#946 (3/20/21)

SPOTLIGHT ON LAVERN BAKER - PART THREE OF THREE (1956-1958)

"Fee Fee Fi Fo Fum"/"I'll Do The Same For You"
by LaVern Baker And The Gliders
on Atlantic 1093
released in 1956

"Still"/"I Can't Love You Enough"
by LaVern Baker
on Atlantic 1104
released in 1956

"Humpty Dumpty Heart"/"Love Me Right"
by LaVern Baker
on Atlantic 1150
released in 1957

Includes Audio For Fourteen Songs And One Video
(Audio Restored By Dave Saviet - Images Restored By Tony Fournier)



Above: Two photos of LAVERN BAKER.

THE BILLBOARD, December 15, 1958: LaVERN BAKER A HIT AT HOME AND ABROAD
LaVern Baker was born on November 11, 1929 in Chicago. On her 17th birthday, she signed a contract that brought her into Chicago's Club DeLisa. The thrush's next stop was Detroit's Flame Show Bar. Club manager Al Green originally signed her for two weeks, but held her over and signed her to a personal management contract.

Miss Baker left the Flame to tour and record with the Todd Rhodes band. Later, she decided to try her luck abroad. After six successful months in Europe she returned home. In 1954 the artist began recording for Atlantic.

During 1956 and 1957 Miss Baker junketed from continent to continent, bringing rhythm and blues to the far corners of the world. She appeared a year or so ago in the film "Rock, Rock, Rock".

HARTFORD COURANT, February 21, 1956:
LaVern Baker... is making popular the record "Play It Fair" (and how she belts it out!). She is some girl... Husky... Individual... Business like, and I'd say has great strength of character... She gave Johnnie Ray pointers on how to belt out his songs, too. "Met him in my manager's night club" she says, "And liked the lad, so helped him"....

LaVern is in love with her business. Show business. "I used to get lonesome but then I got a dog. Believe it or not, he is swell company. I have a travelling companion, but generally speaking, in show business, you have to get accustomed to being alone and liking it, or you're sunk" she says....

She's prettier off-stage. Her hair which looks top-heavy on-stage, looks okay off-stage. Asked if she went for rock 'n roll she said "Nope, only enough to get by. Real music, tune and story is what I need to make people feel, laugh, or cry". She's a humorist without knowing it. A sudden limp, a sudden gesture, a wink, a pout, and she transforms herself into a new character.

She has been married, but apparently believes "he travels faster who travels alone"....

I think LaVern Baker will be much in our theatrical news from here on in, and so it's nice knowing about her... Her records... Her TV appearances... And because the time is ripe now for a new singer of her race to make the others move over... So here comes LaVern Baker... And soon we shall see.

Oh, yes, she's been in the business all her life. She's the right side of 30 and she's pretty....

BLACK DISPATCH (Oklahoma City), August 30, 1957: LAVERN BAKER ON TV SHOW
NEW YORK—Singer LaVern Baker was signed for two appearances on Ed Sullivan's CBS-TV show, the first date on August 25. She's receiving a reported $5,000 for the engagements.

Click HERE for an article about Lavern Baker by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)


Above: Label image for Atlantic 1093, this side recorded on December 21, 1955, the flip, "I'll Do The Same For You", recorded on January 10, 1956, and the record released in April 1956. The composer, Winfield Scott, also wrote two of LaVern's previous releases on Atlantic, "Tweedle Dee" (1954) and "Bop-Ting-A-Ling" (1955).


(THE BILLBOARD—APRIL 1956)


(THE CASH BOX—MAY 5, 1956)

The Billboard Review (5/5/56):

LAVERN BAKER — ATLANTIC 1093....
Fee Fee Fi Fo Fum
(80) Here's an infectious medium tempo job in the "Tweedle Dee" tradition, penned by the same writer. Gal rocks along with a solid band back-up for a strong commercial entry. This will get plays for sure.
I'll Do The Same For You (77) Miss Baker belts an expressive plea, set to a slow, persuasive beat. Those lusty shouts make things drip with feeling.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good" and 80-89 "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Fee Fee Fi Fo Fum" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1093 - 1956.
2. "I'll Do The Same For You" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1093 - 1956.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.



Above Far Left: DAILY NEWS, April 10, 1955.

Above Near Left: DAILY NEWS, April 8, 1955.

Directly Above: NEW YORK AGE, April 9, 1955.

LaVERN BAKER stars in Alan Freed's Brooklyn Paramount Gala Stage Show, accompanied by EDDIE FONTAINE and DANNY OVERBEA, among others.



