Priscilla Bowman (May 10, 1928 – July 24, 1988) was
an American jazz and rhythm and blues singer, who had a #1 hit single on
the US Billboard R&B chart in 1955 as the lead singer with Jay McShann's
band with the song, "Hands Off".
She was born in Kansas City, and has been called the city's "original
rock 'n' roll mama." She joined the Jay McShann band in the early 1950s.
In 1955 the band signed to Vee-Jay Records, and Bowman recorded two
sessions with them. One of the songs, "Hands Off", became a hit, staying
at number 1 on the R&B chart for three weeks in December 1955. The
single was notable as the last single to hit number one on the R&B
charts without making the Billboard Hot 100.
She recorded three sessions for Vee-Jay, and its subsidiary label
Falcon, as a solo singer between 1957 and 1959, but could not repeat her
success. However, in 1958 she was the first to record the song "A
Rockin' Good Way", with uncredited vocal backing by The Spaniels. The
song was co-written by Brook Benton, and became a major hit when Benton
recorded it himself as a duo with Dinah
Washington in 1960.
Bowman recorded again for Abner Records in 1959, and continued to record
and make personal appearances, some with Jay McShann, through the mid
1970s. A compilation album of her recordings, An Original Rock & Roll
Mama, was released in 1986.
Bowman died in July 1988 from lung cancer, at the age of 60