Sunday, 08 December 2013
ELDER MUSIC: Interesting Singers
This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Here are some interesting singers. There's no linking theme, I just thought you might like to hear them. I certainly enjoyed selecting them (and many others who didn't make the cut but will certainly be present in future epistles).
These singers are a mixture of well known performers and others that may be new to some of you. I like to mix them up like that. Without further ado I'll get to the music.
To my ears it sounds as if MARK WINKLER and CHERYL BENTYNE listened very carefully to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. No bad thing in my estimation.
Their song is really two songs strung together, the second paying homage to the first. The first being the classic Paul Desmond composition Take Five and the second is Drinks on the Patio. That's Rich Eames on piano and Bob Sheppard on sax.
TIMI YURO had an amazing voice that she used to spectacular effect in the song Hurt. You won't hear that one today, but it will be featured in 1961, so be patient.
Timi was one of the first singers to perform in a style that's now referred to as Blue-Eyed Soul. Alas, in the eighties she was diagnosed with throat cancer from which she eventually died. Here she performs She Really Loves You.
CÉCILE SALVANT was born and bred in Miami.
She was the product, if that's not too crude a way of putting it, of a French mother and an Haitian father. She was classically trained on both piano and voice and studied in France where, besides extending her musical repertoire into Baroque and modern classical music, Cécile also earned a law degree.
It was in France that she discovered jazz. There's a lot more that could be mentioned but I only have a bit of space.
Here is her interpretation of the J. Russel Robinson song, St Louis Gal. Old J was active in the early part of the 20th century and collaborated with W.C. Handy, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson amongst others from that time.
HELEN SHAPIRO is another singer with an extraordinary voice, easily the finest of the female pop singers in the early sixties.
It was difficult to believe that she was only 14 when she first burst on to the musical scene. Helen had many hits in the next few years and once toured as headlining act with an unknown, but up and coming, group called The Beatles.
They got on really well and they gave her a song to record. She would have been the first artist to record a Lennon/McCartney song but her record company nixed that saying that the group was a flash in the pan and they knew better what was best for her.
This isn't that song, it's It's so Funny I Could Cry.
TINY TOPSY started performing in the forties when she sang with the Al Smith band in Chicago.
After that band split up, she went solo in the late fifties and early sixties, usually under the name Tiny Topsy and the Five Chances which featured saxophonist Ray Felder and the vocal group The Charms.
There's some doubt about her real name but the best guess is that she was born Otha Lee Hall. She died young, just 34. Whoever she was, today she's singing Miss You So.
I had a little help from Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, in selecting a song from SARAH VAUGHAN.
The A.M. is a big fan of Sarah's and I had the selection culled to two songs. She chose the one we have today, You're Not the Kind.
DORIS TROY was born Doris Higginsen and her rather strict parents disapproved of this music nonsense.
She was later an usherette at the Apollo where she was discovered by James Brown. Doris eventually worked with the great Solomon Burke as well as The Drifters, Dionne Warwick, Cissy Houston and pretty much everyone else in show biz. Her song is Exactly Like You.
Although DOROTHY MOORE has recorded a couple of dozen albums and released quite a few singles, she's best known for just one song.
I could have chosen something else, but that song is so good I'm going with it. Misty Blue.
CATHERINE RUSSELL was obviously destined for a career in music. Her father was Louis Armstrong's long time musical director and her mother gained degrees in music from both Julliard and the Manhattan School of Music.
Besides being a singer Catherine plays keyboards, drums and guitar. An all-round entertainer. She's a terrific singer too as you'll hear in Don't Leave Me.
I had a little help from the A.M. on this next artist as well although I had pretty much chosen the track that the A.M. came up with. The singer is SUSANNAH MCCORKLE.
Those who know Susannah will realize what a great talent she was. They will also know the tragic circumstance of her premature death, which I won’t go into here.
Susannah sings I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle, a song popularized by Bessie Smith and Susannah sings the blues rather than her usual jazz performance.