Ingenue, You Too? 33 Femme Fatale Fineries From The Late 50’s

95198f097c7b299a2036a863443d38f9-jet-magazine-black-magazineOne of my favorite styles of mixes to create is to jump around throughout sub-genres and eras of female singers. Probably the majority balance of the things I’ve uploaded to Mixcloud are in this bag. Since 2015, I’ve jumped from the swinging soul of 1965, through the Mid 1970’s and then back as far as 1961.

Now, I’m going to press a little deeper into the past, into the late 1950’s. In the post-explosion of Rock & Roll, a number of characters in the pre-Girl Group world jostled for attention alongside male artists on the airwaves. Some stalwarts, like 30 somethings Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Eartha Kitt tried on Bobby Socks and Poodle Skirts to tap into teen markets before embracing mature sounds and big commercial hits at the end of the decade.

Singers a half generation older like Carmen McRae and Ella Fitzgerald went for full fledged adult pop, while singers a half generation younger like Della Reese and Ethel Ennis straddled the lines between upcoming birth of R&B and Soul as we knew it in the 1960s in the hands of Mary Wells and Dionne Warwick. Even younger than that, there were the slew of women cutting straightforward blues that would evolve into Soul, and become beacons in the Top 40 in the next decade in the form of teens Etta James, Baby Washington and Betty Everett.


What I strive to do here is show the inherent variety of singers that have influenced the women that land on the Mixclouds of femme soul I’ve posted here. Although many of our best remembered groups and soul singers of the 60’s and 70’s remember The Chantels or The Bobbettes as huge influences, they also remember a number of women that took to the stage as soloists.

Here, I focus on the soloists in the spotlight, in a time and era at the genesis of the civil rights era and the burgeoning market of television, some of these women braved the rigors and indignities of both being Black and Female artists in a world none too ready to openheartedly receive their talents.

From 60 years on, we hear these women bridge the past of Jazz, Blues and Gospel and give birth to the soul music that we have come to love. From this unheralded generation, I hope this opens the door into a forgotten era of music.

1) Della Reese – Sermonette
2) Irma Thomas – (You Can Have My Husband) But Don’t Mess With My Man
3) Wynona Carr – Touch And Go
4) Pearl Woods – I Can’t Wait
5) Little Esther Phillips – So Good
6) Gloria Lynne – June Night
7) Carmen McRae – So Nice To Be Wrong
8) Ethel Ennis – A Little Square But Nice
9) Diahann Carroll – You’re An Old Smoothie
10) Rebecca Lea – The Devil Hates You
11) Ruth Brown – Just Too Much
12) Faye Adams – I Have A Twinkle In My Eyes
13) Sarah Vaughan – Spin The Bottle
14) Ella Fitzgerald – You Go To My Head
15) Ernestine Anderson – Autumn In New York
16) Dakota Staton – Somedays It’s Monday
17) Donna Hightower – C’est La Vie
18) Barbara McNair – Too Late The Spring
14308919) Damita Jo – (The Club For) Disillusioned Lovers
20) Dinah Washington – I’m Gonna Keep My Eyes On You
21) LaVern Baker – Substitute
22) Carol Fran – Knock, Knock
23) Marie Knight – Am I Reaching For The Moon?
24) Christine Kittrell – I’m Just What You’re Looking For
25) Mary Ann Fisher – Put On My Shoes
26) Etta James – Nobody Loves You Like Me
27) Linda Hopkins – Mama Needs Your Lovin’
28) Lorez Alexandria – The Sky Is Crying
29) Baby Washington – Congratulations Honey
30) Gloria Irving – I Need A Man
31) Betty Everett – Killer Diller
32) Little Sylvia – Little Boy
33) Eartha Kitt – If I Can’t Take It With Me (When I Go)



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