The Soulettes formed in Jamaica during the early 60s and comprised Rita Marley (b. Alpharita Anderson, Cuba), her cousin Constantine Walker (b. 19 October 1951, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies), and Marlene Gifford. In 1965, the trio performed as backing vocalists at Studio One and were coached there by a young Bob Marley. Some of the group’s earliest work was in a supporting role for Lee Perry on a series of lewd songs such as, ‘Rub & Squeeze’, ‘Doctor Dick’, ‘Roast Duck’ and ‘Open Up’. The group also provided backing for the Wailers commencing with their early classic, ‘Simmer Down’. The Soulettes were moderately successful in their own right, enjoying a series of minor hits in Jamaica including ‘Opportunity Knocks’, ‘One More Chance’, ‘Friends And Lovers’ and ‘A Time To Cry’. A year after joining Studio One Anderson and Marley were married. The day after the wedding the groom left to join his mother in America. In 1966, the Soulettes disbanded as Walker had joined the Wailers during Marley’s sabbatical. Rita Marley continued to work at Studio One as a soloist where she recorded ‘Pied Piper’ (that later inspired Bob And Marcia to record their version, which gave them a second UK pop chart hit). In 1969, Anderson re-formed the Soulettes with Hortense Lewis alongside Cornell Campbell’s sister Cecile, and ironically recorded with Lee Perry and the Upsetters. The new line-up recorded a cover version of the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’, ‘Leave Me In Misery’, and ‘Whisper To Me’. The Soulettes continued to work alongside the Wailers and jointly set up the short-lived Wail’n’Soul label to promote their work. Following the group’s demise Anderson/Marley joined Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt in the I-Threes.
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