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Friday, September 24, 2010

Annie, not the Scottish folk song, not Lillian Gish in a D.W. Griffith silent......

Annie Laurie......not too easy to find bio info on this longtime favourite of mine. Most people know her as the vocalist with the great New Orleans band of Paul Gayten. I got to thinking of her last night, after I posted a list of some of Kay Starr's tunes. As you now know, one of my all time favourite songs is the Kay/Tenn. Enrie Ford duet of "I'll never be free".  Well, Annie Laurie and Paul Gayten recorded a pretty swell version of it, too, which I am including in this list.  Here is an interesting little blurb about her that I found with a posting of her songs on The Super Soul Sisters blog (sadly, he is no longer posting...but there is excellent stuff there to be heard, still). He credits this info about Annie to :

"The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond" are not the only place to find an Annie Laurie. If the New Orleans' music scene and the early days of doo wop and rhythm and blues are more to a listener's taste than folk from the British Isles, then the Annie Laurie of choice would be the female vocalist who made her recording debut in the mid-'40s and later enjoyed a string of hits including a cover version of "Since I Fell for You," created with the Paul Gayten band. Laurie's influence on her fellow singers seems to run hot and cold, ranging from the often-repeated rumor that she was Dinah Washington's favorite to the following, much cooler appraisal from Irma Thomas: "Annie Laurie? She was okay."

Laurie first chimed in professionally within territory bands helmed by leaders such as Snookum Russell and Dallas Bartley. The singer established her knack for personable cover versions with her very first side, W.C. Handy's famed "St. Louis Blues," cut in 1945 with the Bartley outfit. Shortly after that she arrived in New Orleans and was hired by Gayten, whose activities in the music business included working as a bandleader, producer, and label owner. As a performer he had his own string of hit records for the Regal and DeLuxe outfits between 1947 and 1950, some of which featured vocal performances by Laurie.

Gayten's knack may have been matching up available song material for cover versions with the various singers he was affiliated with. For Laurie, this included the previously mentioned "Since I Fell for You," which had been a blockbuster for Buddy Johnson and has endured dozens of powerhouse cover versions, as well as a less than liberating "I'll Never Be Free," originally associated with Lucky Millinder. Regal had done well with Laurie, but when the crown toppled off that label's head in 1951, the singer began working as a soloist on the newly reorganized Okeh imprint, moving over to Savoy by the middle of that decade. In the late '50s, she returned to the DeLuxe outfit, moaning through her biggest hit ever in 1957, "It Hurts to Be in Love." She was in the studios for the Ritz label in the early '60s, but began devoting herself entirely to church music just in time to miss the rock & roll invasion." ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi

Here is a little info on Paul Gayten (from: )

Paul Gayten- Rockin'In The Crescent City©JCMarion: Paul Gayten, another in a long line of talented pianists in New Orleans rhythm & blues, was a nephew of blues-piano legend Little Brother Montgomery. He started out in music in 1938 with a local combo in his home town of New Orleans. After his discharge from the military he began to get good notices in 1946 and was signed by the new Jersey based De Luxe label. His first big national hit record was the 1947 classic version of "Since I Fell For You" featuring his long time vocalist Annie Laurie on DeLuxe #1082. Gayten wrote Larry Darnell's 1949 classic "For You My Love". He opened the year of 1950 with Regal (another New Jersey label) on #3234 - "Fish Tail" / "Confused" and followed that up with "Cook's Tour" and "You Shouldn't" on Regal #3245. In March Annie Laurie does the vocal on "You Ought To Know" and the flip side is "I'll Never Be Free" on #3458. During May and June new singer Sammy Cotten does some dates on the road with the band and Gayten is impressed enough to sign Cotten on as a featured vocalist.

In June of that year the new lineup for the band is : Gayten on piano and vocals; Frank Campbell on tenor sax; Hank Mobley (who would go on to a distinguished career as a jazz instrumentalist) on tenor sax; Lindsey Nelson on trumpet; Lorenzo Gaines on bass; and Sam Woodward on drums. In June Regal #3273 - "I Need Your Love" and "I Ain't Gonna Let You In" voc-Annie Laurie is released. Vocalists Laurie and Cotten tour with Gayten throughout the summer. The Paul Gayten orchestra back up new label signees The Coleman Brothers on their recording of "Goodnight Irene" on #3281. In late September the latest release by Gayten is #3300 - "Now That You're Gone" with an Annie Laurie vocal is out and does well immediately. #3302 - "I'm So Crazy For Love" and "If You've Got The Money Honey" is released late in the year as the band ends 1950 with an extended appearance at The Showboat in Philadelphia with Jimmy Scott.

In early 1952 the Regal Record company announces that Gayten is the second biggest seller on their label after Larry Darnell. That spring the label puts together a touring package to hit the R & B one nighter circuit that will feature some of their top acts. Along with Gayten and his band with Annie Laurie and Sammy Cotten, are Chubby Newsome and Jimmy Scott. The Gayten band becomes the opening attraction at a new R & B night spot in Baltimore called Gamby's. With him on the bill is vocalist Earl Williams. Regal #3320 is released - "You Don't Know" and "Hey Little Girl". This is followed by #3329 - "Baby I'm All Alone" and "Little Girl". The similarity of titles of the last two releases causes some confusion among record buyers. In a surprise move late in the year, the Regal Record Company sells off all its assets. Gayten, Annie Laurie, Sammy Cotten, and new singer Titus Turner all move to Columbia Records where they will record on the affiliated label Okeh. The first release on Okeh by Gayten is out in December. It couples "All Alone And Lonely" and "Lonesome For My Baby" with vocals by Gayten and newcomer Carmen Mendez on #6847. This is the first record by Paul Gayten that is available in the 45 rpm format.

