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Friday, October 15, 2010

A Savannah Churchill list....................

Savannah Churchill

Born Savannah Valentine to Creole  parents, she was raised in Brooklyn, and started singing in 1941 to support her family after her husband David Churchill was killed in a car accident. Her first recordings, including the risqué "Fat Meat Is Good Meat", were issued on Beacon Records in 1942. These were followed the next year by recordings on Capitol with the Benny Carter Orchestra, including her first hit "Hurry, Hurry".

In 1945 she signed with Manor Records, and that year "Daddy Daddy" reached # 3 on the R&B chart. Two years later she had her only R&B # 1 with "I Want To Be Loved (But Only By You)", which topped the charts for eight weeks. The record was billed as being with vocal group The Sentimentalists, who soon renamed themselves The Four Tunes. Subsequent recordings with The Four Tunes, including "Time Out For Tears" (# 10 R&B, # 24 pop) and "I Want To Cry", both in 1948, were also successful.

Billed as "Sex-Sational", she performed to much acclaim, and appeared in the movies Miracle in Harlem (1948) and Souls of Sin (1949). She toured widely with backing vocal group The Striders, including a visit to Hawaii in 1954. From 1949 she recorded with Regal, RCA Victor and Decca Records, recording the original version of "Shake A Hand", later a big hit for Faye Adams, and also recording with the Ray Charles Singers. In 1956 she was one of the first artists signed to the Argo label, set up as a subsidiary to Chess Records.

Tragedy struck later in 1956 to end her career. She was singing on stage in a club, when a drunken man fell on top of her from a balcony above, causing severe debilitating injuries from which she would never fully recover. Although she did some recording in 1960, her health declined greatly until her death in 1974, at the age of 53.



Savannah Churchill was born Savannah Valentine on August 21, 1920 in Colfax, LA. Her first two records were for Joe Davis' Beacon label, recorded and released in 1942. The labels first credited "Jimmy Lytell and his All Star Seven, Vocal Refrain by Savannah Churchill". Both records became hits, selling several hundred thousand copies. Due to Savannah's resultant popularity, Davis changed the labels to "Savannah Churchill and her All Star Seven" for future issues.
Savannah next joined Benny Carter's Orchestra in 1943, recording at least five sides. This resulted in two Capitol releases, one side each with "Vocal by Savannah Churchill".

In 1945, Irving Berman signed Savannah to Manor Records. Her third record for Manor, "I Want To Be Loved", was her first with a vocal group. Their name was The Sentimentalists, a male group derived from The Brown Dots and soon to become The Four Tunes. One of The Sentimentalists, Pat Best, was a major factor in "I Want To Be Loved" becoming a big hit. He wrote the song (even though credit is given to Savannah on the label) and coached her in how she should sing it.

From here on, male vocal groups would back most of Savannah's records. Next came two releases on Manor with backing by The Five Kings. Then, eight records on Manor and one on Arco, all with The Four Tunes on one or both sides. Arco was the new name for Manor starting in late 1949. Then came two more releases on Arco in 1950 followed by another two on Regal in late 1950 and early 1951, all backed by The Striders.

There was one record issued on Columbia in 1948. These were two sides that Savannah and The Four Tunes had recorded, but not released, for Manor.

In 1951, Savannah signed with RCA Victor resulting in five releases, all with vocal group backing. The first release was backed by The Four Tunes, who had moved to RCA Victor in 1949. The next three RCA Victor releases were backed by The Striders and the last by a pickup group. In 1951, Savannah, along with The Striders, appeared at the London Palladium.

In 1953, Savannah went to another major label, Decca, producing five releases. The first is without vocal group on either side. The remainder have vocal groups on all sides, two with The Ray Charles Singers and the final two with an unknown "Quartet".

There was one more release of note in 1956 on Argo, a subsidiary of Chess Records. This record has an unknown vocal group on both sides.

Savannah died from pneumonia on April 20, 1974, leaving behind an abundance of consistently excellent records, including releases on four of the major labels.


Time Out For Tears : Savannah Churchill©2004JCMarion

Savannah Valentine was born in August of 1920 in southern Louisiana. At a young age her family moved to Brooklyn, New York. During her formative years she was a prized member of her church choir. While still a teenager she married David Churchill and soon had children, and did not harbor any desire to pursue a career in music. That soon changed because of a personal tragedy when her husband was killed in an automobile accident. Now faced with raising two young children, music seemed to be her salvation. In the early nineteen forties she became the featured vocalist with the orchestra of Benny Carter with whom she made her first record on the Capitol label. Soon she signed a recording contract with the Manor label and "All Alone" and "Daddy Daddy" was released on #1004. "Too Blue To Cry" and "I Can't Get Enough Of You" with the band of Jazz At The Philharmonic star Al Killian on #1014. By 1947 she had her first big hit record of "I Want To Be Loved" with the Four Tunes on #1046 ("Foolishly Yours" was the flip side). In 1948 and 1949 she continues to record for Manor with the Four Tunes and another vocal group called the Five Kings. The best of these are "I'll Never Belong To Anyone Else" on #1142 , and "All Of Me" on #1168 both with the Four Tunes.

