Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Ella Mae Morse

Ella Mae Morse (September 12, 1924 – October 16, 1999) was an American singer of popular music whose 1940s and 1950s recordings mixing jazz, blues, and country styles influenced the development of rock and roll. She stopped recording in 1957 but continued to perform and tour into the 1990s. In 1960 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.











Morse was born in Mansfield, Texas. She was hired by Jimmy Dorsey when she was 14 years old. In 1942, at the age of 17, she joined Freddie Slack's band, with whom in the same year she recorded "Cow-Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay)", the first gold record released by Capitol Records. "Mr. Five by Five" was also recorded by Morse with Slack, and became a hit record in 1942 (Capitol 115). She also originated the wartime hit "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet", which was later popularized by Nancy Walker in the 1944 film Broadway Rhythm.






In 1943, Morse began to record solo. She reached #1 in the R&B chart with "Shoo-Shoo Baby" in December for two weeks. In the same year she performed "Cow Cow Boogie" in the film Reveille with Beverly and co-starred in Universal's South of Dixie and The Ghost Catchers with Olsen and Johnson and How Do You Dooo?, a vehicle for radio's "Mad Russian", Bert Gordon. She sang in a wide variety of styles, and she had hits on both the U.S. pop and rhythm and blues charts. However, she never received the popularity of a major star.

The song "Love Me or Leave Me" as recorded by Morse was released by Capitol Records as catalog number 1922, with the flip side "Blacksmith Blues", which became her biggest hit. In 1946, "House of Blue Lights" by Freddie Slack and Morse, (written by Slack and Don Raye) saw them perform what was one of many of Raye's songs picked up by black R&B artists.[8][9] Her biggest solo success was "Blacksmith Blues" in 1952, which sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The same year her version of "Down the Road a Piece" appeared on Capitol with Slack again on piano accompaniment. Morse also recorded a version of "Oakie Boogie" for Capitol which reached #23 in 1952. Her version was one of the first songs arranged by Nelson Riddle.

Morse ceased recording in 1957, but continued performing until the early 1990s, under the new management of Alan Eichler, performing at such clubs as Michael's Pub in New York, Ye Little Club in Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Cinegrill and the Vine St. Bar and Grill. She appeared regularly at Disneyland for several years with the Ray McKinley Orchestra, and did a successful tour of Australia shortly before her final illness. She died of respiratory failure in Bullhead City, Arizona, at the age of 75.

Monday, 26 July 2021

Reparata and the Delrons

Reparata and the Delrons was an American girl group. They are best known for their 1965 recordings "Whenever a Teenager Cries" and "Tommy", for the 1968 European hit "Captain of Your Ship" and for Reparata's 1975 solo hit "Shoes". 












The group started out as a five-piece high school harmony group called the Delrons, formed in 1962 at St. Brendan's Catholic School in Brooklyn, New York by the lead singer Mary Aiese.[1] The other original members included Nanette Licari, Regina Gallagher and Ann Fitzgerald, but they were soon replaced by Sheila Reilly, Carol Drobnicki and Kathy Romeo. Romeo was replaced by Marge McGuire, but McGuire herself then left the group. As a trio, Aiese, O'Reilly and Drobnicki were spotted by record producers Bill and Steve Jerome. They asked Mary Aiese to choose a stage name to make the group name more interesting and marketable. She chose Reparata, her confirmation name, which she had taken from one of her favorite teachers at school.













The Jeromes recorded them in 1964 first for Laurie Records, then on the Pittsburgh-based World Artists label with Ernie Maresca's song "Whenever a Teenager Cries". The song became a regional hit and reached #60 on the Billboard Hot 100, and even reached the Top 5 in Canada (where it was distributed by Arc). The follow-up, "Tommy", co-written by Chip Taylor, reached #92. The album Whenever a Teenager Cries (1965) showcased the singles, and included covers of popular hits by "British invasion" groups including The Beatles' "If I Fell" and Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy". The group opened for The Rolling Stones at the Philadelphia Convention Hall and Civic Center on their Spring 1965 North American tour. The group became more widely known when they were invited to tour nationally with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars on two occasions during 1965. However, Sheila Reilly and Carol Drobnicki left the group just before the second tour began, and Reparata performed solo on the tour, with backing vocals from the wings. The next two singles were credited only to Reparata: "A Summer Thought" and "I Found My Place". 










