Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Ann Cole born 29 January 1934
Ann Cole (born Cynthia Coleman, 29 January 1934, Newark, New Jersey - November 1986, Newark, New Jersey) was an &B/former gospel singer who was the first artist signed to the popular 1950s label Baton Records.
Cynthia Coleman's father, Wallace, was a member of a famous spiritual group, the Coleman Brothers. Cynthia formed her own spiritual group in 1949, the Colemanaires (Cynthia Coleman, Joe Walker, Sam Walker and Wesley Johnson). This family group travelled throughout the USA and made appearances in a number of major cities, with Cynthia doing most of the group's lead singing. They released five gospel singles in 1953-54, four for the Timely label and one for Apollo. In 1954, Cynthia made her first (secular) solo recordings, credited to Ann Cole, for Timely Records. Sales and distribution were poor, but one person who was impressed by Ann's voice was Sol Rabinowitz of Baton Records in New York City. He spent an entire year trying to find the obscure singer and finally succeeded.
Ann's first release on Baton was "Are You Satisfied" (a cover of a country number by Sheb Wooley), featuring the immediately recognizable guitar work of Mickey Baker, who plays on most of her Baton recordings. It went to # 10 on Billboard's R&B charts in January 1956. The fourth Baton single, "In the Chapel" (1957), also charted (# 14). However, these two hits are not the recordings for which she will be remembered. Though the song is usually associated with Muddy Waters, it was Ann Cole who recorded the original version of "Got My Mojo Working" (Baton 237) on January 27, 1957.
On a month-long tour through the South together, Ann sang with Muddy's band. "Mojo" had not yet been released, but in spite of Sol Rabonowitz's warning not to sing unreleased material, Ann taught Muddy's band the song and performed it regularly during the tour. Muddy liked the song so much that he asked Leonard Chess to let him record it himself. Chess, who didn't know anything about the Ann Cole recording, gave the Waters record a rush release and both versions came out in the same week. The difference in the lyrics between the two versions resulted from Muddy's inability to remember the original words (written by Preston Foster). Waters claimed to have written the song. Eventually the matter went to court, where it was ruled that Foster was the composer. But the two versions are still separately copyrighted.
In 1956 she was voted the Most Promising Female R&B Artist. From 1956-1962 she scored 3 top 40 hits. Not long thereafter, Cole had a serious car accident, which confined her to a wheelchair. That was the premature ending of the musical career of a great R&B vocalist, who was ahead of her time.
According to the Social Security Death Index, she died in November 1986. Her birth date is given there as January 29, 1934, which is probably the correct date (all other sources say January 24, but they all copy each other as likely as not). (info mainly from blackcat.nl)