Zilla Mayes: All I Want Is You (Tou-Sea, 1968, 7″) (Available on The Lost Sessions)

Even if this song screams “NOLA” thanks to the touch of writer/arranger/co-producer Allen Toussaint, Zilla Mayes/Mays herself was far more of a fixture in Atlanta. As a recording artist, she primarily cut blues tunes; there’s a phenomenal series of photos killer photo of her recording “Come Back to Me” for RCA’s Groove subsidiary in 1955. However, Mayes was best known as a pioneering radio DJ, the first Black woman to grace a booth in Georgia when she first began broadcasting as “The Mystery Lady” in 1954 for WAOK in Atlanta.

I couldn’t find any info on how/why she ended up recording this single on Toussaint’s Tou-Sea subsidiary in the late 1960s. By this point, she wasn’t recording much at all; she only has three credited releases in the entire decade (this being the last and musically, it’s quite unlike any of her previous sides). Regardless, I think “All I Want Is You” is one of the finest female funk/soul recordings to come out of NOLA – which is saying a lot – especially with that passion that Mays brings to the track (and that rolling piano does amazing work too).