record her own first long player while in Europe as part of an annual touring revue, the American Folk Blues Festival.