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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Julia Lee..........

Ms. Julia Lee.....

From Wikipedia:

(October 31, 1902 - December 8, 1958)

Born in Boonville, Missouri, Lee was raised in Kansas City, and began her musical career around 1920, singing and playing piano in her brother George Lee's band, which for a time also included Charlie Parker. She first recorded on the Merritt record label in 1927 with Jesse Stone as pianist and arranger, and launched a solo career in 1935.

In 1944 she secured a recording contract with Capitol Records, and a string of R&B hits followed, including "Gotta Gimme Whatcha Got" (#3 R&B, 1946), "Snatch and Grab It" (#1 R&B for 12 weeks, 1947, selling over 500,000 copies), "King Size Papa" (#1 R&B for 9 weeks, 1948), "I Didn't Like It The First Time (The Spinach Song)" (#4 R&B, 1949), and "My Man Stands Out".

As these titles suggest, she became best known for her trademark double entendre songs,  or, as she once said, "the songs my mother taught me not to sing". The records were credited to 'Julia Lee and Her Boy Friends', her session musicians including Jay McShann, Vic Dickenson, Benny Carter, Red Norvo, Nappy Lamare, and Red Nichols

Although her hits dried up after 1949, she continued as one of the most popular performers in Kansas City until her death in San Diego, California, at the age of 56, from a heart attack.

A popular entertainer who recorded frequently for Capitol during 1944-1950, Julia Lee's double-entendre songs and rocking piano made her a major attraction in Kansas City. She played piano and sang in her brother George E. Lee's Orchestra during 1920-1934, recording with him in 1927 and 1929 (including "If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight") and cutting two titles of her own in 1929 ("He's Tall, He's Dark and He's Handsome" and "Won't You Come Over to My House"). Lee worked regularly as a single in Kansas City after her brother's band broke up. In 1944, she started recording for Capitol and among her sidemen on some sessions were Jay McShann, Vic Dickenson, Benny Carter, Red Norvo, and Red Nichols, along with many local players. After 1952, Julia Lee only recorded four further songs, but she was active up until her death in 1958. 

A few tunes for Tuesday:

Down home syncopated blues
The Meritt Stomp
If I could be with you
Until the real thing comes along
King size papa
Paseo Street
Mama don't allow
Ruff scufflin'
St. James Infimary
He's tall, dark and handsome
Won't you come over to my house
Come on over to my house
I didn't like it the first time (Spinach song)
Since I've been with you
Trouble in my mind
If it's good
Show me Missouri blues
Lotus blossom
There goes my heart
Dream lucky blues
Snatch it and grab it
If you hadn't gone away
Julia's blues
Nobody knows you when you're down and out
Gotta gimme whatcha' got
The curse of an aching heart
Bleeding hearted blues
That's what I like
When a woman loves a man
Living backstreet for you
Oh, Marie
I'll get along somehow
Wise guys (you're a wise guy)
A porter's love song to a chambermaid
Have you ever been lonely
Since I have been with you
Out in the cold again
Young girl's blues
On my way out


  1. Unfortunately there's not too much about Julia Lee on the old web.So any info is welcome.Found your site Googling for info about Julia for a post, as it is the anniversary of her birthday today.
    Great play-list, by the way.

  2. Thanks....feel free to re-post it :) The goal for me is to turn folks on to stuff they haven't heard. I get accused of sometimes not having the best bit rate, and being a bit of a thrift shopper, in terms of gathering tunes from many varied sources. I think that finding as much as possible on certain artists, and centralizing them on one page, is a great jumping off point for people to listen and discover. Can I add your blog link to my page?

  3. I've just discovered this fabulous singer! Any chance that you could repost this? I thank you in anticipation!!