3AM Eternal: Thornetta Davis “Try To Remember” (1996)

Thornetta Davis is a Detroit-based blues and gospel singer who dabbled in rock and roll. She became known to the label with her work with Sub Pop band Big Chief, where she appeared as a guest vocalist, with the two releasing a funky, exciting collaborative EP in 1994 entitled Shout Out.

Her debut proper would come two years later, in the guise of Sunday Morning Music. It’s a wonderful collection of rock-tinged R&B and gospel numbers. Such powerful soul music had no precedent for the label, and it’s a shame, too. At times rock-hard and humidly dark, Sunday Morning Music fits nicely alongside the dark sounds of Mark Lanegan. A number of highlights to be found here, such as opening track “Cry,” (which was featured in The Sopranos), “The Deal,” and “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” but for my money the best track is her powerful gospel number “Try To Remember.”

In spite of her brief Sub Pop foray, Ms. Davis would move on and become a renowned local talent in her own right, as well as a well-regarded backup singer, most notably working with Kid Rock. You might not look to Sub Pop for soul music, but this brief foray resulted in a superior–albeit obscure and under-appreciated–album.

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