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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Annisteen Allen

Annisteen Allen

From Wikipedia:


Annisteen Allen, born Ernestine Letitia Allen (November 11, 1920, Champaign, Illinois - August 10, 1992, Harlem, New York City) was an American blues singer.

Allen's first recordings were made in 1945, and included "Miss Annie's Blues" and "Love for Sale". She sang with Big John Greer, Wynonie Harris, and Lucky Millinder, and in 1951, Federal Records signed her to sing with Millinder's orchestra. She scored other hits with Millinder such as "I'll Never Be Free", "Let It Roll", "Moanin' the Blues", and "More, More, More". Federal's parent company, King Records, acquired her in 1953, but after releasing "Baby I'm Doing It", Apollo Records sued King for copyright infringement, and as a result King dropped her from its roster. She then signed with Capitol Records and did tours with Joe Morris and The Orioles. In 1955 she scored a hit in the U.S. with "Fujiyama Mama". She became a solo artist in the 1960s.

From http://home.earthlink.net/~jaymar41/twofems.html :

Allen was a vocalist with the Lucky Milinder band in 1949, and opened 1950 as part of a touring R & B show with Big John Greer, Wynonie Harris, and the Millinder band. The show ended up with a week at Baltimore's Royal Theater. The next month Allen played a week at Chicago's Regal Theater with the Hot Lips Page band. In July RCA #20-088 features Lucky Millinder's band with Annisteen Allen on vocal on "Let It Be" and Paul Breckenridge doing the vocal on the flip side of "Sweet Slumber" a reprise of Millinder's big hit of 1944 (with a Trevor Bacon vocal).

In January of 1951, Ralph Bass A & R man for Federal Records signed the whole Lucky Millinder Orchestra to the label. The plan is to feature Annisteen's vocals on Federal, and the band and other singers on the King releases. In March they record for the parent label King #4436 - "The Jumping Jack" and "Mister Trumpet Man" vocal by Allen. At almost the same time Federal #12012 is released - "Lies Lies Lies" and "Cloudy Day Blues" with Annisteen featured on both sides. In May again on King - #4453 - "I'm Waiting Just For You" vocal by Allen and John Carroll, and "Bongo Boogie" with solo vocal by Allen. A month later Federal #12020 features Annisteen Allen's vocals on "Hard To Get Along" and "Too Long". In September the Lucky Millinder band records "No One Else Could Be" with vocals by Annisteen and Melvin Moore, and "The Grape Vine" with vocal by Melvin Moore.

In 1953, all of Annisteen Allen's recordings are moved to the King label. The first release of the year was #4608 - "Yes I Know" and "Baby I'm Doing It" an answer record to the 5 Royales big R & B hit of "Baby Don't Do It". In May #4622 - "Trying To Live Without You" / "My baby Keeps Rollin'" was released. In October Apollo Records sued King for copyright infringement over Annisteen Allen's answer record "Baby I'm Doing It". Early in 1954 Annisteen Allen recorded "Down By The River" and "I Don't Want A Substitute" on King # 4691. During the summer King did not renew Allen's contract and she is signed by Capitol Records. In October her first for the new label Capitol # 2937 - "Take A Chance On Me" / "No More Lovin'". Annisteen does a tour of one nighters with The Orioles and Joe Morris and his Blues Cavalcade. The tour winds up with a weekend at the Howard Theater in Washington D.C. At year's end, Capitol # 3000 is released - "I've Got Troubles" and "Nothing Can Replace You".

In February of 1955, Capitol releases "Fujiyama Mama" and "Wheels Of Love" on # 3048. The record immediately takes off with its novelty approach to the modern sound and quickly there appears a pop cover version of "Fujiyama" done by Eileen Barton for Coral. The follow up is on # 3161 - "Mine All Mine" and "I'm Still In Love With You". In July Annisteen Allen takes part in the big Hal Jackson R & B Revue at the Apollo Theater in New York, then heads to Philadelphia for a stint at Pep's. Soon after, Annisteen Allen fades from the music scene.

