#945 (2/13/21)

SPOTLIGHT ON LAVERN BAKER - PART TWO OF THREE (1954-1955)

"Tweedle Dee"/"Tomorrow Night"
by LaVern Baker And The Gliders
on Atlantic 1047
released in 1954

"That's All I Need"/"Bop-Ting-A-Ling"
by LaVern Baker And The Gliders
on Atlantic 1057
released in 1955

"Play It Fair"/"That Lucky Old Sun"
by LaVern Baker And The Gliders
on Atlantic 1075
released in 1955

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



Above: Two photos of LAVERN BAKER.

PITTSBURGH COURIER, April 2, 1955: WHEN YOU HEAR "TWEEDLE DE DEE", YOU GOTTA THINK OF LaVERNE BAKER
LOS ANGELES—Lovely LaVerne Baker, Chicago's latest gift to the recording world, captivated staid West Coasters during her brief appearance in Hollywood. Miss Baker, native Chicagoan, is no newcomer to showbiz, having made her professional debut at the Club DeLisa there.

Charles Isom predicted stardom for this talented singer seven years ago. Miss Baker, after years in night clubs throughout the country, finally hit the jackpot, record-wise with the current hit "Tweedle De Dee" [sic "Tweedle Dee"] via Atlantic Records. Winfield Scott of My Guys [sic "The Cues"] singing group penned the current popular tune and Miss Baker skyrocketed to fame and success via same.

The singing lass is under contract to Atlantic Records, having recently signed another three-year contract. She just cut a duo of sides for Atlantic, "That's All I Need" and "Great Day In The Morning" [sic "Bop-Ting-A-Ling"], which she hopes will have great success as a follow-up to "Tweedle De Dee".

Al Green, owner of Detroit's famed Flame Bar, is her manager, and she is booked through the Gale Agency. Mr. Green attests that Miss Baker, while emplyed at his popular nitery some years ago, taught Johnny [sic "Johnnie"] "Cry" Ray how to really belt a ballad.

The chirp is an only child and devotes all her spare time to caring for "Tweedle De Dee", an apricot-champagne colored French poodle since separating from her spouse. She resides in Detroit, but is kept busy traveling from one city to another.

(NOTE: At the time of "Tweedle Dee" her name was spelled "LaVern". She performed at the Timber Tap Lounge in Chicago prior to Club DeLisa. Charles Isom performed as an emcee and singer at Club DeLisa.)

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


Above: Label image for Atlantic 1047, both sides recorded on October 20, 1954 and the record released in November 1954. Later issues of this record had the title changed to "Tweedlee Dee". The composer, Winfield Scott, also wrote LaVern's next release on Atlantic, "Bop-Ting-A-Ling" and her 1956 side, "Fee Fee Fi Fo Fum".


(THE BILLBOARD—NOVEMBER 20, 1954)


(THE CASH BOX—NOVEMBER 27, 1954)

The Billboard Review (11/20/54):

LAVERN BAKER — Atlantic 1047....
Tweedle Dee
(80) Miss Baker, who still remains undiscovered by the mass of people, won't remain that way long if she keeps turning out disks like this one. Material, cute as can be, is a samba tempo. She sings up a storm for her best disk yet. Could break thru, too.
Tomorrow Night (77) The gal tackles the old Lonnie Johnson item for a big-sounding ballad reading which should get plenty of deejay and operator action.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good" and 80-89 "excellent".)

LISTEN—ALAN FREED SHOW (Windows Media Player):
(NOTE: Alan Freed introduces the song as "the original". He sings along at the very end of the song and is careful to mention the label, Atlantic Records, at the beginning and again at the end.)
"Tweedle Dee" - LaVern Baker - Atlantic 1047 - Alan Freed WINS Radio Show - February 12, 1955.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Tweedle Dee" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1047 - 1954.
2. "Tomorrow Night" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1047 - 1954.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.

THE BILLBOARD, March 5, 1955: LaVERN BAKER SEEKS BILL TO HALT ARRANGEMENT "THEFTS"
NEW YORK—LaVern Baker, Atlantic Records vocalist, this week appealed to Rep. Charles Diggs Jr. (D-Mich.) to study the possibilty of revising the Copyright Act of 1909 in order to protect singers from "modern-day pirates".