In April of 1950 Erskine Hawkins organizes a show to play during Easter Week at Philadelphia's Earle Theater. The show will feature along with Hawkins and his band, Errol Garner, Derby Wilson and Savannah Churchill. Later that month "I'll Never Be Free" and "Get Another Guy" are recorded with the Red Norvo combo and released on Arco #1202. In St. Louis in May Churchill joins Timmy Rogers, Peg Leg Bates, and Buddy Johnson and his band for a show for the "Y" Circus charity event at the city's Kiel Auditorium. Arco re-releases two earlier sides on Manor with "I Want To Cry" and "My Baby-kins" with the Four Tunes on # 1220, and "Daddy Daddy" and "Why Was I Born?" with Benny Carter on #1222. More re-releases from Manor follow - "Don't Try To Explain" / "Savannah Sings The Blues" on #1229, and "Time Out For Tears"and "All My Dreams" with the Four Tunes on #1257. In July Churchill's recording of "Can Anyone Explain?" for Arco on #1259 is released ("I Sat Down And Cried" is the flip side). Savannah plays Chubby's in South New Jersey and then heads West to open at Ciro's in Hollywood. In August "Can Anyone Explain?" is reported to be a big seller in Atlanta and South Florida. Box office for Savannah Churchill's stay at Las Vegas Thunderbird Lounge breaks all records. In October "Can Anyone Explain?" is still selling, this time taking off in the Midwest in Kansas City and St. Louis. One last record for Arco is "Changeable You" on #1263. In December Regal records of New Jersey announces that it has signed Churchill to a recording contract, ending her stay at Manor-Arco (also based in New Jersey). At year's end noted Harlem night spot Small's Paradise celebrates its 25th anniversary with an all star show that features both Savannah Churchill and Dinah Washington. Also part of the festivities are The Ravens and Earl Bostic.

Churchill's very first release for the Regal Records label comes right after New Year's Day with #3309 and the songs "Once There Lived A Fool" and "When You Came Back To Me" accompanied by The Striders. Soon "Fool" is picked as one of the top ten records in the Northeast. In late March "Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine" and "And So I Cry" are released on Regal #3313. In early April Churchill goes over to London for dates at The Palladium and the Colony Club accompanied by The Striders. In June Savannah appears at the Minsky Rialto in Chicago. In August of 1951 Churchill changes record labels again. This time she is signed to a pop music major - RCA Victor Records. In September the first RCA Victor side by Savannah is released featuring the songs "It's No Sin" (a pop hit for both the Four Aces and Eddy Howard) and "I Don't Believe In Tomorrow" (an R & B hit for The Larks on Apollo) on #4280. Over the Labor Day weekend, Churchill stars at the Earle Theater in Philadelphia with Illinois Jacquet and his band. "Sin" becomes a big seller in New Orleans and Atlanta. "In Spite Of Everything You Do" and "Don't Grieve Don't Sorrow Don't Cry" with The Striders is released on RCA #4448 at the end of 1951.

In April of 1952 "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "My Affair" are released on RCA Victor #4583. During the summer RCA comes out with "Waiting For A Guy Named Joe" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" on #4773. In November RCA Victor releases "Walking By The River" and "If I Didn't Love You So" on #5031. That month Churchill does an extended engagement at the Club Alabam on Central Avenue in Watts, California, and returns to the club for another week in February 1953. In May Savannah does a turn at the Stage Coach Inn, in New Jersey, then goes to Philadelphia to star with Lester Young at the Academy of Music. In early August Churchill moves from one major label to another as she leaves RCA Victor and goes to Decca. Her first record for Decca is out in late August - a cover of Faye Adams "Shake A Hand" and "Shed A Tear" on Decca #28836. In October Savannah plays the Farm Dell in Cleveland, while her new record for Decca comes out which features the songs "Stay Out Of My Dreams" and "Peace Of Mind" on #28899.

Starting out in 1954 Churchill records "Last Night I Cried Over You" and "Weep My Heart" on Decca #28973. In March Churchill appears for a week at Detroit's famous Flame Show Bar. In May Savannah takes part in the return of live entertainment to the Club Zel-Mar in Philadelphia. In July "I Cried" and "My Memories Of You" are released on #29194 for Decca. There is one last recording for the Decca label which is released in November on #29262 that features the songs "The Gypsy Was Wrong" and "Just Whisper". Churchill returns to the Flame Show Bar in Detroit in December for a week. In early February of 1955 Savannah plays dates in Los Angeles including a stint at Robert Lee's Club. In May she does personal appearances for two weeks at the Orchid Room in Honolulu, Hawaii. Late in the year Leonard Chess announces that he has signed Savannah Churchill to his new Marterry label, and that recording sessions will commence early in the new year. In February of 1956 Chess discards the name Marterry for their new subsidiary label and eventually settle on Argo. In May "Let Me Be The First One To Know" and "They Call Me A Fool" is released on Argo #5251. Tragedy struck Churchill in the summer of 1956 as a result of a freak accident at a Brooklyn night club and left her hospitalized and then under medical care for a number of months. She did not record or make personal appearances for a couple of years.

Her last recorded efforts were for the Jamie label in 1960 with an LP album titled after her most successful song - "Time Out For Tears" (#3016). The label also released a single from the album featuring the title tune and "I Want To Be Loved" on jamie #1172. She made very few appearances after that and fell ill with pneumonia, and died from complications in April of 1974.

Her music survives on a few available CDs. "Queen Of R & B" for Jazz Classics, and "Una Mae Carlisle & Savannah Churchill : 1944" for Harlequin. The best and most complete are CDs made by the group harmony web site ( Vol. 1 covers the sides for Beacon, Capitol, and Manor labels from 1942-1949. Vol. 2 covers the Arco, Regal, RCA, and Decca sides from 1949-1956. A third CD from this source is made up only of tunes recorded with vocal groups (mainly the Four Tunes and The Striders) from the two volumes. There is one more interesting item for collectors - an aircheck from network radio from October of 1943 of the show "Jubilee" which featured The Delta Rhythm Boys, Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Joe Turner, and Savannah Churchill on this killer lineup.'s what I have..........give a listen:

And so I cry  SC and her Striders Regal 3313  (1951)
Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No)  SC and Group/Striders Arco 1259-A  (1950)
Don't Cry, Darling  (SC and The Four Tunes)  Arco 1236-A  (1950)
Dont Grieve, Don't Sorrow, Don't cry RCA Victor 20-4448-B  (1951)
Don't Worry 'Bout Me  SC and The Striders RCA Victor 20-4773  (1952)
Dont Grieve, Don't Sorrow, Don't cry RCA Victor 20-4448-B  (1951)
Fat meat is good meat Jimmy Lytell And His All Star Seven  Beacon 104A  (1942)
Foolishly yours SC and the Sentimentalists (alt. Four Tunes) Arco 1253 (1945)
I Can't Get Up The Nerve To Kiss you SC and The Five Kings
I Can't Get Enough Of You Manor 1014 A  (1945)
I Cried SC With Quartet Decca 29194  (1954)
If I Didn't Love You So SC and the Striders  RCA Victor 20-5031  (1952)
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry SC w/ The Striders RCA Victor 47-4583  (1952)
In Spite Of Everything You Do RCA Victor 20-4448-A  (1951)
It's Raining Down In Sunshine Lane  SC and the Four Tunes Manor 1152 A  (1948)
I Want To Be Loved Manor 1046-B  (1946)
Just A Baby's Prayer At Twilight Benny Carter Orch, Vocal By SC Capitol 165  (1943)
Let Me Be The First One To Know Argo 5251  (1956)
My Affair  SC/Striders RCA Victor 4583 (1952)
My Baby-kin  Lenny Herman Orch w/ SC Manor 1068-B  (1947)
My Memories Of You SC with Quartet  Decca 29194  (1954)
Once There Lived A Fool SC/Striders Regal 3309  (1950)
I'll never be free w/ The Red Norvo Quintet Arco 1202-A  (1949) **One of my fave songs that keeps popping up on so many of these**
Get yourself another guy Arco 1202-B  (1949)
Savannah sings the blues SC/The Four Tunes  Manor A-1724 (1949)
Time out for tears  SC/Four Tunes  Manor 1116A  (1947)
 I Don't Believe In Tomorrow SC/Four Tunes  RCA Victor 4280 (1951)
 It's no sin SC/Four Tunes  RCA Victor 4280 (1951)
Shake a hand Decca 28836  (1953)
Shed A Tear Decca 28836  (1953)
Sincerely Yours SC and the Five Kings Manor 1066  (1947)
Stay Out Of My Dreams SC/Ray Charles Singers Decca 28899  (1953)
Tell Me Your Blues An' I Will Tell You Mine  Jimmy Lytell/SC  Beacon 106B  (1942)
The Best Of Friends SC/ Four Tunes Columbia 30146  (1948)
The Devil Sat Down And Cried SC And Her Group [Striders]  Arco 1259B  (1950)
They Call Me A Fool  Argo 5251  (1956)
Too Blue To Cry Al Killian's Orchestra  Manor 1014B  (1945)
Waiting For A Guy Named Joe SC/Striders RCA Victor 4773 - 1952
Walking By The River RCA Victor 5031 (1952)
Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine - SC/Striders Regal 3313 (1951)
Weep My Heart SC/Ray Charles Singers Decca 28973  (1954)
When you came back to me SC/Striders Regal 3309  (1950)


  1. I thank you for Savannah tracks, but it's a pain to identify each mp3 in the way you choose to write the name of the tracks...

  2. Most of those Savannah tracks were sent to me from a friend who had obtained them from another source, who got them from 78s...surface noise, low bit rates, etc...including the hard to decipher tags. I apologize.

  3. keep posting like this it’s really very good idea, you are awesome!