LISTEN (Windows Media Player):
Alan Freed's Camel Rock And Roll Dance Party With LaVern Baker And The Teenagers, April 14, 1956.
LaVern sings "Play It Fair" and "Tweedle Dee". The Teenagers sing "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" and "Please Be Mine".


EXTRA AUDIO #1 (Windows Media Player): EDDIE FONTAINE WITH THE EXCELS
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above Left: MORNING CALL, September 14, 1957:
EDDIE FONTAINE"—This popular recording artist has two big records, "Cool It, Baby" and "A Baby Ruth And A Prayer". He will appear at the Greater Allentown Fair. He has just completed a tour of Europe and North Africa and appeared in Jayne Mansfield's film hit "The Girl Can't Help It".

Above Middle: Label image for "X" Records X-0096, released in 1955. Other artists with records of "Rock Love" include Lula Reed (King), Elaine Gay (DeLuxe), The Fontane Sisters (Dot), Dolores Gray (Decca), Bill Farrell (Mercury), and Teresa Brewer (Coral). The composer, Henry Glover, was one of King/DeLuxe Records' top A&R men.

Above Right: Label image for "X" Records X-0108, released in 1955. "I Miss You So" was first released by The Cats And The Fiddle in 1940 and penned by Jimmy Henderson, the first tenor in that group.

At Far Right: THE CASH BOX, April 16, 1955: CHICAGO GATHERING
CHICAGO—Linn Burton is shown here enjoying his role as host to Joan Weber, Frankie Lester, and Eddie Fontaine [far right in picture], as well as unidentified friend. Joan was then at the Chicago Theater; Frank was in town for "In Town Tonight"; and Eddie was here for a youth rally.

We've since learned that Eddie, whose initial "X" disk as well as his latest "I Miss You So" are making noise, will open at the Chicago Theater April 29. Linn Burton's Steak House, where this photo was taken, is a "must" on the list of visiting celebs.

TAYLOR DAILY PRESS (Texas), January 26, 1955:
Eddie Fontaine makes his debut next week on Label X, in a rock-and-roll bit called "Rock Love".... A song-writer friend, Vaughn Horton, arranged an audition for Fontaine with X Records last Friday. The result was considered so good, that he was summoned Sunday night for a rush recording session in the wee hours of Monday morning.
(NOTE: Vaughn Horton composed, among other hits, "Mockin' Bird Lane".)

The Cash Box Review (3/26/55):

EDDIE FONTAINE - "X" 0108....
On Bended Knee
(B+) Eddie Fontaine, who made a strong first showing with his "Rock Love", has another rock 'n' roll item that could make a heap of noise.
Exciting vocal, loaded with zest.
I Miss You So (B) The ace songster takes hold of a pop favorite and fashions it to a rhythm and blues reading. Two powerful decks. Good nickel grabbers.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good" and B+ "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Rock Love" - Eddie Fontaine With The Excels - "X" X-0096 - 1955.
2. "I Miss You So" - Eddie Fontaine With The Excels - "X" X-0108 - 1955.
3. "On Bended Knee" - Eddie Fontaine With The Excels - "X" X-0108 - 1955.

ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence.

THE CASH BOX COVER, March 10, 1956: (NOTE: Eddie Fontaine is third from the left. Teddy Randazzo is sixth from the left. Notice the 45-rpm record on top of the cake.)
Inscription: "Vik Records celebrates its second anniversary with songstress Giselle MacKenzie cutting the birthday cake. Starting its new year with new administrative personnel, new artists and several new hits, the RCA subsidiary label, formerly called X, is off to a flying start in 56.

Marking the occasion are (front row left to right) : Vik sales manager Ben Rosner; Larry Kanaga, vice president and general manager, RCA Victor Division; Eddie Fontaine; Joe Valino; The Boys Next Door with Frankie Lester in front of them; Giselle MacKenzie; Richard Maltby; and Herman Diaz, manager of artists and repertoire for the new label. In the back row are The Chuckles, Teddy, Tommy and Russ."

THE BILLBOARD, April 11, 1953: NEW LABEL TO BE LAUNCHED IN FALL
NEW YORK—Next September RCA Victor will introduce a brand new record label, The Billboard learned exclusively this week. The new label, as yet unnamed, will be competitive in every field except classical with its parent label, RCA Victor, and will be sold thru independent distributors thruout the country....