In a letter to the congressman, Miss Baker notes that she recorded "Tweedle Dee" on Atlantic several months ago. Georgia Gibbs and Vicki Young, she stated, "duplicated my arrangement note for note on records..." Miss Baker estimated she lost $15,000 in royalties because purchasers bought other versions of the tune, thinking it was hers. Miss Baker's letter highlights a problem that has caused tremendous controversy in the trade, namely, the duplication (rather than the covering) of successful disks....

THE CASH BOX, May 7, 1955: LaVERN BAKER COMPLAINT BRINGS CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
WASHINGTON—As a result of protests from singer Lavern Baker that other performers had duplicated her hit record, "Tweedle Dee", causing her to lose over $15,000 in royalties, Congressman Charles Diggs Jr. introduced a bill in Congress that is designed to prevent such actions in the future.

Miss Baker, who sprang into the spotlight with her version of "Tweedle Dee", claimed that Georgia Gibbs and other singers had lifted her exact arrangement and odd rhythm beat. She said that hundreds of her fans had told her that they bought these reproductions thinking it was hers.

After having the situation probed, Diggs drew up his House of Representatives Bill 5366 to create a Federal commission to study the copyright laws and to make recommendations for their revision....

Officials at Atlantic Records said the Lavern's "Tweedle Dee" has passed the 500,000 sales mark. Mercury Records has announced the award of a gold record, designating sale of one million records to Georgia Gibbs, for her version of "Tweedle Dee".

Miss Baker's newest release is "That's All I Need". Miss Gibbs has another song taken from the r&b field titled "Dance With Me Henry".
(NOTE: The flip of LaVern's "newest release", "Bop-Ting-A-Ling", is similar in style to "Tweedle Dee" and was written by the same composer.)


EXTRA AUDIO #1 (Windows Media Player): AL SEARS
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above Left: Label image for Herald H-448 released in 1955. "Progressive" is Atlantic Records' publishing firm.

Above Right: Photo of Al Sears. In the 1940s, Al Sears made a name for himself playing saxophone for Andy Kirk And His Clouds Of Joy, Lionel Hampton, and then the Duke Ellington Orchestra. As a fixture at Alan Freed's live shows, he became prominent as "Big" Al Sears in the mid-1950s. As part of Alan Freed And His Rock 'N' Roll Band, his most well-known record is probably "Right Now, Right Now," released on Coral in 1956. (This photo courtesy of Paul Ressler.)

The Cash Box Review (2/12/55):

AL SEARS - HERALD 448....
Tweedle Dee
(B+) The first instrumental version of the hit tune to come to this desk. Al Sears leads his Rock 'N Rollers through "Tweedle Dee" with a great sax reading. Should sell well and fill programming needs.
(NOTE: A rating of B+ was considered "excellent".)

The Billboard Review (2/19/55):

AL SEARS ORK - HERALD 448....
Tweedle Dee
(76) The hit tune receives a rocking instrumental reading here by the Al Sears ork, with Sears featured on tenor sax. It's a good side and has a chance for a share of the loot on the tune.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"Tweedle Dee" - Al Sears And His Rock 'N' Rollers - Herald H-448 - 1955 [Instrumental].


Above: LaVern Baker accepting The Cash Box Award for "Most Promising Female Rhythm And Blues Vocalist Of 1955". It is presented by (Left) Norman Orleck and (Right) Marty Ostrow, both of The Cash Box magazine.

Above: Label image for Atlantic 1057, both sides recorded on February 20, 1955 and the record released in April 1955. This song was composed by Lincoln Chase, who recorded it two weeks prior to LaVern, and was released by him on Columbia Records, also in April 1955. Somehow, Baker and Biggs were added to the Atlantic label's composer credits. Howard Biggs was often an Atlantic Records orchestra leader and piano player. Possibly it is Biggs or his orchestra backing LaVern on this record.

The flip, "Bop-Ting-A-Ling", was composed by Winfield Scott, who also had composed the similar "Tweedle Dee".


