"Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters," recorded in 1994, marked the recording debut of the late, great Portland, Oregon vocalist Linda Hornbuckle. Which is remarkable given that this incredible singer was already in her thirties at that time. When legendary drummer Bernard Purdie (Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, Miles Davis, etc.) walked into a Portland nightclub that same year and heard Linda for the first time, he was stunned. "The way her fingers move on the microphone and her eyes go back in her head--she goes somewhere else. I hadn't seen anything like it since my days working with Aretha." Not that Linda sounds like Aretha Franklin; Linda's style was very much her own. But she has a similar impact on listeners.
In part, this may be due to the two singers' shared roots: both were the featured soloists in their minister fathers' churches from early childhood. In Linda's case, she began singing in her father's Grace & Truth Pentecostal Church in Portland at age 6. But by her late teens, she was sneaking out of the house to sing in nightclubs. And by her 20s, Linda was Portland's most sought-after back-up singer, recording and touring the U.S., Canada, and Europe with national acts including Quarterflash and Nu Shooz. She later fronted a popular Motown revue, "Body & Soul," and in '92 became lead vocalist with the No Delay Band, with whom she recorded "Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters."
Reviewers of this CD had the same reaction as Bernard Purdie did upon hearing Linda for the first time. Blues Revue called her, "A phenomenal vocalist who could hold her own against Aretha Franklin or Natalie Cole." And Living Blues wrote, "Hornbuckle is a big-voiced singer who cuts loose in the finest gospel tradition and brings a dynamic sense of drama to her material...Hornbuckle is not well-known outside the Portland area, but she should be."
After the release of this CD, some wider recognition indeed came Linda's way. She formed her own successful band, became known as "The Northwest's Legendary Soul Diva," and released several more CDs. However, Linda always would say that "Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters" was her favorite. Sadly, Linda passed away in 2015--shortly after her friend, the Grammy-nominated pianist Janice Scroggins. But the two left behind some remarkable music, including the thrilling rendition of "Amazing Grace" that closes "Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters."