Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#564 (Week of 4/19/08 - 4/25/08) [Upgraded on 10/21/19 and 10/7/17]


"Those Magic Words"/
"I Wonder What It Takes To Make Me Happy"
by Ann Nichols And The Bluebirds
on Sittin' in with 561
released in 1950

"Let Me Know"/
"Lost In A Fog Over You"
by Ann Nichols And Vocal Quartette
on Sittin' in with 552
released in 1950

"Lover I'm Waiting For You"/
"I'm Sixteen Years"
by Ann Nichols And The Sentimentals
on Tuxedo 926
released in 1958

Above: 1950 photo signed by Ann Nichols.

Inscription on photo: "To Ed - It's been real pleasant here at the Towne - See you real soon! Sincerely, Ann Nichols 11/16/50" (This refers to Eddie Ehrhardt, proprietor of the Towne Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. The Towne at that time featured both stripper and singing acts.)



Pittsburgh Courier, August 28, 1954:
Off the Cuff... Lionel Hampton believes times have changed enough for him to risk taking his pretty white headliner, Ann Nichols, on his next Southern tour...

Pittsburgh Courier, September 11, 1954:
Lionel Hampton, the jazz king, is featuring his white singer-dancer, Ann Nichols, and his Latin "find," who answers to the name of "Miss Brazil," on his current tour of Dixie...

Pittsburgh Courier, September 25, 1954:
... Speaking of bright stars in the Hampton firmament, Ann Nichols deserves a conspicuous seat near the king himself. The guys and gals here are still raving about "the shape with the shake" and all the talent. A number of people thought she was one of us. Her swarthy complexion and undiluted frenetic rhythm had them fooled...

New York Age, October 2, 1954: Hampton's Tour Of Dixie With Ann Nichols Socko
HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.—On the eve of their departure for a long booked tour to Europe, Lionel Hampton's big band and variety show can well be hailed as having "broken the ice" in the deep south. After leaving beautiful young Ann Nichols behind on several tours of the south during the past two years, he invaded "Dixie" with her as his star headliner, on the stage with his band, and nothing unpleasant happened.

To the contrary, the whites were so thrilled over the unusual sight of a shapely beauty singing, dancing, and playing the piano at the same time that, if they had any bias, they must have forgotten it. Excerpts from her letter follows, "We have just returned from our two-week southern tour, and I just loved it. The people were just wonderful. I went to Durham, N.C., Charleston, W.Va., Roanoke, Va., also Indiana, Ohio, and back home. I made so many friends down there that I can hardly wait to play a return engagement."

"Thank you so much for that beautiful write-up you gave Lionel and me. He just loved it. You certainly are a good friend to do such kind things, but I suppose that's what makes good friends. I'm terribly tired now, as I have just finished answering all my back mail. But now I can sleep with a clear mind, as I'm 'straight now'".


In October 1954, she went to Europe with Hampton, so I was able to find her on a ship manifest. Her real name was Dolores Ann Nicholas, the daughter of John Nicholas (born in Italy) and Palma Clair Gianattasio (born in New York). Her mother accompanied her to Europe. Dolores was born on June 28, 1931 in Brooklyn.

She appears all over the place for a while, but there doesn't seem to be a single mention of her after 1956 (although she did have a record on Tuxedo in 1958).

She was still alive in November 1980 when her father died. Ann Nichols married Joseph M. Keeler in Brooklyn in 1983 as Dolores Ann Nicholas. When her sister, Joan, died in 1992, she was Dolores Keeler. She could still be alive, I guess.


The Cash Box Review (4/29/50): ANN NICHOLS — SITTIN' IN 552.... Lost In A Fog Over You/Let Me Know
Smooth ballad blues warbling of chirp Ann Nichols fills the ether with pleasing moments of listening pleasure. Both ends of this biscuit whirl in slow tempo, with Ann purring the gilded lyrics and vocal group backing her. Wax should grab some heavy coin play—ditty rates a featured spot in ops machines.

The Billboard Review (4/29/50): ANN NICHOLS — SITTIN' IN 552....
Let Me Know (73) Miss Nichols' warbling impresses in her delivery of an adequate ballad patterned after "I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So."
Lost In A Fog Over You (61) The thrush tries valiantly to overcome an unimaginative minor blues ballad but fails.
(NOTE: A ratings range of 60-69 was considered "satisfactory" and 70-79 was considered "good".)

LISTEN: (Windows Media Player)
1. "Let Me Know" - Ann Nichols And Vocal Quartette - Sittin' in with 552 - 1950.
2. "Lost In A Fog Over You" - Ann Nichols And Vocal Quartette - Sittin' in with 552 - 1950.

BOTH SIDES played in sequence.

Above: NEW YORK AGE, May 15, 1954: GORGEOUS DOLL
Theatergoers and night club devotees from coast to coast have seen the shapely gafs [gams?] of gorgeous Ann Nichols, sensational dancer and boogie-woogie pianist, currently appearing with the Lionel Hampton revusical, touring theaters and night clubs in the East. Hampton first discovered Miss Nichols while she was appearing at a Toronto night club and he signed her for a long term contract to appear with his revue whenever available. She's a protege of Henry Le Tang, Broadway's famous dance master.

Above: (Left) Pittsburgh Post Gazette, September 18, 1950; (Middle Left) Press And Sun Bulletin [Binghamton, NY], October 24, 1945; (Middle Right) Daily News [New York City], December 6, 1952; (Right) Daily News, March 19, 1954.

Above: Daily News, May 30, 1952.

At Direct Right: Daily News, June 1, 1953. Arnold Dover and Jimmie Scott are now gone,
Curley Hamner and Ann Nichols are still with Hampton (see "blurb" below).

At Far Right: Pittsburgh Courier, April 8, 1950. Curley Hamner.


(From Lionel Hampton)... Outside of my twenty musicians, I have been featuring ANN NICHOLS, the dynamic and versatile pianist dance star, who has been tearing the rafters down with her ten-minute spot of colossal entertaining. Pretty and sensational, you've just got to see her in action in order to believe my many words of praise.
CURLY HAMNER (sp?) has proven himself to be one of the most talented and versatile personalities on the stage today. His talent is shown not only when he taps out a crazy rhythm, sings some gone songs, gives out with some rib-tickling patter, but when he pulls out his drums to do the sensational paradiddle [a basic drum pattern] drum challenge with me, one thought comes to my mind, THIS CAT'S GREAT!
(Notice that Ann received top billing here.)

TIMES TRIBUNE, January 13, 1955:
...Lionel Hampton, whose European tour last year cost him a pianist and a vocalist (George Wallington and Annie Ross, who quit when the going got too rugged) is finding out that history does make duplicates. As soon as the boat docked on this yera's tour, Ann Nichols, who doubles on piano and vocals, handed in her notice.

The Cash Box Review (10/4/58): ANN NICHOLS — TUXEDO 926....
I'm Sixteen Years (B) Ann Nichols plays the role of a gal just turned sixteen who wants to be loved and kissed. Happy bounce beat rocker on the light side.
Lover, I'm Waiting For You (C) A group accompanies the lark again as she cruises thru an upbeat rocker.
(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good" and C was "fair.")



Above Left: New York Age, February 13, 1954: RED HOT GAL
Among the many talented youngsters along the "Dawn Patrol," none have quite caught the fancy of musical comedy producers like curvaceous Ann Nichols, dancer and boogie-woogie pianist formerly with the Lionel Hampton revue. Miss Nichols is now being groomed for a coast-to-coast tour starting Feb. 15 at the St. Maurice hotel, Three Rivers, Quebec, and ending at Ciro's in Hollywood on April 10.

Above Right: New York Age, November 27, 1954:
Ann Nichols, ace specialty artist who is scoring impressively as a member of Lionel Hampton's show and orchestra. Dec. 2 Lionel and his show are scheduled for a command performance at James Court in London.
(NOTE: Either Ann did not leave Hampton as stated in the previous blurb, or now she's back with him again.)