(THE BILLBOARD—APRIL 1955)


(THE CASH BOX—APRIL 9, 1955)

The Billboard Review Spotlight (4/9/55):

LAVERN BAKER — Atlantic 1057.... That's All I Need (89)/Bop-Ting-A-Ling (86)
Here's one that conceivably could top the thrush's current smash "Tweedle Dee". Both sides are potent, with "That's All I Need" very likely to score in the pop field as well as r.&b. It's a strongly produced rhythm ballad, with effective chorus and orking. "Bop" is a lively item with a Latin rhythm that's an obvious follow-up in the "Tweedle Dee" idiom.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 80-89 was considered "excellent".)

The Billboard Best Buys (4/23/55):

LAVERN BAKER — Atlantic 1057.... Bop-Ting-A-Ling/That's All I Need
The solid set of sales reports returned from almost all parts of the country on this disk indicate that retailers and operators must be expecting a repeat performance of "Tweedle Dee". Operators generally and Southern retailers have been particularly keen about "Bop-Ting-A-Ling", while the pop quality of the flip has given that side a strong appeal in the North.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "That's All I Need" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1057 - 1955.
2. "Bop-Ting-A-Ling" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1057 - 1955.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


EXTRA AUDIO #2 (Windows Media Player): THAT'S ALL I NEED
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above Left: Label image for Columbia 40475 recorded on February 4, 1955 and released on April 4, 1955. The Sandmen back up Lincoln Chase vocally. Lincoln Chase also composed the flip-side, "The Message", as well as "Salty Tears" Chuck Willis (1952), "Rain Down Rain" Big Maybelle (1952), "Such A Night" Drifters (1953), "Mend Your Ways" and "Please Don't Freeze" Ruth Brown (1953,54), "Jim Dandy" LaVern Baker (1956), etc. Also, two top ten hits in the 1960's with "The Nitty Gritty" and "The Name Game", both sung by Shirley Ellis (1963,64).

Above Middle: Label image for Mercury 70619 released in April 1955. The name of the vocal group backing Rusty Draper is not credited on the label. This version shows "Chase-Baker" as composers, but not "Biggs".

Above Right: Photo of Rusty Draper.

(Above photo courtesy of Furman Haynes and Bill Proctor.)

Above Left: THE BILLBOARD, April 23, 1955.

Above Right: 1955 Photo of The Sandmen (Top L-R) Furman Haynes (baritone), Walter Springer (2nd tenor), Benjamin Peay [Brook Benton] (lead), and (Bottom) Adriel McDonald (bass). Furman Haynes had been second tenor with The 4 Deep Tones. Brook Benton was soon to become a big star singer for the Mercury label. Adriel McDonald had been the bass singer for The Ink Spots.

The Sandmen also had three records on Columbia's subsidiary Okeh, all in 1955, one backing Chuck Willis on one side.

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

RENO GAZETTE JOURNAL, April 9, 1955: RUSTY DRAPER STARS AT MAPES HOTEL
Packing 180 pounds of driving energy into a lean six-foot frame, Rusty Draper, the Mercury recording star, is now appearing in the Skyroom of the Mapes Hotel. Rusty writes most of his own material and is an accomplished musician. In addition to his electric guitar, which is an integral part of his act and was specially built for him, Rusty plays the electric ukelele, banjo, and mandolin.... Draper is a tremendous showman, a terrific voice stylist, and a bright new star.

THE BILLBOARD, May 28, 1955:
....Songwriter Lincoln Chase, who teed off "That's All I Need" and "The Message" on his first Columbia vocal date, is readying four more original tunes for his second session.

The Billboard Review (4/16/55):

LINCOLN CHASE - COLUMBIA 40475....
That's All I Need
(75) Chase sings one of his own compositions here, a tune with clever lyrics and an r.&b. beat.
On the basis of material alone, this could stir up a lot of noise.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good".)
The Cash Box Review (4/30/55):
LINCOLN CHASE - COLUMBIA 40475....
That's All I Need
(B) An imaginative piece of tune stuff, a song that's breaking in both pop and blues, is chanted to a beaty backdrop by its composer. A threat.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good".)

The Cash Box Review (5/7/55):

RUSTY DRAPER - MERCURY 70619....
That's All I Need
(B) A rock and roll click that's being widely covered in pop, gets a colorful styling from Rusty Draper. Exciting rhythm number that has hit qualities.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good". The flip, "Eatin' Goober Peas", rated a B+ "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "That's All I Need" - Lincoln Chase And The Sandmen - Columbia 40475 - 1955.
2. "That's All I Need" - Rusty Draper And Vocal Group - Mercury 70619 - 1955.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


Above: LaVern Baker enjoying a smile with a friend.

