By Brent James
Nestled inconspicuously on 12th Street in West Oakland in a neighborhood known as Prescott (or the “Lower Bottoms” to the longtime residents of the area) is a quaint little building that you will probably miss if you blink. A structure of brick and hardwood and matted red carpets that haven’t been touched since the 1960s, the building standing at 1658 12th Street is the Continental Club – a once a mighty Jazz and Blues supper joint that helped Oakland and the East Bay Area garner the reputation of being the “Motown of the West.” Along with Slim Jenkins’ Supper Club, Esther’s Orbit Room, and dozens of other nightclubs that sprawled along 7th Street, the stages in these rooms once hosted the likes of Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Etta James, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Ike and Tina Turner, and even Jimi Hendrix. The list goes on and the stories are endless if you’re lucky enough to get some face time with the “old timers” of the area. In this neighborhood, people still say “good morning” and spend many a Summer night on their porches, so that’s pretty easy to do.
For over two decades, Katey Sagal has reigned as one of television's most popular actors. She became an instant fan favorite as Peggy Bundy, the hilarious redheaded bombshell on Married...With Children. In the early 2000s, Sagal was pegged to play the voice of Turanga Leela, the one eyed mutant on Futurama. Today, Katey Sagal rules the television throne as Gemma Teller Morrow, the matriarch of The Sons of Anarchy, a role which earned Sagal a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama.
With all the acting accolades Katey has achieved, it's easy to overlook her first true talent: singing. In 1976, Sagal made her professional recording debut singing with The Group With No Name. The band was signed to Neil Bogart's Casablanca Record label. She went on to sing backup for musical heavy hitters including Bob Dylan, Etta James, Bette Midler, Gene Simmons and Tanya Tucker. She has released three solo albums, most recently this year's Covered (E1Music). The new record finds Sagal covering some of her favorite songs, including Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" and Jackson Browne's "For a Dancer." Sagal's vocal styling is rooted in Soul and Blues with a heavy singer-songwriter influence. She has also been featured on the Sons of Anarchy soundtracks.
Aretha Franklin - "What A Fool Believes"