From a 1987 Norbert Hess interview:


ERNESTINE ALLEN

Ernestine Letitia Allen was born 11 November 1920 in Champaign, IL to Ernest Allen and Grace Arlington: 'My mother died when I was six days old, my grandmother took me to Toledo, OH, raised me'. After completion of high school the class took a summer vacation in 1939 to Texas and following her determination to sing, she asked bandleader Don Albert, who owned the Keyhole in San Antonio, if she could perform. Although she had intended to return to Ohio to go to college, she stayed, married and attended Tuskee Institute.

Her favourite singer was Ethel Waters, although she told me in an unpublished interview: 'I want to be a country and western singer. I love the blues, can't sing them, my diction is too good. C&W is the blues, it got a twang.'

She continued to sing at the Keyhole. 'That's where Duke Ellington and Louis Jordan heard me. I had worked one night with Louis Jordan in Houston, but I wanted a big band.' Duke and Jordan told Lucky Millinder about the young talent. 'Lucky Millinder hired me, never had heard me. He taught me everything. I learned stage presence. He was a perfectionist.'

Rosetta Tharpe, Judy Carol and Wynonie Harris had already left when Ernestine joined Millinder in 1945. 'I encouraged Bullmoose Jackson to sing.' Other vocalists were Big John Greer and Melvin Moore ('he was like my brother'). Ernestine Allen started with $150 a week and stayed nine years with Millinder, until he disbanded.

She pointed out clearly that the label credits (Annisteen Allen) were a misprint. 'Joe Bostic was my press agent when I first came to New York with Lucky. He had a press agent for me, no money, but I was a big deal. He made a mistake and Annisteen stuck, but I never answered to that name.' Her fellow musicians though 'called me Sue'. A discography of her appeared in Soul Bag 107: with Lucky Millinder she recorded for King's subsidiary Queen (issued under various names due to Millinder's contractual commitment to Decca), Decca (1947), Victor (1949), King and Federal (1950 53).

'Let It Roll' (1947, Decca) became her theme song, although it never entered the charts: 'I hated it then and now. It was my biggest seller. The record company picked the song. I got only $32 performance royalties out of the song.'

In 1951 she had two chart entries in Billboard as Lucky Millinder's featured singer: 'I'll Never Be Free' (#8, RCA) and 'I'm Waiting Just For You' (#2, King), the latter eventually becoming the #7 'best selling R&B record of 1951'. 'I was in Carnegie Hall with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday receiving an award for best band vocalist of the year.' Two years later she hit the best sellers list again with 'Baby, I'm Doin' It' (#8, King), an answer song to the 5 Royales' 'Baby, Don't Do It'.

After leaving Millinder she continued to record for King (through Henry Glover), toured ins package with Bo Diddley, Fats Domino and Bullmoose Jackson, worked the Baby Grand in Harlem, also the Apollo Theatre, 'equal billing with Lloyd Price'. She recorded for Capitol with Mickey Baker and Sam Taylor which produced the jack Hammer composition 'Fujiyama Mama' (covered in 1950s by Wanda Jackson), and a couple of sessions for Decca (1956 57) arranged by Sy Oliver including The Money Tree' (a chart success soon after for Margaret Whiting) and the unissued version of 'Catch A Falling Star', which became a huge hit for Perry Como. They stole my masters, that's what got me out of show business. You get tired of people robbing you. That's your soul and your talent. When a person expresses herself through music, that's apart of their being. Show business hurts too bad, I don't want that no more.'

Ernestine Allen got an office job at a hospital in 1959 for $55 a week, eventually promoting to supervisory management and working at computers. She retired after twenty seven years in 1986.

She did a few more records, however: a new version of 'Let It Roll' for Todd (a 1959 reunion with Lucky Millinder) and in '61 her first and only LP for Tm Sound, entitled 'Let It Roll', with King Curtis. 'Here, for the first time, I am singing the music I want to sing.'