The final decision to market this new line, which is called label "X" for the purpose of this story, came this week.... Label "X" will operate completely independent of the parent label. It will have its own sales force and recording staff. It will have its own roster of artists....

The only decision reached thus far about the name for label "X" is that it will not be Bluebird. Bluebird has been RCA Victor's subsidiary label for some years, but has always been marketed by regular RCA Victor distributors. The elimination of Bluebird from consideration is believed to be because this label is presently used both for low-priced classic and kiddie records....


(THE BILLBOARD—MARCH 12, 1955)

Above Left: ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, May 9, 1955.         Above Right: FORT LAUDERDALE NEWS, November 21, 1956    [NOTE: After leaving "X"/Vik in 1956, Eddie Fontaine moved to the Decca label.].


EXTRA AUDIO #2 (Windows Media Player): DANNY OVERBEA
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above Left: Label image for Checker 784, recorded in October 1953 and released in December 1953. The band backs Danny vocally on this one.

Above Middle: Label image for Checker 774, recorded in April 1953 and released in June 1953.

Above Right: Label image for Checker 788, recorded in November 1953 and released in February 1954.

Above: Photo of Danny Overbea, who was a rhythm and blues singer, guitarist, composer, and band leader.

At Left: THE CASH BOX, June 20, 1953.


(THE CASH BOX—JUNE 20, 1953)

TAMPA BAY TIMES, November 16, 1954: STAR-STUDDED ATTRACTION BOOKED HERE
TAMPA—One of the biggest star-studded attractions slated to appear in this area this season will play here at Manhattan Casino Friday night. The attraction, headed by blues singer deluxe Dinah Washington, will feature some of the country's top musicians.

Augmenting the program with Dinah will be Cootie Williams, world famous trumpet player, the Checkers, a popular male vocal group, and guitarist Danny Overbea....

Danny Overbea, who hails from Chicago, is a guitarist without peers. While playing the Regal Theatre in Chicago recently, the audience demanded that he do nine encores even though he was slated for a guest spot only....

At Far Right: THE BILLBOARD, February 13, 1954. [Checker Records clipping for Danny Overbea's "Stomp And Whistle"/"Ebony Chant".]

The Billboard Review Spotlight (2/27/54):

DANNY OVERBEA - CHECKER 788....
Stomp And Whistle/Ebony Chant
Two potent cuttings by the warbler. "Stomp" is a swinging tune, and a good one to jump into the pop field via a band arrangement. The flip is also a wild hunk of material. Both op coin-grabbers.

The Billboard Review (3/6/54):

DANNY OVERBEA - CHECKER 788....
Ebony Chant
(81) Here's a most unusual etching by Overbea. Tune is a pulsating bluesy effort, and the warbler sells it via some listenable, wordless chanting over a gutty backing. A solid side.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 80-89 was considered "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "40 Cups Of Coffee" - Danny Overbea - Checker 774 - 1953.
2. "I Could, But I Won't" - Danny Overbea - Checker 784 - 1953.
3. "Ebony Chant" - Danny Overbea - Checker 788 - 1954.

ALL THREE SONGS played in sequence.


(DANNY OVERBEA)

Above: Label image for Atlantic 1104, both sides recorded on June 14, 1956 and the record released in August 1956. LaVern is added as co-composer on the flip, "I Can't Love You Enough", along with Burton-Plummer.


(THE BILLBOARD—SEPTEMBER 8, 1956)


(THE CASH BOX—SEPTEMBER 1, 1956)

The Billboard Review Spotlight (9/1/56):

LAVERN BAKER — ATLANTIC 1104....
I Can't Love You Enough
Miss Baker offers a ballad set to a brisk rock and roll beat, and styled so the singer's pop and r.&b. following will be equally pleased. On the flip, "Still", thrush also has an attractive ballad with a pretty melody.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Still" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1104 - 1956.
2. "I Can't Love You Enough" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1104 - 1956.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


EXTRA AUDIO #3 (Windows Media Player): CLYDE McPHATTER
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above Left: Photo of Clyde McPhatter. He previously was lead tenor for The Dominoes on Federal Records and The Drifters on Atlantic Records.

Above Right: Label image for Atlantic 1092, both sides recorded on March 4, 1956. The record was released in April 1956.


(THE BILLBOARD—JULY 28, 1956)


(THE CASH BOX—MAY 5, 1956)

At Far Left: THE CASH BOX, April 28, 1956.

