Lena Horne “Sand and the Sea” (United Artists 911, 1966)
It wouldn’t be smart of me to ignore that it’s also Lena Horne’s Birthday as well. The Goddess of Screen, Stage and Song was born 98 years ago in Bed-Stuy, and from there became a pacesetter in the world of entertainment, going places few women of color were allowed in 1930’s Hollywood.
Not only an entertainer, she was a fierce Social Justice advocate that used her celebrity and wealth to advance the causes of Black People in the United States and beyond. Among her many accomplishments was working with Eleanor Roosevelt on Anti-Lynching legislation.
All that to say, in all of her work, she did leave behind an epic large catalog of recorded song in her wake. The Mid 1960’s found her in that ever so delightful pickle of what to do when your style might be a little too passe for younger audiences. Like Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, she had no problem getting on the good foot and showing the newest Sepia Starlets like The Supremes and Dionne Warwick that she had a few tricks up her sleeve yet.
She went on to record a wealth of more R&B/Soul orientated music during the Fall of 1965 into 1966. One of the finest efforts was this pleasantly surging beat ballad that is now the darling of the Northern Soul Circuit.
In a double Crab legends day, we honor Lena Horne.