In particular this 1969 album of Jimmy Webb songs:
This may be her best effort (please correct me if not). Songs by Jimmy Webb (except Jumpin Jack Flash and Save The Country - if memory serves). Apparently Thelma had creative control. What a joy it is to listen to Webb songs delivered by a voice with power.
Thelma Houston - Everybody Gets To Go To The Moon
Thelma Houston - To Make It Easier On You
Sunshower (Album Title Track)
Just about all my faves are "out of the mainstream", to one degree or another.
Welshman Dave Edmunds recently announced his retirement (he is now 75 years old), and was for many years my favorite Rock ’n’ Roll guitarist, and producer (Rockpile---his band with Nick Lowe, The Everly Brothers, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Carlene Carter, K.D. Lang, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Stray Cats, Jimmie Vaughan, Mason Ruffner, Foghat, many others).
Thank God there is a guitarist/singer/bandleader (for Emmylou Harris)/producer who has taken Edmunds’ place: the great Buddy Miller. Whether solo, with his wife Julie, Emmylou, or other collaborators (Jim Lauderdale, for one), all fantastic music, imo amongst the very best being made today. Listen to Buddy’s recording of Tom T. Hall’s song "That’s How I got To Memphis" to hear real white soul!
Is John Hiatt mainstream? How 'bout Rodney Crowell? Emmylou Harris? Patty Loveless? Marty Stuart? Richard Thompson? I KNOW Iris Dement isn't, and she's at the absolute top of my list, a list very long due to the fact that a LOT of great music is being created right now.
Yes @slaw, Mary definitely qualifies as being out of the mainstream. One of her albums was produced by the aforementioned Buddy Miller (to whom I am at this very moment listening), another by Gurf Morlix, guitarist/harmony singer/bandleader/producer for Lucinda Williams in the 80’s and 90’s. Mary is fantastic, and didn’t start her professional music career until her late-30’s (I believe), having for years been a chef in New Orleans.