The Billboard Review Spotlight (4/28/56):

CLYDE McPHATTER — ATLANTIC 1092....
Treasure Of Love/When You're Sincere
Here's another great two-sided disk by the velvet-voiced McPhatter. The Warbler sings with poignancy and feeling on "Treasure Of Love", an attractive ballad, while the flip—another pretty ballad—is also handed a smooth, listenable vocal treatment. McPhatter is backed by a pop vocal group and a big band. The disk should move in pop as well as r.&b.

The Billboard Best Buy (5/12/56):

CLYDE McPHATTER — ATLANTIC 1092....
Treasure Of Love
McPhatter, out of the army only about as long as his latest record has been available to the public, is getting a resounding welcome back to civilian life. His fans are snowballing "Treasure" into a big hit for him. ....Strong sales to both pop and r.&b.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Treasure Of Love" - Clyde McPhatter (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1092 - 1956.
2. "When You're Sincere" - Clyde McPhatter (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1092 - 1956.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

[The above photo provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger.]

Above: Photo of Clyde McPhatter With Ruth Brown And LaVern Baker.

Above: Photo of (L-R) Jerry Wexler, Ruth Brown, Clyde McPhatter, LaVern Baker, Ahmet Ertegun. Wexler and Ertegun were Atlantic Records executives.


LAVERN BAKER VIDEO:

Above: Two still shots from the 1957 movie "Mister Rock And Roll". In this movie, LaVern Baker sings "Humpty Dumpty Heart" and "Love Me Right". She also appeared in the 1956 movie "Rock, Rock, Rock!" singing "Tra La La".

WATCH the VIDEO of LaVern Baker singing "Love Me Right" in MP4 format.
(Will open in a new window)


MISTER ROCK AND ROLL POSTER

ROCK, ROCK, ROCK! POSTER


WAUSAU DAILY HERALD — DECEMBER 20, 1957

SPOKESMAN REVIEW — MARCH 3, 1957
Above: Currently "ROCK, ROCK, ROCK"-ing at the Orpheum are several rock 'n' roll recording artists, presented by master of ceremonies Alan Freed. They include the Moonglows, Jimmy Cavallo, Johnny Burnette, and LaVern Baker. Tuesday Weld plays an adolescent who lends money at a high interest rate to get a prom dress.
(NOTE: In the above photo are LaVern Baker and Sam "The Man" Taylor. Sam was the leader and saxophonist of Alan Freed's Rock 'N' Roll Band. Tuesday Weld made her debut in this movie.)

Above Left: NEW YORK AGE, June 30, 1956.

Above Right: LaVern Baker from an April 1957 Atlantic Records advertisement.


Above: Label image for Atlantic 1150, this side recorded on February 9, 1957, the flip, "Love Me Right", recorded on March 15, 1957, and the record released in July 1957.

(THE CASH BOX—JULY 20, 1957)


(THE CASH BOX—AUGUST 3, 1957)
(NOTE: The correct record number is 1150. The shown 1140 is a record by Ruth Brown.)

The Billboard Review Spotlight (7/29/57):

LAVERN BAKER — ATLANTIC 1150....
Humpty Dumpty Heart
Gay, bouncy tune from the forthcoming pic "Mr. Rock And Roll" is a strong effort. Usual exuberant delivery by Miss Baker should click both pop and r.&b. The attractive flip is "Love Me Right".

The Billboard R&B Best Buys (8/26/57):

LAVERN BAKER — ATLANTIC 1150....
Humpty Dumpty Heart
The platter is moving strongly in all the top r.&b. markets and is also doing well in pop marts. Flip is "Love Me Right".

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Humpty Dumpty Heart" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1150 - 1957.
2. "Love Me Right" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1150 - 1957.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


Above Left: JET MAGAZINE, Date Unknown: $15,000 TUNE
Clad in mink coats valued at a total of $15,000, singers Dinah Washington and LaVern Baker team to belt out a tune in a Chicago bistro. Miss Washington's coat was a Christmas present from an "admirer", Miss Baker's was a gift from comic Slappy White. (NOTE: LaVern was married to Slappy White throughout most of the 1960s.)

Above Right: LaVern Baker.

Above Left: THE CASH BOX, August 10, 1957: LAVERN BAKER TEAMS UP WITH COMIC
NEW YORK—The angry looking lass is the dynamic Atlantic Records belter, LaVern Baker, and the worried looking fellow is Stump of the famous comedy team of Stump and Stumpy. Miss Baker has teamed with Stump, their most recent appearance being at the New York Apollo Theatre. LaVern's current Atlantic deck is "Humpty Dumpty Heart".