In late January of 1952 the Gayten Orchestra hits the road with The Dominos for a series of one nighters beginning in Washington D.C. After the tour Okeh releases #6870 - "Happy Days" / "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Love". In September Okeh pairs Gayten with the Kelly Owens Orchestra on # 6908 - "They All Ask For You" and "True". Soon after New Year's of 1953, Okeh's newest Paul Gayten recording is out. It is #6934 - "Don't Worry Me" and "Yes You Do, Yes You Do". Gayten scores big in the annual Pittsburgh Courier poll finishing second behind the Ray-O-Vacs as the best small combo in the R & B field. In May Okeh # 6972 features "Time Is A-Passing" and "It Ain't Nothing Happening", and later in the year the label tries again with "Cow Cow Blues" and "Ooh Boo" on #6982.

Gayten continues to write arrange and perform on stage through the year. His records are not big sellers but he has been a force in the R & B field for many years that he is a 'name' performer that keeps his fame alive. Okeh #7019 is out in February and is "Mule Face" and "It's Over", which the people at Columbia took as a sign as they do not renew Gayten who now drifts to Chicago and Chess Records. His first recording for Chess is in the fall of the year and it is released on #801 - "I'm Tired" and "Get It". In April of 1956 Gayten has been moved to the Checker label and release #836 features "You'd Better Believe It" and "Mother Roux". This record goes nowhere and Gayten is moved again within the Chess company to their new label Marterry. The plans are to record a new singer Patience Valentine with the Gayten band. Before the recording session is complete, the Chess company changes the name of Marterry to Argo and Gayten finishes his session by doing a jump blues version of the swing era standard "The Music Goes Round And Round". The flip side is "Be My Baby" on Argo #5257. The jump side "Music" is a huge hit, the biggest for Gayten in almost a decade and a fitting swan song as he is planning to quit performing. Because of the surprising success of the driving New Orleans styled version of the tune, Okeh now re-releases Gayten's recording of "Cow Cow Blues" on #7068. But the public doesn't bite, and "Music" spurred on by Alan Freed's support, and the huge popularity of the record as a top dance number, brings a whole new audience to the R & B veteran and he enjoys his ride to the top once again.

In February of 1957 Paul gayten records "Driving Home" parts 1 and 2" on Argo #5263. That summer Gayten's band records "Flat Foot Sam" and "Nervous Boogie" with vocals by Oscar Wills on Argo #5277. Paul closes out the year with "Tough Enough on Checker #880 (the flip side is "Ol man River" by The Tuneweavers vocal group). By 1958 he was still at it with some sales for Argo #5300 "Windy". The flip side is "Tickle Toe", another instrumental. Paul Gayten saw the direction that the music was taking and decided to curtail his career as a performer and concentrate on the business end of the musical scene. He began that part of his life with Chess records who gave him a position as an A & R man in the South and also worked for the label in promotion in South and East. He still found time to perform as with Fats Domino in South Carolina and Georgia in February. In October he recorded a side for the Detroit independent label Anna Records started by former auto worker Berry Gordy on the tune "The Hunch" on #1106. The flip side was the song "Hot Cross Buns". The tune sells well for the long time pianist and composer. Later on he founded his own record label called Pzazz, and recorded various musical performers over the years. Paul Gayten - a New Orleans original and one of many who did not share in the rewards of the rock and roll explosion as he should have, but one who went out with one last ride to the top.

I'm gonna list what I have by her, today...which is a fair amount, gathered from a few  places over the years (Oh,and yeah....of course I'm including "I'll never be free".....that tune was what inspired me to post this in the first

Here's what I've got:

It must be you
It hurts to be in love
Hold On To What You Got
Hand in hand
Since I fell for you
Nobody's gonna hurt you
Rockin' and rollin' again
We found love
You promised love
You're the only one for me
I feel so right tonight
It's gonna come out in the wash someday
Cryin' sighin' dyin'
You belong to me
Please honey don't go
Stop talkin' and start walkin'
I'm a slave to you
Lonesome and blue
Not wanted
Give me half a chance
Love is a funny thing
If you're lonely
What a difference a day makes
Lost love
Until the real thing comes along
B flat blues
No regrets
I'll never be free w/ Paul Gayten
Get me some money
Worried man
Feeling the need
Roll 'em
In the mood for you
For you baby blues (part 1&2)
Cuttin' out
I still love you w/ Paul Gayten
Out of my mind
One sweet letter from you  
It's been a long time
Someday someway
I ain't gonna let you in
Rough and ready man
Time out for tears
Annie's blues
99 guys w/ the Maples  
St. Louis blues w/ Dallas Bartley And The Band
Sorry, I don't really have much detail for these recording dates, there is varied bit rate and quality, also. many of these come from an audio file given to me about a year ago by a's a good jumping off point for listening to more of her, and Paul Gayten's work. Several compilations are available.........go searching for them. Very enjoyable stuff.

Hey, I'm loving you guys! Thanks for the continued interest in what I'm posting and all the comments! Please make some requests.......I'd love that. If I don't have it......I can usually find it quickly :)


  1. Have you heard "Annie Laurie Swing" by Bill Boyd & His Cowboy Ramblers? Thanks for all your hard work...


  2. yup....good schtuff, dat! I'm aiming toward putting up more stuff from all the old western swing that I have.........hopefully soon I can get to some of it :)