When Reparata and the Delrons signed with RCA in 1965, new Delrons were needed. Original member Nanette Licari was brought back. "I Can Tell", the first single for RCA needed a third vocalist, and although it has been reported that Lesley Gore sang on the track, it was actually session singer Lesley Miller, while Gore recorded her own version of the song. 18-year-old Lorraine Mazzola was soon recruited to join the group. This line-up became the group's best-known and most prolific, although ironically they never released an album and none of their dozen singles ever made the US national charts. Their 1967 release "It's Waiting There For You" became a minor hit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with airplay on KYSN, 1460-AM. After several unsuccessful releases in a style similar to the Shangri-Las, including Jeff Barry's "I'm Nobody's Baby Now," and "I Can Hear the Rain" which featured the then-unknown Melba Moore, the group moved again to Mala Records. In 1968, they released the up-tempo "Captain of Your Ship", co-written by Kenny Young. Although the song missed the U.S. national charts, it became their biggest ever hit when it made #13 in the UK Singles Chart, and the group toured there. In 1969, the group provided backing vocals for The Rolling Stones' single "Honky Tonk Women", recorded at Olympic Studios in London, and for the Ox-Bow Incident cover of The Four Tops' "Reach Out".



Reparata left the group in 1969 but agreed that Lorraine Mazzola and Nanette Licari would carry on without her doing live shows as The Delrons. The band went on hiatus as a live act in 1973.  While The Delrons played live shows without her, Reparata continued releasing solo singles produced by Steve and Bill Jerome. In February 1972, she signed a three-year contract with Dart Records, a UK-based label. Dart quickly released "Octopus's Garden" (Dart ART 2006), a cover version of The Beatles song. The recording is credited to Reparata and the Delrons, although only Reparata is featured. The B-side is "Your Life is Gone", a dramatic story song similar to The Shangri-La's' "Leader of the Pack". On 18 October 1974, Reparata released a solo single "Shoes", backed with "A Song for All", as a UK-only promo on Surrey International Records as SIT 5013. Reparata's contract with Dart Records ended in February 1975, and "Shoes" was then given a commercial release on her new label Polydor in the summer of that year. While the single was drawing praise for its catchy and unique sound, promotion and distribution were hampered by legal disputes. 











In the late 1970s, several of the group's 1960s singles including "Panic" and "It's Waiting There for You" became favourites on the Northern soul scene in England. "Panic" was re-released in the United Kingdom in 1978 on an EP of Northern Soul classics which also featured tracks by Gerri Granger and James & Bobby Purify. That same year, Reparata asked Nanette Licari and Cooky Sirico to reform the group with her. The group became a part-time project for the trio, and they performed approximately once a month on the oldies circuit, and at club gigs and private functions in the New York City and New England areas for over twenty years. In 1979, the group contributed vocals to Gary Private's EP Private, on the songs "Caught Up In Los Angeles" and "Rumor Has It". In 1981, they released a privately pressed LP called On the Road Again on the Perfection Sound label, and they appeared on Don K. Reed's radio show Doo Wop Shop in 1982 singing a cappella "The Book of Love", "So Young" and "Brooklyn". In June 1985, the group joined James Brown and many other 1950s and 1960s artists to record the Roots of Rock 'n' Roll Against Famine charity single "Our Message to the People (For the Children)". It was released in November 1986 and sales benefited the UNICEF World Hunger campaign. 



In 2000, Reparata decided it was time to disband the group for good, almost 40 years after she formed it as a high school student.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Bush Tetras

Bush Tetras are an American post-punk band from New York City, formed in 1979. They are best known for the 1980 song "Too Many Creeps", which exemplified the band's sound of "jagged rhythms, slicing guitars, and sniping vocals". Although they did not achieve mainstream success, the Bush Tetras were influential and popular in the Manhattan club scene and college radio in the early 1980s. New York's post-punk revival of the 2000s was accompanied by a resurgence of interest in the genre, with the Tetras' influence heard in many of that scene's bands.











The Bush Tetras formed in 1979, and soon solidified with a lineup of Cynthia Sley (vocals), Pat Place (guitar), Laura Kennedy (bass) and Dee Pop (drums); vocalist Adele Bertei and guitarist Jimmy Joe Uliana were brief early members. Place had previously been the original guitarist and a founding member of the no wave band the Contortions, though the Tetras sound was less frantic and disjointed, and she had also appeared in some of Vivienne Dick's movies.