When I interviewed her in 1987 she showed me a video of the 1948 movie 'Boarding House Blues' and a recent one off reunion with Bullmoose Jackson, broadcast on TV. She lived in Harlem near City College. 'I'm safer in Harlem than anywhere else in New York City.' On Monday 10 August 1992, her old friend Paul Williams visited her at her apartment around noon. She was in good health and spirit, he told me. Three hours after he left she was dead from a sudden heart attack.
Norbert Hess


Not much attention paid to this great vocalist these days....here is a reminder of why she should be recognized:

Oo-Oo-Ee-Bab-A-Lee-Bob -w/ Bull Moose Jackson and his band 1946 QUEEN/KING #4107

I Know How To Do It -Annisteen Allen and her Home Town Boys QUEEN/KING #4128 (Ernestine Allen, v with tp, tb, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson (ts) p, b, d.
New York City, 20 December 1945)

The Blues Done Got Me & Gone- Annisteen Allen and her Home Town Boys Queen/KIing #4119 (NYC) (Ernestine Allen, v with tp, tb, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson (ts) p, b, d.
New York City, 20 December 1945)

Fujiyama Mama- CAPITOL #3048 with The Howard Biggs Orch. New York City, 23 November 1954

More More More- Annisteen Allen and her Home Town Boys
Queen/King #4119 (NYC) (Ernestine Allen, v with tp, tb, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson (ts) p, b, d. New York City, 20 December 1945)

I Want A Man who's gonna do right- Annisteen Allen & Home Town Boys
Queen/King #4115  (NYC) (Ernestine Allen, v with tp, tb, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson (ts) p, b, d. New York City, 20 December 1945)

I've Got Big Bulging Eyes- Annisteen Allen & Home Town Boys  Queen/King #4115  (NYC) (Ernestine Allen, v with tp, tb, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson (ts) p, b, d. New York City, 20 December 1945)

Arkansas- Annisteen Allen and her Home Town Boys QUEEN/KING #4128 (Voc with tp, tb, Bernie Peacock, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson, Sam Taylor (ts) Sir Charles Thompson (p) Jerry Cox (b) David “Panama” Francis (d) New York City, April 1946)

Give It Up- Annisteen Allen and her Home Town Boys QUEEN/KING #4124 (Voc with tp, tb, Bernie Peacock, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson, Sam Taylor (ts) Sir
Charles Thompson (p) Jerry Cox (b) David “Panama” Francis (d) ens voc  New York City, April 1946)

She Lost Her Re-Bop- Annisteen Allen and her Home Town Boys QUEEN/KING #4124 (NYC) (Voc with tp, tb, Bernie Peacock, Curtis Peagler (as) Bull Moose Jackson, Sam Taylor (ts) Sir
Charles Thompson (p) Jerry Cox (b) David “Panama” Francis (d) ens voc New York City, April 1946)

Hard To Get Along- (Voc with Emmett Berry (tp) Alfred Cobbs (tb) Leroy Fletcher (ts) Dave McRae (bs/cl) Joe Black (p) Carl Wilson (b) George Jones (d).  New York City, 5 January 1951) Federal #12020

Cloudy Day Blues-(Voc with Emmett Berry (tp) Alfred Cobbs (tb) Leroy Fletcher (ts) Dave McRae (bs/cl) Joe Black (p) Carl Wilson (b) George Jones (d).  New York City, 5 January 1951) Federal #12012

Lies, Lies, Lies - (Voc with Emmett Berry (tp) Alfred Cobbs (tb) Leroy Fletcher (ts) Dave McRae (bs/cl) Joe Black (p) Carl Wilson (b) George Jones (d). New York City, 5 January 1951) Federal #12012

Too Long- (Voc with Emmett Berry (tp) Alfred Cobbs (tb) Leroy Fletcher (ts) Dave McRae (bs/cl) Joe Black (p) Carl Wilson (b) George Jones (d). Add unk voc. New York City, 5 January 1951) Federal #12020

The Bittersweet- (Voc with Gene Redd (tp/vb)  Lucky Thompson (ts) Pete Clarke (bs)
Clifton Smalls (p) Ike Isaacs (b) Jimmy Cobb (d). New York City, 31 October 1951) Federal #12057

The Bluest Blues- (Voc with Gene Redd (tp/vb) Reuben Phillips (as ) Lucky Thompson (ts) Pete Clarke (bs) Clifton Smalls (p) Ike Isaacs (b) Jimmy Cobb (d). New York City, 31 October 1951) Federal #12057

Trying To Live Without You-(Voc with Henry Glover (tp) Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Raphael Barrow (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Les Erskine (d). New York City, 28 January 1953) King #4622

My Baby Keeps Rollin'- (Voc with Henry Glover (tp) Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Raphael Barrow (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Les Erskine (d). New York City, 28 January 1953) King #4622

Yes I Know- (Voc with Henry Glover (tp) Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Raphael Barrow (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Les Erskine (d). New York City, 28 January 1953) King #4608