Above Left: Pittsburgh Courier, May 23, 1953: Steady, Now
Ann Nichols is the shapely young lass who dances and plays piano in a manner that makes her top star material. Miss Nichols tours with the Lionel Hampton orchestra and show. The Hamp recently concluded a sock tour of Canada. We can see why by looking at the picture.

Above Right: Pittsburgh Courier, September 6, 1952: HAMP SCORES AGAIN
New star in Hampton galaxy is Ann Nichols, star of radio and television, who is not only a superb terpsichorean artist, but plays the piano and sings. Ann, along with the Los Gatos Trio, Vinnie Tano, 19-year-old trumpet virtuoso, and regular stars Curly Hamner, Sonny Parker and Arnold Dover, make up the current "Hampton Parade," revue now touring the Pacific Coast.
(NOTE: A "terpsichorean artist" is a dancer.)

Pittsburgh Courier, January 24, 1953: Versatile Ann Nichols Shines With Hampton
Lionel Hampton, "King of the Vibes," always on the search for something new in show business, comes up with a winner this time in lovely Ann Nichols, who, aside from adding plenty of glamour to the star-studded show which appears with the orchestra, but also matches "Hamp" in versatility of talent with an act that includes first-rate dancing and piano playing. Pert Ann, a bundle of energy and personality, along with her talent, has scored heavily with the band wherever she has appeared, and has vied with most of the veterans such as Curly Hamner, Sonny Parker and Jimmy Scott for the spotlight when Hamp puts on his floor show.

A clever tap dancer coupled with a bit of ballet, Ann winds up her act in a whirlwind of simultaneous boogie-woogie piano playing and dancing. Only twenty-one years old, the good looking, shapely lass is destined to carve for herself a definite niche in show business and will add one more star in the crown of Hampton who is winning fame, not only as a great musician, but a maker of top-flight theatrical names. Credit Hampton with giving the youngster a break.... who, in turn, is giving show business a break by bringing to it a refreshing personality and a very clever act.


Above Left: Label image for Sittin' in with 561. The flip side song title "I Wonder What It Takes To Make Me Happy," as shown on the label, is not sung on the record. Ann Nichols And The Bluebirds had one other release on Sittin' in with (earlier in 1950).

Above Right: Label image for Tuxedo 926. The Sentimentals backed James Carter on one Tuxedo release prior to teaming with Ann. The Sentimentals also had several releases on the Mint label (1957-59), a subsidiary of Tuxedo.

Trade Magazine (August 1958): "Chris Forde, Tuxedo Records, announced the signing of cutie Ann Nichols to a recording contract. Session is being cut this week with immediate release planned..."

Chris Forde also owned Big Nickel Records (1950).

Listen to this week's selections by Ann Nichols And The (1) Bluebirds, (2) Sentimentals:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

       (1) Those Magic Words - Sittin' in with 561 - 1950
       (1) I Wonder What It Takes To Make Me Happy - Sittin' in with 561 - 1950
       (2) Lover I'm Waiting For You - Tuxedo 926 - 1958
       (2) I'm Sixteen Years - Tuxedo 926 - 1958
       ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence

  B. Download RealAudio...
       (1) Those Magic Words - Sittin' in with 561 - 1950
       (1) I Wonder What It Takes To Make Me Happy - Sittin' in with 561 - 1950
       (2) Lover I'm Waiting For You - Tuxedo 926 - 1958
       (2) I'm Sixteen Years - Tuxedo 926 - 1958
  C. Stream/Download Media Player...
       (1) Those Magic Words - Sittin' in with 561 - 1950
       (1) I Wonder What It Takes To Make Me Happy - Sittin' in with 561 - 1950
       (2) Lover I'm Waiting For You - Tuxedo 926 - 1958
       (2) I'm Sixteen Years - Tuxedo 926 - 1958
       ALL FOUR SONGS played in sequence
     [To download audio files, right-click on link
     and then click "Save (Link) Target As..."]