The band's debut 7" EP, "Too Many Creeps", was released in 1980 on 99 Records. It reached No. 57 on the Billboard club play chart. The follow-up, "Things That Go Boom in the Night", was issued in 1981 by Fetish Records, hitting No. 43 on the UK Indie Chart. The Rituals 12" EP, produced by Topper Headon of the Clash and including the popular "Can't Be Funky", was released in 1981 by Fetish in the UK and by Stiff Records in the U.S. It reached No. 32 on the Billboard club chart. Two live tracks (a cover of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" and "Punch Drunk") appeared on the 1981 Stiff Records compilation Start Swimming, documenting a one-night showcase of New York bands (also including the Bongos, the Raybeats and the dBs) at the Rainbow in London on February 20, 1981. Another live release, the cassette-only Wild Things (1983), was issued by ROIR. Kennedy and Pop left in 1983, replaced briefly by bassist Bob Albertson and drummer Don Christensen, but the band soon broke up. ROIR issued a posthumous cassette-only collection, Better Late Than Never (Original Studio Recordings 1980-1983) in 1989.

The original lineup of Bush Tetras reformed in 1995[1] and released the album Beauty Lies in 1997.[1] Two other compilations were also issued, a CD version of Better Late Than Never retitled Boom in the Night (Original Studio Recordings 1980-1983) in 1995, and Tetrafied: Previously Released Recordings in 1996. In 1998, they recorded an album with producer Don Fleming for Mercury Records, titled Happy, but it was shelved when Mercury was sold (the album was finally released in 2012 by ROIR). In 2005, they added bassist Julia Murphy and resumed performing in New York City. They toured Europe in summer 2006. Original bassist Kennedy died on November 14, 2011, after a long battle with liver disease. In 2018, they released an EP, Take the Fall, on Wharf Cat Records.Then, in 2019, they released a 7" single, "There Is a Hum", on Thirdman Records. 

Friday, 16 July 2021

Lori Burton

Lori Burton (born Dolores Diana Squeglia, September 30, 1940 - May 19, 2021) was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. She was born in New Haven, Connecticut and studied music at the University of Hartford.











In the mid-1960s she adopted the stage name Lori Burton (the surname taken from that of popular actor Richard Burton), and recorded a single, "Yeh, Yeh, Yeh (That Boy Of Mine)" for Roulette Records, before teaming up with English-born lyricist Pam Sawyer. They found success writing songs recorded by Lulu ("Try to Understand", UK #25, 1965), Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles ("All or Nothing", US #68, 1965), The Young Rascals ("I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore", US #52, 1966), and The Royal Guardsmen ("Baby Let's Wait", US #35, 1968 on reissue).





Burton and Sawyer also wrote and recorded together as The Whyte Boots, with Burton as lead singer, releasing the teenage tragedy record "Nightmare", in which two girls fight to the death over a boy, in 1966. Their record company, Philips, promoted the act as a trio of female singers, none of whom actually appeared on the recordings. In 1967, Burton co-wrote and co-produced, with Sawyer, her only solo album, Breakout, described by Unterberger as "a mixture of soul and densely produced New York mid-'60s pop/rock". According to the album's original liner notes, Burton's demo recordings were heard by Mercury Records president Irving Green, who encouraged her to release the album under her own name.

Burton and Sawyer then auditioned for Holland, Dozier and Holland, who had them signed to Motown as a songwriting partnership, but after a few months Burton decided to end the arrangement while Sawyer continued to work at Motown. In 1974, she contributed backing vocals to John Lennon's "#9 Dream", on his Walls and Bridges album. Her 1967 album Breakout was reissued on CD by Rev-Ola in 2005.

She died, aged 80, in May 2021.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021


Deborah Ann Dyer OBE (born 3 August 1967), known by the stage name Skin, is a British singer, songwriter, electronic music DJ, and occasional model. She is best known as the lead vocalist of British rock band Skunk Anansie, a band often grouped as part of the Britrock movement in the UK and gained attention for her powerful, wide-ranging soprano voice.











Skunk Anansie are a British rock band whose members include Skin (lead vocals, guitar), Cass (bass, guitar, backing vocals), Ace (guitar, backing vocals) and Mark Richardson (drums and percussion). The band was formed in 1994, disbanded in 2001 and reformed in 2009. The name "Skunk Anansie" is taken from Akan folk tales of Anansi the spider-man of Ghana, with "Skunk" added to "make the name nastier". They have released six studio albums: Paranoid & Sunburnt (1995), Stoosh (1996), Post Orgasmic Chill (1999), Wonderlustre (2010), Black Traffic (2012) and Anarchytecture (2016); one compilation album, Smashes and Trashes (2009); and several hit singles, including "Charity", "Hedonism", "Selling Jesus" and "Weak". They are often grouped as part of a Britrock movement, as opposed to the contemporary Britpop of their early years due to their overall harder sound.







