Sunday, 6 May 2018

Jean Chapel born 6 May 1925

Opal Jean Amburgey (March 6, 1925 – August 19, 1995), known professionally as Jean Chapel, was an American country singer and songwriter. She recorded for several record labels and wrote over 400 songs, more than 170 of which were published in her lifetime. 

Amburgey was born into a family of six children in Neon, Kentucky. At the age of 11 she learned guitar and banjo, and performed with her sisters as the Sunshine Sister band. Together they left home when Jean was 13 and were hired to play daily on WKLP-AM in Lexington, Kentucky in 1938. Even at such a young age, Chapel's personality and star potential came shining through as she sang lead on most songs.

They moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1940 to sing on WSB Barn Dance; she began using the nickname Mattie at this time. Her sister Irene would later record with Columbia Records under the name Martha Carson. At age 15, Jean had already performed at literally hundreds of shows, appeared daily on radio stations, sang on barn dances, became a member of the Coon Creek Girls, and was about to begin what she would be most remembered for – writing songs. 

In 1947 she married Salty Holmes, and in 1950 they moved to Chicago, Illinois to appear on National Barn Dance on WLS-AM. Soon Jean began appearing on the Grand Ole Opry opposite Holmes as Mattie & Salty under the name Mattie O'Neil.  

In the early 50's, Jean would record solo for Hickory Records under the name Opal Jean; record with her two sisters for the King label in 1951 as the Sunshine Sisters; and officially become, Jean Chapel, in 1956 when signing with Sun Records to sing rockabilly songs like "I Won't Be Rocking Tonight" and "Welcome to the Club" which was issued on the B-side of an Elvis single. Sun promoted her as the Female Elvis, but the nickname stuck more successfully to Janis Martin. In addition to the Sun label, Jean recorded for Capitol, London, Challenge, Smash, and RCA Records. 

Chapel divorced Holmes and moved to Nashville, where she concentrated on writing through the '60s. She became neighbours with Tammy Wynette, who began recording Chapel's songs and did a duet with her called "Crazy Me." Wynette was also briefly married to Chapel's brother. 

Chapel's greatest success in the music industry was as a songwriter, penning "Lonely Again", a number one song for Eddy Arnold. She also wrote "Lay Some Happiness on Me", one of Dean Martin's most successful records of the 1960s and in 1973 her song "To Get to You", a hit for Jerry Wallace, was nominated for Song of the Year by the Country Music Association. Among the other artists to record Chapel songs are Liz Anderson, Nancy Sinatra, Tommy Overstreet, Charlie McCoy, and Lorrie Morgan. 

Chapel died August 19, 1995 in Port Orange, Florida. 

(Compiled and edited from various sources mainly Wikipedia & AllMusic)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

Couldn’t find a full compilation of Jean’s discography but there are plenty of odd tracks on various compilations. Below are just a few examples.

For “Those Rockin’ Gals” compilation go here:

01 - Wanda Ballman - Heartbreak Girl
02 - Jean Chapel - Welcome To The Club
03 - Jean Chapel - I Won't Be Rockin' Tonight
04 - Patsy Holcomb - I Wanna Rock
05 - Patsy Holcomb - Ooh That's Good
06 - Kirby Sisters - Red Velvet
07 - Kirby Sisters - (I Get The) Craziest Feeling
08 - Miller Sisters - Ten Cats Down
09 - Miller Sisters - Chains Of Love
10 - Miller Sisters - Got You On My Mind
11 - Miller Sisters - There's No Right Way To Do Me Wrong
12 - Barbara Pittman - I Need A Man
13 - Jeanie Newman - Thanks A Lot
14 - Barbara Pittman - I'm Getting Better All The Time
15 - Barbara Pittman - Everlasting
16 - Barbara Pittman - Sentimental Fool
17 - Sunrays - Love Is A Stranger
18 - Maggie Sue Wimberly - Rock 'n' Roll Cinnamon Tree
19 - Maggie Sue Wimberly - Call Me Anything But Call Me
20 - Anita Wood - I'll Wait Forever
21 - Bobbie Jean Barton - You Burnt The Bridges
22 - Bobbie Jean Barton - Just Discovered Boys
23 - Magel Priesman - Memories Of You
24 - Cliff & Barbars Thomas - Jumpin' Jack
25 - Miller Sisters - Someday You Will Pay

A big thank you to Uncle Gil’s Rockin’ Archives for the active link!

For “Girl Powered Rockabilly” go here:

Disc: 1
1. Funnel Of Love - Wanda Jackson 2. Skull And Crossbones - Sparkle Moore 3. Rock Boppin' Baby - The Collins Kids 4. Drugstore Rock ' Roll - Janis Martin 5. Star Light, Star Bright - Jakie Johnson 6. Come On Baby - Laura Lee Perkins 7. Bigelow 6-200 - Brenda Lee 8. Ok Doll, It's A Deal - Joannie King 9. Hey Little Dreamboat - Rose Maddox 10. Boogie Woogie Country Girl - Jo Ann Campbell 11. Gon'na Be Loved - Linda And The Epics 12. Stop, Look And Listen - Patsy Cline 13. I'm Getting Better All The Time - Barbara Pittmann 14. Oo-Ba La Baby - Jean Chapel 15. Real Gone Jive - The Nettles Sister 16. Now Stop - Martha Carson 17. Ballin' Keen - Sandy Lee 18. Let's Elope Baby - Janis Martin

Disc: 2
1. Welcome To The Club - Jean Chapel 2. Rock-A-Bop - Sparkle Moore 3. Hoy Hoy - The Collins Kids 4. I Need A Man - Barbara Pittman 5. Tongue Tide - Wanda Jackson 6. Dynamite - Brenda Lee 7. Long Tall Sally - Shirley Jean Whiley 8. Bang Bang - Janis Martin 9. Chilli Dippin' Baby - Joyce Poynter 10. Hello Baby - Charline Arthur 11. Wild, Wild Young Men - Rose Maddox 12. Never Trust A Man - Joyce Lee 13. Rock The Bop - Brenda Lee 14. Never Gonna Let You Go - Karen Wells 15. Rock, Baby Rock - Barbara Tenant 16. Love Is Over, Love Is Done - Bonnie Guitar 17. Ten Cats Down - The Miller Sisters 18. Don't Wait Up - Laura Lee Perkins

Disc: 3
1. My Boy Elvis - Janis Martin 2. Little Jonah - (Rock On Your Steel Guitar) - Brenda Lee 3. Black Cadillac - Elaine Gay 4. Rock Love - Elaine Gay 5. Fujiyame Mama - Wanda Jackson 6. Move It On Over - Rose Maddox 7. Mercy - The Collins Kid 8. Jeopardy - Jean Shepard 9. Buddy - Jackie Dee 10. Killer - Sparkle Moore 11. You're Driving Me Mad - Jo Ann Campbell 12. Gotta Lotta Rhythm In My Soul -Patsy Cline 13. He Will Come Back To Me - Alie Lesley 14. We're Gonna Bop - Alvadean Coker 15. Money Honey - Janece Morgan 16. I Won't Be Rockin' Tonight - Jean Chapel 17. Mean - Bootsy Collins 18. Riot In Cell Block #9 - Wanda Jackson

A big thank you to The Rockin’ Bandit for original post.