Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hall of Famer Etta James, before she dropped the weight

glisten - Lucky 13 Pt. 10: Hot Rockin' Mamas

19. Ivie Anderson - 'The Voot Is Here To Stay'

Ivie Anderson is yet another once-wildly popular artis that time has treated unkindly. Ivie spent eleven years as a singer for Duke Ellington's orchestra, before retiring prematurely due to a severe asthma problem.

Ivie's also famous for stealing a scene from the Marx Brothers classic A Day at the Races.

'Voot' is a popular bit of street-talk from the forties that you'll hear in songs of the era. While some believe the word refers to booze, drugs or cash; 'voot' more likely appears to bemalleable as any object of desire ("I'll be fine once I get my voot").

In any case, 'The Voot Is Here' is a pretty sweet little slangified track; Ellington's unparalleled band (featuring a young Charlie Mingus on bass) would be hard pressed to do anything but excel and Ivie's brassy voice gives this hootch some extra kick.

In an extremely unlikely coincidence, the good folks over at Tuwa's Shanty appear to have me out-vooted, 12 to 1. I'm downright embarrassed I didn't notice this post before I put up these songs but you can colour me deeply impressed; Tuwa's new companion Dan has put together an astonishingly comprehensive audio history of the word voot (featuring the indispensible and prime example of the field, Marion Abernathy's 'Voo-it Voo-it!'), replete with damn near obsessive annotation. It's stuff like this that makes the world go 'round, folks; go snap em up now and don't forget to bookmark the Shanty while you're there for future downloading wonder!

tell me more about it...

Not much from Ivie on either eMusic or iTunes but you can buy 'I Got It Good and That Ain't Bad', a collection of many of Ivie's best tracks with Ellington's band, from Amazon.

Read this brief Ivie bio.

Listen to 'Voot's' A-Track, 'I Thought You Ought to Know', in realaudio, courtesy of the always wonderful Vocal Group Harmony website.

Read a vivid remembrance of Ivie by acclaimed jazz critic Nat Hentoff.

20. Etta James - 'Good Rockin' Daddy'

Etta James has over forty five years of recording history under her once-ample belt, but today's Hut entry finds her early in that career, squealing like the seventeen year old she was.

'Good Rockin Daddy' was an early hit for Etta, charting as high as #6 on the 1955 R+B charts. It's a tribute to Ms. James' talent that 'Daddy' still holds up; it's a catchy, toe-tappin' doo-wop rocker powered as much by an excellent band of sidemen as it is by Etta's growling come-ons.

All the daddys get up on your feet and do th' crazy twist!

tell me more about it...

Etta's material both old and new is pretty easy to find. You can buy digital copies on both iTunes and eMusic; as is almost always the case, the selection on iTunes is better but the prices on eMusic can't be beat.

If you're more about owning a physical copy of Ms. James' best, Amazon has two bulls-eyes. For the somewhat curious, there's Etta James At Last!, the reissue of Etta's 1960 excellent, first full length recording, on the Chess label.

For the more ambitious, there's The Essential Etta James the two-disc, thirty dollar greatest hits collection that concerns itself more seriously with Etta's earlier work.

Visit Etta's official site and listen to her new cover album, All the Way.
Worth a once over for the sheer "wha?" factor; Ms. James' take on 'I Believe I Can Fly' is an earful in and of itself.

Explore this text-dense fansite.


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