Above Right: THE CASH BOX, June 29, 1957: LAVERN IN SPIDER'S WEBB
BALTIMORE—During a recent stand at the Royal Theatre, this city, LaVern Baker was the subject of a street interview by Frank "Spider" Graham of WEBB-Baltimore. LaVern is sitting on a Gold Cadillac supplied by one of Graham's sponsors, Royal Crown. Miss Baker's current Atlantic Records hit is "Jim Dandy Got Married".

Above Left: PITTSBURGH COURIER, OCTOBER 13, 1956: THANKS, PAL!
LaVern Baker mugs for her dog, Tweedle-Dee, named after the hit record she made, and famed singer Johnnie Ray, who has given her much credit for helping when he was a struggling artist. He has always shown his appreciation by giving her a featured spot on vaudeville shows he headlines.

Above Right: JET MAGAZINE, August 7, 1958: PAINFUL PRESS
After an operation to remove a heart-shaped tattoo from her arm, singer LaVern Baker (right) grimaces with fake pain at touch of blues belter Dinah Washington in New York's Birdland Cafe. Eight layers of skin were removed. [This article was provided by Dan Kochakian.]

Above Left: Sam "The Man" Taylor and LaVern Baker from 1957.

Above Right: THE CASH BOX, December 27, 1958.


LAVERN BAKER (1959—1996):
Above Left: ARIZONA REPUBLIC (Phoenix), January 4, 1959:
Four weeks ago we told you to watch LaVern Baker's "I Cried A Tear". It's finally happening everyplace but Phoenix.

Above Right: GREENVILLE NEWS (South Carolina), March 22, 1959:
LaVern Baker, blues singer, will be featured in the Big Show Of Stars to appear in Greenville Memorial Auditorium April 2.

(NOTE: By her look in the above pictures, LaVern seems happy about the Phoenix remark, but surprised about the Greenville gig.)

Above Left: THE RECORD (Hackensack, NJ), May 16, 1988: LaVern Baker performing at "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll.

Above Middle Left: ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, March 29, 1968.

Above Middle Right: ORLANDO SENTINEL, May 26, 1966.

Above Right: PITTSBURGH COURIER, December 4, 1965.

Above Left: NEWS AND OBSERVER, December 23, 1990: One of the female leads in "Black And Blue".

Above Right: DAILY NEWS, July 16, 1990: Dressed to kill—LaVern Baker backstage at the Miniskoff.




At Far Left: VINCENNES SUN COMMERCIAL (Indiana), May 17, 1970.

At Direct Middle: VINCENNES SUN COMMERCIAL, May 3, 1970.

Directly Above: VINCENNES SUN COMMERCIAL, June 24, 1970.

(Notice the references to LaVern's comedic abilities...a multi-talented lady.)



(JET MAGAZINE—DECEMBER 23, 1996)

NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.


Listen to all this week's selections using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. "Fee Fee Fi Fo Fum" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1047 - 1954.
          2. "I'll Do The Same For You" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1093 - 1956.
          3. "Rock Love" - Eddie Fontaine With The Excels - "X" X-0096 - 1955.
          4. "I Miss You So" - Eddie Fontaine With The Excels - "X" X-0108 - 1955.
          5. "On Bended Knee" - Eddie Fontaine With The Excels - "X" X-0108 - 1955.
          6. "40 Cups Of Coffee" - Danny Overbea - Checker 774 - 1953.
          7. "I Could, But I Won't" - Danny Overbea - Checker 784 - 1953.
          8. "Ebony Chant" - Danny Overbea - Checker 788 - 1954.
          9. "Still" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1104 - 1956.
        10. "I Can't Love You Enough" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1104 - 1956.
        11. "Treasure Of Love" - Clyde McPhatter (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1092 - 1956.
        12. "When You're Sincere" - Clyde McPhatter (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1092 - 1956.
        13. "Humpty Dumpty Heart" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1150 - 1957.
        14. "Love Me Right" - LaVern Baker (With Vocal Group) - Atlantic 1150 - 1957.
 
          ALL FOURTEEN ABOVE SONGS played in sequence.
 
          ALL SIX SONGS ABOVE BY LAVERN BAKER played in sequence.


           [To download audio files, right-click on song title link and then select "Save link (target) as..."]



CLICK HERE for SPOTLIGHT ON LAVERN BAKER - PART ONE (1950-1954).
CLICK HERE for SPOTLIGHT ON LAVERN BAKER - PART TWO (1954-1955).
(Above links will open in separate windows)

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