Clockwise: Big Maybelle, Etta James, Lena Horne, and Peggy Lee.
Tonight I bring to you a quartet of ladies who knew how to put a bit of the Blues in their Torch, singing straight from the heart. That can most certainly be said for the amazing Big Maybelle, the outrageously talented singer who made her way in the 1950s, with songs like "Candy". She had hits songs, and a career that seemed like it was on the rise. But a combination of drug and helth problems derailed her career, but not before she recorded some great songs. One of those was "I've Got A Feelin'", and she sings it to perfection. Her vocals were big, bold, growl-filled, soft, and, really, whatever the song needed. This is Big Maybelle singing "I've Got A Feelin'".
While everyone knows Etta James for singing the iconic song "At Last", she had so many other hits during her career. She was another artist who sang songs about her broken heart, and you felt as though she was truly letting you in on something real and private. In 1967, Etta recorded a song written by written by Ellington Jordan and Billy Foster, and the song went on to be a well-known Blues song. I hope you enjoy this clip of Etta James singing "I'd Rather Go Blind" live.
In 1942, Miss Peggy Lee was singing with Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, when she recorded "Why Don't You Do Right?", a song written by Joseph "Kansas Joe" McCoy. While the Orchestra was a big band, they loved to include the influences of Jazz and the Blues. As that was the case, Peggy Lee was the perfect choice for singer, for she naturally had such a soulful voice, and a gift for interpreting a lyric. Their recording of the song was a million-seller, and brought much attention to the band and the singer. This is Miss Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman and his Orchestra performing "Why Don't You Do Right?".
Finally, we have the great lady herself, the amazing Miss Lena Horse singing a song written by Hugh Martin and Timothy Gray for the Broadway musical 'High Spirits'. The musical, based on Noel Coward's play 'Blythe Spirit". The show is a harming look at the problems that crop up with the spirit of a man's late wife hangs around after she is gone. The show opened in 1964, and was a hit. One of the early songs of the show was sung by the dead wife, "You'd Better Love Me". It seemed like Miss Horne loved the song as well, for she decided to sing it for this stop on a television show in 1967. I don't think she every officially recorded the song, but I love that we have this live performance. This is the great Lena Horne singing "You'd Better Love Me".
Have a great weekend!