Baby I'm Doin' It- (Voc with Henry Glover (tp) Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Raphael Barrow (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Les Erskine (d). New York City, 28 January 1953) King #4608

Wanted- (Voc with  Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Mickey
Baker (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Clarence “Bobby” Donaldson (d). New York City, 25 May 1953) King #4642

I Don't Want No Substitute- (Voc with Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Mickey Baker (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Clarence “Bobby” Donaldson (d). New York City, 25 May 1953) King #4691

Down By The River- (Voc with Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Mickey
Baker (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Clarence “Bobby” Donaldson (d). New York City, 25 May 1953) King #4691

My Brand Of Loving- (Voc with Henry Glover (tp) Jimmy Buchanan (as/bs) John Greer (ts) Don Abney (p) Mickey Baker (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Clarence “Bobby” Donaldson (d). New York City, 25 May 1953) King #4642

Mr. Trumpet Man- w/ Lucky Millinder and his Orch. King #4436   [2-23-50]

I'm Waiting Just For You- Lucky Millinder and his Orch. w/John Carroll: vcl [2-28-51]
King #4453

Bongo Boogie- w/ Lucky Millinder and his Orch. [2-28-51] King #4453

No More Lovin' - with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. New York City, 25 August 1954) Capitol #2937

Take A Chance On Me- with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. New York City, 25 August 1954) Capitol #2937

I've Got Troubles- with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. New York City, 25 August 1954) Capitol #3000

Nothing Can Replace You- with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. New York City, 25 August 1954) Capitol #3000

Wheels Of Love- with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. New York City, 25 August 1954) Capitol #3000 Add xyl, bells. The Five Keys (Ulysses Hicks, Ripley Ingram, Raymond Luper, Maryland Pierce, Bernard West) (voc grp). Capitol #3048

Everybody Knows I Love You- with Howard Biggs Orch.(Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. Add xyl, bells. The Five Keys (Ulysses Hicks, Ripley Ingram, Raymond Luper, Maryland Pierce, Bernard West) (v grp). New York City, 23 November 1954) Capitol(F) LP #1566 291

G'wan About Your Business- with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. New York City, 23 November 1954) Capitol(F) LP #1566 291

Slow but sure with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, Mickey Baker (g) b, d. New York City, 23 November 1954) Capitol(F) LP #1566 291

I'm Still In Love With You- with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc with as, ts, bs, p, g, b, d. New York City, 26 April 1955) Capitol #3161

Mine All Mine- with Howard Biggs Orch. (Voc. with as, ts, bs, p, g, b, d.)  Capitol #3161 [4-26-55] 

The Right Kind Of Lovin' (Take 2) w/ Lucky Millinder and his Orch. ( Melvin Moore & John Sellers, voc) [7-28-51] King #4496

No One Else Could Be- w/ Lucky Millinder and his Orch. (Melvin Moore, voc) [7-28-51] King#4476

It's Been A Long Time- Lucky Millinder and his Orch. (Melvin Moore, voc) [7-28-51] King #4496

Dont  Hesitate Too Long- Lucky Millinder and his Orch. 1947 Decca #24384

Let It Roll- Lucky Millinder and his Orch. 1947

 Rough Lover- with Sy Oliver and his Orch. (Voc with ts, bs, p, g, b, d, v grp. New York City, 7 July 1957) Decca #30368

The Spider And The Fly-  Lucky Millinder and his Orch. April 11, 1947


http://www.mediafire.com/?wfwl3iidvb5477i

4 comments:

  1. Please, receive my CONGRATULATIONS for your real Annisteen Allen's Discography, with the musicians staff & recording sessions dates, which can't be found elsewhere on the web. It's a serious work !
    This is a blog which have respect to the Artists.
    Many many many THANKS. And keep on!...

    Phil (Rhythm and Blues fan from France)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Merci, c’est tres gentil de votre part! I just like her music a lot, and had to post some......I'm so glad you enjoy it (that's really why I post...in hopes that other like what I do)

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  3. I am trying to find out who the vocal group is on Fujiyama Mama.

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  4. I think the group was The Cues. I could be wrong on that. Ummm, that release was on Capitol Records, so yeah, I'm thinking it was The Cues.

    ReplyDelete