After Skunk Anansie split, Skin released her debut solo album Fleshwounds. The album was toned down from her Skunk Anansie days and did not gain the same acclaim from Skunk Anansie fans. While the album was not a massive success in the UK, two singles were released from it: "Trashed" and "Faithfulness". "Lost", a double A-side with "Getting Away with It". Elsewhere in Europe the album's success was greater. For example, in Italy it peaked at number 6 in the album chart and in Germany at number 18. 

Her second album, Fake Chemical State, which was released in March 2006, preceded by new single "Just Let the Sun" two weeks earlier. The first single actually issued from this album was "Alone in My Room", a download-only track released on 7 November 2005. "Alone in My Room" was also the name given to Skin's first solo tour in two years, which commenced in Berlin in November 2005. In February 2008, she announced that she was working with Timo Maas and Martin Buttrich on a side project called "Format-3". Her 2008 song "Tear Down These Houses" was released as a part of the soundtrack to Parlami d'Amore, directed by Silvio Muccino. She sings in the opening musical piece "Renaissance", in Medici: Masters of Florence, a Netflix original series released in October 2016.

Skin has always had a love of electronic music and she moved into the genre when her friend Damian Lazarus gave her a mixer in 2009. Going under the moniker D-Dyer she made her first steps into the DJ world which she has now been doing for the past decade. She plays Techno, Tech House and Minimal all over the world at classic venues such as Output in New York, Sound Nightclub in LA and Fabric in London. In 2015 Skin collaborated with techno icon Nicole Moudaber and they released the Breed EP on Nicole's Mood Records. It features five tracks including "Don't Talk To Me I'm Dancing".

In January 2021, Skin assumed the role of Chancellor at Leeds Arts University in Leeds, England. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to music.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Shea Diamond

ShaGasyia "Shea" Diamond (born March 17, 1978) is an American singer, songwriter, and transgender rights activist. Her music is chiefly soul and R&B, and includes elements of blues, rock, hip-hop and folk. Her influences include Whitney Houston and Tina Turner.






Diamond was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to a fourteen-year-old mother and was raised by relatives in Memphis, Tennessee before living most of her teenage years and adulthood in Flint, Michigan. She was inspired to become a singer by Tina Turner and worked on her skills while directing her church choir. Diamond was in and out of men's correctional facilities in Michigan between 1999 and 2009. It was in prison that she wrote her song "I Am Her." While incarcerated, Diamond faced discrimination specifically for her identity as a trans woman. She was kept in protective segregation and lost privileges often to keep her away from the male population. Humiliation, isolation, and misgendering were used as punishment.


After watching a video of Diamond performing her song "I Am Her" a cappella at a Trans Lives Matter rally, pop songwriter Justin Tranter was so impressed by her honesty and raw vocal talent that they immediately got in contact with her and they began recording music together. Tranter went on to co-sign her to Asylum Records and executive produce and co-write her debut extended play Seen It All, released on June 29, 2018.

In 2017, Diamond covered "I'd Love to Change the World" by the English rock band Ten Years After for the television miniseries When We Rise. In December 2018 Diamond joined the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Rocks campaign. In February 2019 she was nominated for the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist. In June 2019 she was a headliner for the Washington, DC Capital Pride Concert. On June 7, 2019 Diamond released her single "Don't Shoot". Her song "I Am America", released on April 23 2020, provides the theme song for the HBO series We're Here and was included on Billboard's list of the best LGBTQ songs of 2020. Also in 2020, she released the singles "Stand Up" and "So Lucky".

Friday, 9 July 2021

Texas Terri

Texas Terri (born April 6, 1955) is an American punk rock singer, songwriter and actress, originally from Austin, Texas, United States. 










In Hollywood, California, in 1984 she formed trash rock band, The Killer Crows. After their break-up and a three-year break she formed Texas Terri & The Stiff Ones with Don "Demon Boy" Cilurso who became her song writing partner. They released one album in 1998 Eat Shit on the Burning Tree label. Eat Shit has subsequently been re-released twice as Eat Shit +1 and more recently Eat Shit +4, the + number signifying the number of bonus tracks on each re-release. The band achieved a sizable cult status in America and Europe over the course of their six years together. In 1999 they were named most Psychotic Band and Best Hollywood Band by Rock City News and Texas Terri was dubbed Best Female Singer by Flipside Magazine.










When Cilurso left the band, Texas Terri chose to change the name to 'Texas Terri Bomb!'. Under this name she has released the Your Lips...My Ass! album which was produced by remounted rock producer Jack Douglas, and featured a guest appearance by Wayne Kramer of the MC5.









She has said to be influenced by Iggy Pop, Lux Interior and Wendy O. Williams. She moved to Berlin, Germany in 2007.