I have compiled a selection of some of my favourite R & B, jump up, mambo, jive, and blues tracks of all time. They all happen to have been recorded by women and were all released in a glorious ten year period between 1953 and 1963. The majority of these tracks exist in a time before the Beatles, before the Rolling Stones, before rock and roll went mainstream. Each one of them has an electricity that remains, in my mind, unique and truly magical.
You can listen to a YouTube playlist here
Margie Day – TAKE OUT YOUR FALSE TEETH DADDY (1953)
Little Esther – HOUND DOG (1953)
Blanche Thomas – YOU AIN’T SO SUCH A MUCH (1954)
Fay Simmons – BIG JOE MAMBO (1954)
Ruth Brown – MAMA HE TREATS YOUR DAUGHTER MEAN (1955)
Varetta Dillard – I’M GONNA TELL MY DADDY (1956)
Big Maybelle – THAT’S A PRETTY GOOD LOVE (1956)
Nellie Lutcher – HURRY ON DOWN (1957)
Juanita Hall – GIMME A PIGFOOT AND A BOTTLE OF BEER (1958)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe – UP ABOVE MY HEAD (1958)
LaVern Baker – BUMBLE BEE (1960)
Marie Knight – COME ON BABY [HOLD MY HAND] (1962)
The Jaynetts – SALLY GO ROUND THE ROSES (1963)
It is rare that women in music receive the recognition they deserve. A fantastic initiative has been launched in Bristol to correct this – the World is Listening is a community project that aims to celebrate women in music and provide recognition where it is has been neglected. Nuala Honan, Emma Hooper, Becca Lewis and Anna Higgie are some of the people behind the project.