Freda Payne’s Family is Her ‘Band of Gold’

By Paul Cobb

Front: Isabel Cagnolaeti; Second row: (l to r) Monica Cagnolaeti, Tanya Cagnolaeti, Alex Cagnolaeti, Freda Payne; Back row: Marlin Thrower, Henry Williams, Anne Williams, Paul Simon. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Singer Freda Payne is related to Oaklander Ann Williams. They age first cousins. During Payne’s recent performance at Yoshi’s San Francisco, she with her Oakland extended family for dinner, fun and reminiscing.  Ann’s mother Ozeree Farley Williams and Freda’s father Samuel Farley are sister and brother who hail from Winnfield, Louisiana. Ann’s family moved to California and Freda’s family moved to Detroit.
Ann said her favorite song “Bring the boys home and bring them back alive. My brother and my nephew extemporaneously provided background for the song at Yoshi’s. They were so good that the audience thought they were the regular accompaniment.
And Mr. Jose, the legendary hairdresser who had a shop on Alcatraz Avenue in Berkeley is also, a long time of friend of Freda. Mr. Jose was there rooting on the front row. Freda packed the house. She will be returning to Yoshi’s with her interpretations of Jazz legends Sarah Vaughn, Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald. And she can scat like Louisiana homeboy Satchmo, too’, said Ann Williams.

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