Above: LaVern Baker on stage singing to her audience.

Above: Label image for Atlantic 1075, both sides recorded on July 14, 1955 and the record released in September 1955. The flip-side is "That Lucky Old Sun".
From this point, LaVern Baker would have only two more records with The Gliders.


(THE BILLBOARD—OCTOBER 1955)

(DANVILLE, VIRGINIA, POSTER—OCTOBER 1955)


(THE CASH BOX—NOVEMBER 27, 1955)

The Billboard Review Spotlight (9/24/55):

LAVERN BAKER — Atlantic 1057.... Play It Fair/Lucky Old Sun
The thrush has a sock two-sided hit, which should grab off plenty of juke and jockey spins. "Play It Fair" is an appealing rhythmic-pleader, with the gal shouting the moving lyrics with attractive vitality. The flip spotlights an impressive vocal performance in a strong spiritual vein on the great oldie.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Play It Fair" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1075 - 1955.
2. "That Lucky Old Sun" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1075 - 1955.

BOTH SONGS played in sequence.


EXTRA AUDIO #3 (Windows Media Player): THAT LUCKY OLD SUN
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above Left: Label image for Sittin' in with 524 released on August 1949.

Above Middle: Photo of Herb Lance. (This photo courtesy of Paul Ressler.)

Above Right: Label image for Decca 24752 recorded on September 6, 1949 and released in October 1949.

At Far Right: The Beavers from 1950: (L-R) Dick Palmer (tenor), Howard Biggs (pianist, composer, arranger), Ray Johnson (bass), John Wilson (lead baritone), and Fred Hamilton (lead tenor). (This photo courtesy of Marv Goldberg.)

This was The Beavers' first record. They also had three releases on Coral (1949-50) and one on Decca as The Hamptones (1950).

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

Above Left: THE CASH BOX, September 10, 1949.

Above Right: THE CASH BOX AWARD O' THE WEEK, September 10, 1949.

Above Left: 1947 Photo of Louis Armstrong.

Above Middle: The Rhythmaires from the Honolulu Star Bulletin dated 10/1/49.

Above Right: Photo of Herb Lance. He recorded for the Sittin' in with label from 1948 to 1951, then moved to Columbia/Okeh in 1951 and on to Mercury in December 1951, Bruce in 1954 and DeLuxe in 1957. While with Sittin' in with he had at least one other side with vocal group backing.

Above Left: Label image for Signature Hi-Tone 232-A released in 1949.

Above Middle: Picture of Jimmy Saunders from the Philadelphia Inquirer dated 10/19/49.

Above Right: Label image for Mercury 5316 recorded on June 14, 1949 and released in August 1949.


(THE CASH BOX—AUGUST 27, 1949)

Above Left: Label image for Vocalion 55035 released in September 1949.

Above Middle: Picture of Lee Shearin and Delores Marshall from the Chicago Tribune dated 10/2/55. Both Lee and Delores were featured singers with the Chuck Foster Orchestra.

Above Right: Picture of Chuck Foster from the Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) dated 3/4/49.

(NOTE: Other artists to have records of "That Lucky Old Sun" in 1949 are: Tood Manners, Varsity; Dean Martin, Capitol; Bob Houston, M-G-M; Vaughn Monroe Orchestra, Victor; Sarah Vaughn, Columbia; Frank Sinatra, Columbia; and Hot Lips Page, Harmony.)

THE BILLBOARD, August 27, 1949: JOCK PLUGS PLENTY LUCKY FOR "LUCKY"
HOLLYWOOD—Proof of disk jockey power in plugging a song—if further evidence is needed—was again seen last week when sheet music sales of "Lucky Old Sun" soared to 4,700 in one week in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle stands soley on the strength of deejays spinning the Frankie Laine disk....Disking is expected to be Laine's biggest hit to date, with unofficial figures showing a sale for Mercury of 155,000 in ten days....

THE CASH BOX, September 3, 1949:
....Bob Shad of Sittin' In label has something out of this world in Herb Lance's "That Lucky Old Sun"...should zoom to top spot in all race jukes....

