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LaVern Baker

LaVern Baker was among the sexiest divas gracing the mid-’50s rock and roll & move circuit, boasting a brashly seductive vocal delivery tailor-made for belting the catchy novelties “Tweedlee Dee,” “Bop-Ting-a-Ling,” and “Tra La La” for Atlantic Information during rock’s initial influx of prominence. Blessed Delores Williams, she was performing at the Golf club DeLisa on Chicago’s south part at age group 17, decked out in raggedy clothes and billed as “Small Miss Sharecropper” (the same deal with that she produced her documenting debut under for RCA Victor with Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar’s music group in 1949). She transformed her name briefly to Bea Baker when documenting for OKeh in 1951 with Maurice King’s Wolverines, after that settled for the 1st name of LaVern when she became a member of Todd Rhodes’ music group as presented vocalist in 1952 (she fronted Rhodes’ aggregation for the impassioned ballad “Attempting” for Cincinnati’s Ruler Information). LaVern authorized with Atlantic like a single in 1953, debuting using the incendiary “Spirit burning.” The coy, Latin-tempo “Tweedlee Dee” was a smash in 1955 on both R&B and pop graphs, although her effect on the second option was blunted when squeaky-clean Georgia Gibbs protected it for Mercury. An infuriated Baker submitted suit on the whitewashing, but she dropped. By that point, though, her celebrity got ascended: Baker’s “Bop-Ting-A-Ling,” “Play It Good,” “Still,” as well as the rocking “Jim Dandy” all vaulted in to the R&B TOP over another year or two. Baker’s statuesque shape and charismatic persona produced her an all natural for Television and films. She co-starred over the historical R&B revue portion on Ed Sullivan’s Television plan in November of 1955 and do memorable quantities in Alan Freed’s rock and roll movies Rock, Rock and roll, Rock and roll and Mr. Rock and roll & Move. Her Atlantic information continued to be popular through the entire 10 years: she strike big in 1958 using the ballad “I Cried a Rip,” followed a pseudo-sanctified bellow for the rousing Leiber & Stoller-penned gospel sendup “Saved” in 1960, and trim a Bessie Smith tribute record before departing Atlantic in 1964. A short visit Brunswick Information (where she do a sassy duet with Jackie Wilson, “THINK”) preceded a later-’60s jaunt to entertain the soldiers in Vietnam. She became significantly ill following the trip and was hospitalized, ultimately settling far from the limelight in the Philippines. She continued to be there for 22 years, working an NCO membership on Subic Bay for the U.S. federal government. Finally, in 1988, Baker came back stateside to superstar in Atlantic’s 40th wedding anniversary bash at New York’s Madison Square Backyard. That resulted in a soundtrack appearance in the film Dick Tracy, a starring function in the Broadway musical Dark & Blue (changing her ex-Atlantic labelmate Ruth Dark brown), a good comeback disk for DRG (Woke Up This Mornin’), and a unforgettable appearance on the Chicago Blues Celebration. Baker passed away on March 10, 1997.

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