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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Dinah Washington born 29 August 1924

Dinah Washington (August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963) was a blues, R&B and jazz singer. Because of her strong voice and emotional singing, she is known as the Queen of the Blues.Despite dying at the early age of 39, Washington became one of the most influential vocalists of the twentieth century.

Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her family moved to Chicago while she was still a child. As a child in

Chicago she played piano and directed her church choir. She later studied in Walter Dyett's renowned music program at DuSable High School. There was a period when she both performed in clubs as Dinah Washington while singing and playing piano in Sallie Martin's gospel choir as Ruth Jones.

Her penetrating voice, excellent timing, and crystal-clear enunciation added her own distinctive style to every piece she undertook. While making extraordinary recordings in jazz, blues, R&B and light pop contexts, Washington refused to record gospel music despite her obvious talent in singing it. She believed it wrong to mix the secular and spiritual, and after she had entered the
non-religious professional music world she refused to include gospel in her repertoire. Washington began performing in 1942 and soon joined Lionel Hampton's band. There is some dispute about the origin of her name. Some sources say the manager of the Garrick Stage Bar gave her the name Dinah Washington, while others say Hampton selected it.

In 1943 she began recording for Keynote Records and released "Evil Gal Blues", her first hit. By 1955 she had released numerous hit songs on the R&B charts, including "Baby, Get Lost", "Trouble in Mind", "You Don't Know What Love Is" (arranged by Quincy Jones), and a cover of "Cold, Cold Heart" by Hank Williams. In March of 1957 she married tenor saxophonist Eddie Chamblee, (formerly on tour with Lionel Hampton) who led the band behind her. In 1958 she made a well-received appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival.


With "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes" 1959, Washington won a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance. The song was her biggest hit, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The commercially driven album of the same name, with its heavy reliance on strings and wordless choruses, was slammed by jazz

and blues critics as being far too commercial and not in keeping with her blues roots. Despite this, the album was a huge success and Washington continued to favor more commercial, pop-oriented songs rather than traditional blues and jazz songs. Along with a string of other hits, she followed this with "September In The Rain", which reached number 35 in the UK in November 1961 and #23 in the US. In 1960, she also had two top 10 hit duets with Brook Benton: "Baby (You've Got What t Takes)" and "A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall In Love)". She also dealt in torch songs; her rendition of the popular standard "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" was well regarded.

Her vocal style has influenced many of her successors, and can still
move modern listeners. She was married seven times, and divorced six times while having several lovers, including Quincy Jones, her young arranger. She was refined, highly intelligent, deeply spiritual, and infinitely tasteful in her style. She was a liberated woman before such a term existed. Legend has it that she wore mink in all weathers and carried two .45 pistols with her. Although she had a reputation as imperious and demanding, many found her loving, funny, generous and forgiving.

Washington, who was just 5'2" tall and had fought a weight problem all her life, was dieting to lose weight before a New Year's Eve party she was giving with her friend Bea Buck. Early on the morning of December 14, 1963, Washington's seventh husband Lane went to sleep with his wife, and awoke later to find her
slumped over and not responsive. Doctor B. C. Ross came to the scene to pronounce her dead. An autopsy later showed a lethal combination of secobarbital and amobarbital, which contributed to her death at the age of 39. She is buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

The verve and originality she brought to her music, and that glamorous distinctive voice, is named by countless singers (and music lovers) as the ultimate voice. And Washington’s music remains as relevant, thrilling and fabulous as ever. Tuscaloosa is honoring Dinah Washington August 29th 2013 with the grand opening of the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center.  (info mainly Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Dinah Washington – The Very Best of Dinah Washington (FLAC) go here:

CD – 01

01. Call Me Irresponsible
02. Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)
03. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)
04. These Foolish Things
05. Destination Moon
06. Why Was I Born?
07. I’m Glad For Your Sake
08. You’re A Sweetheart
09. That’s My Desire
10. I Used To Love You
11. I’ll Be Around
12. Soulville
13. That Sunday (That Summer)
14. I Ran Out Of Reasons
15. Just One More Chance
16. To Forget About You
17. Romance In The Dark
18. No Hard Feelings
19. He’s My Guy
20. The Key To The Highway
21. How Long How Long Blues
22. The Blues Ain’t Nothing (But A Woman Crying For Her Man)
23. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
24. Say It Aint So

CD – 02

01. The Man That Got Away
02. Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me
03. What Kind Of Fool Am I?
04. Don’t Say Nothing At All
05. If It’s The Last Thing I Do
06. My Devotion
07. Me & The One That I Love
08. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place
09. Me & My Gin
10. Take Your Shoes Off
11. Make Believe Dreams
12. I’ll Never Stop Loving You
13. Something’s Gotta Give
14. The Show Must Go On
15. I Wanna Be Around
16. Don’t Come Running Back To Me
17. Take Me In Your Arms
18. Stars Over My Shoulder
19. A Handful Of Stars
20. Where Are You?
21. Just Friends
22. Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning
23. Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
24. Miss You

CD – 03

01. Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?
02. You’re Nobody ‘Till Somebody Loves You
03. Red Sails In The Sunset
04. Coquette
05. There Must Be A Way
06. Let Me Be The First To Know
07. Drinking Again
08. Bill
09. Drown In My Own Tears
10. A Stranger On Earth
11. I Didnt Know About You
12. I’ll Close My Eyes
13. For All We Know
14. What’s New
15. Funny Thing
16. That Old Feeling
17. He’s Gone Again
18. It’s A Mean Old Man’s World
19. Make Someone Happy
20. Icy Stone
21. If I Never Get To Heaven
22. Love Is The Sweetest Thing
23. The Good Life
24. On The Street Of Regret