DAYTON DAILY NEWS, October 15, 1950: FOSTER BAND PLAYS HERE
....The "Music in the Foster Fashion" is noted for its "sweet" qualities and the band has had successful runs at the nation's best hotels. Vocalist with the orchestra is Lee Shearin.

The Billboard Review (9-3-49):
FRANKIE LAINE - MERCURY 5316....
That Lucky Old Sun
(89) Laine is in fine form for the quasi-work song that appears headed for big things.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 80-89 was considered "excellent".)
The Billboard Review (9-17-49):
HERB LANCE - CASTLE 524....
That Lucky Old Sun
(86) A truly tremendous rendition of the song, with Lance building to smash climax. Big sound from a quartet and small combo in back.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 80-89 was considered "excellent".)
The Billboard Picks (9-17-49):
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - DECCA 24752....
That Lucky Old Sun
This is an inspired recording—a remarkable mating of talents on a song which already is making its mark via the Frankie Laine etching. Louis, who at 50 is greater than ever, sings the fine song in his gravel-throat voice with tremendous feeling. Gordon Jenkins Ork backing, a small band with a large choir, sets a perfect contrast and builds a fine production. This etching should give Laine a run for the money.

At Far Right: Lee Shearin close-up from Dayton Daily News dated 10/15/50.

The Cash Box Review (10-8-49):
CHUCK FOSTER ORK - VOCALION 55035....
That Lucky Old Sun
Chuck Foster and his gang step to the mike to offer their rendition of... "Lucky Old Sun". The side has been well recorded and should be fairly well known to music operators. It has Lee Shearin warbling the strong lyrics of the current pop hit. Ops who haven't as yet caught the song might listen in.
The Billboard Review (10-15-49):
CHUCK FOSTER ORK - VOCALION 55035....
That Lucky Old Sun
(72) Lee Shearin does a good vocal turn in this dance rendition of the smash hit.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good".)
The Billboard Review (11-12-49):
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - DECCA 24752....
That Lucky Old Sun
(88) A standout Armstrong vocal and the usual smart Gordon Jenkins production backing make this an excellent entry in the "Sun" stakes.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 80-89 was considered "excellent".)

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Herb Lance And Vocal Group (The Beavers) - Sittin' in with 524 - 1949.
2. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Louis Armstrong And Chorus - Decca 24752 - 1949.
3. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Jimmy Saunders And The Riddlers - Signature Hi-Tone 232-A - 1949.
4. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Frankie Laine And The Rhythmaires - Mercury 5316 - 1949.
5. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Chuck Foster Orhestra (Vocal By Lee Shearin And The Foster Foursome) - Vocalion 55035 - 1949.

ALL FIVE SONGS played in sequence.

(NOTE: If so inclined, please tell me which of the six versions of "That Lucky Old Sun" you favor.
Use the email link near the bottom of this webpage. It will be very interesting to hear from you. Thank you.
)


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. "Tweedle Dee" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1047 - 1954.
          2. "Tomorrow Night" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1047 - 1954.
          3. "Tweedle Dee" - Al Sears And His Rock 'N' Rollers - Herald H-448 - 1955.
          4. "That's All I Need" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1057 - 1955.
          5. "Bop-Ting-A-Ling" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1057 - 1955.
          6. "That's All I Need" - Lincoln Chase And The Sandmen - Columbia 40475 - 1955.
          7. "That's All I Need" - Rusty Draper And Vocal Group - Mercury 70619 - 1955.
          8. "Play It Fair" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1075 - 1955.
          9. "That Lucky Old Sun" - LaVern Baker And The Gliders - Atlantic 1075 - 1955.
        10. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Herb Lance And Vocal Group (The Beavers) - Sittin' in with 524 - 1949.
        11. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Louis Armstrong And Chorus - Decca 24752 - 1949.
        12. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Jimmy Saunders And The Riddlers - Signature Hi-Tone 232-A - 1949.
        13. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Frankie Laine And The Rhythmaires - Mercury 5316 - 1949.
        14. "That Lucky Old Sun" - Chuck Foster Orhestra (Vocal By Lee Shearin And The Foster Foursome) - Vocalion 55035 - 1949.
 
          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).
(Above link will open in separate windows)

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