Priscilla Bowman (1928-1988)
Kansas City’s “original rock ‘n’ roll mama,” vocalist Priscilla Bowman was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1928. As a teen she regularly performed in area nightclubs with local pianist Roy Searcy and with the band of Kansas City jazz pianist Jay McShann.
In 1955, Bowman cut her first song with McShann, the #1 R&B hit “Hands Off”. Bowman continued to record rhythm and blues through the end of the 1950s, achieving artistic and critical triumphs in the face of waning commercial success.
The first full-length album collecting many of her 1950s recordings, “Original Rock And Roll Mama,” was released in 1986. She revived her career in the 70s, performing at clubs and festivals, but retired in 1987 due to cancer, which claimed her the following year.