Lena Horne, Vocals
b. New York (Brooklyn), NY, USA.
d. May 9, 2010, New York City, New York, USA.
Her parents divorced while she was still a toddler. Her mother found work as an actress, leaving Lena in care of grandparents. At age 7, her mother returned and the two traveled the state where she was enrolled in numerous schools. At times, Lena was, also attended in schools in Florida, Georgia, and Ohio, later returning to Brooklyn. At age 14, she quit school and at age 16 got her first stage job, dancing, and later singing, at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem. At the Cotton Club she was helped by Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.
At age 21, after a few appearances on Broadway, Lena played in her first film on the silver screen 'The Duke is Tops'; four years later she appeared in another, playing a nightclub singer in the MGM film 'Panama Hattie'. (Her scenes were often cut when the films were shown in the South due to Southern prejudices of the time.) In 1943, MGM loaned her to Fox Studios for the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black musical hit, 'Stormy Weather'. Her recording of the title song made the top charts, and is still one of her 'signature' tunes today.

Lena's 1943 role in 'Cabin in the Sky', is regarded as the finest performance of her career. She played Georgia Brown opposite Ethel Waters and Eddie Anderson in the all-black production. Not only did Lena and Miss Waters not get along well together, but other cast members were also sniping at one another. Following this hit, she had minor roles in films such as 'Boogie-Woogie Dream', 'Words and Music', and 'Mantan Messes Up'.

Due to the idiotic prejudices of the day, she was often denied rooms at the very hotels in which she sang! She appeared in the 1956 film 'Meet Me in Las Vegas'. and in the role of Claire Quintana in 1969s film 'Death of a Gunfighter'. Nine years later, in 1978, she played Glinda the Good on the big screen all-black musical 'The Wiz'. In 1994, she made two TV appearances in "A Century of Women" and "That's Entertainment! III". If Lena had never made a movie, her recording career alone would have made her a legend in the entertainment industry.
Lena Horne died on May 9, 2010, at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City of heart failure, according to her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley. In addition to her daughter, she is survived by granddaughters Jenny and Amy Lumet, Lena Jones, and grandsons, William and Thomas Jones. On May 14, 2010, Horne's funeral took place at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue in New York City. Thousands gathered to mourn her, including singers Leontyne Price, Dionne Warwick, Jessye Norman, Chita Rivera and actresses Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Lauren Bacall, Audra McDonald and Vanessa L. Williams. Horne was laid to rest in the Horne Family Plot at The Evergreen's Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.
Al Benson
label owner (Parrot)/DJ
b. Jackson, MS. USA
Critic and historian Nelson George called Al Benson, who worked at several Chicago radio stations beginning in the mid-1940s, one of the most influential black deejays of all time. While many of his African-American peers were indistinguishable from white deejays over the airwaves, Benson, who was nicknamed “Yo' Ol' Swingmaster,” never tried to mask what he called “native talk.” By most accounts, however, Benson—who was known to drink while on the air—was often unintelligible. Yet for all the derision he drew, Benson attracted listeners—he was voted the most popular deejay in Chicago in a 1948 Chicago Tribune poll—and he wielded enormous power. In The Death of Rhythm and Blues, George quotes one of Benson's fellow announcers, who said of him, “He sounded black. They [the listeners] knew he was and most of us were proud of the fact. ‘Here's a black voice coming out of my little radio and we know it's him.' ”
Legendary DJ Pioneer - Al Benson

"The Georgia Yellow Hammers, 1921. Bill Chitwood far right.
Bill Chitwood, C&W fiddler/vocals
b. Resaca, GA, USA
d. March 3, 1961.Age: 72.
William Hewlitt "Bill" Chitwood was a fiddle player from Resaca, Georgia. He was born in 1891. He also played banjo, as did many of the members of the band he most frequently played with, The Georgia Yellow Hammers. The Georgia Yellow Hammers recorded under a variety of names between 1927 and 1930, sometimes featuring Chitwood (i.e. Bill Chitwood and His Georgia Mountaineers; Turkey Mountain Singers. The group of musicians included Bud Landress, Charles E. Moody, and Phil Reeve. Fate Norris sometimes joined the band, as did African American/Cherokee duo Andrew and Jim Baxter (i.e. the Baxter Brothers). The band recorded the same songs other different names. For example, the Georgia Yellow Hammers and Bill Chitwood and His Georgia Mountaineers "Fourth of July at the Country Fair".

Bo Carter, guitar
b. Bolton, MS, USA.
né: Armenter Chatmon
~by Jim O'Neal
Bo Carter (Armenter "Bo" Chatmon) had an unequaled capacity for creating sexual metaphors in his songs, specializing in such ribald imagery as "Banana in Your Fruit Basket," "Pin in Your Cushion," and "Your Biscuits Are Big Enough for Me."
One of the most popular bluesmen of the '30s, he recorded enough material for several reissue albums, and he was quite an original guitar picker, or else three of those albums wouldn't have been released by Yazoo. (Carter employed a number of different keys and tunings on his records, most of which were solo vocal and guitar performances.) Carter's facility extended beyond the risqué business to more serious blues themes, and he was also the first to record the standard "Corrine Corrina" (1928). Bo and his brothers Lonnie and Sam Chatmon also recorded as members of the Mississippi Sheiks with singer/guitarist Walter Vinson.

The Mississippi Sheiks (L to R):  Bo Carter, Walter Vinson, Lonnie Chatmon

"Uncle" Joe Cooper, guitar
b. Yazoo City, MS. USA

Jewell Long
b. Sealy, TX. USA

Jean (or Gene) Malin
Female Impersonator/singer
b. Brooklyn, NY, USA.
d. August 10th, 1933, Los Angeles , CA, USA.
né: Victor Eugene James Malin.
Strictly speaking, Malin was a 'Gay" female impersonator, but is listed here because he did sing in his nightclub acts. He was the son of Polish Lithuanian immigrants.
The family had three boys and two sisters. Gene became a Gay female impersonator, one son became a policeman, and the other son became a sugar refinery worker.

Malin married Lucille Malin, also a Brooklyn born girl, before he relocated to Hollywood. He died when he accidentally drove his car off the Venice Pier in Los Angeles, and drowned. Comedic actress Patsy Kelly was a passenger, but she managed to escape. Malin was 24 at the time.
Gene Malin - Wikipedia
Harry Shields

Clarinet/Baritone Sax

b. New Orleans, LA, USA. d. 1971.

Harry Shields (June 30, 1899January 19, 1971) was an early jazz clarinetist. Harry Shields was born in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana, the younger brother of noted clarinetist Larry Shields. Harry spent almost his whole career in New Orleans. He played with the bands of Norman Brownlee, Sharkey Bonano, Tom Brown, Johnny Wiggs, and others. Many fellow musicians regarded Harry as superior to his more famous brother, Larry. Johnny Wiggs commented that Harry Shields was the only clarinetist he'd heard who could always play the right note without fail.

Grady Watts, Trumpet
b. Texarkana, TX, USA d.
Grady will always be remembered for his work with the Casa Loma Orchestra.
A big band trumpeter in the '30s and ‘40s working most notably with the Casa Loma Orchestra, Grady Watts studied at the University of Oklahoma before beginning his career in Louisiana in the late ‘20s. Watts joined saxophonist Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra in 1931, just in time to share in the band's greatest successes; the group recorded for major labels--including Decca, Brunswick, and Victor--and became quite popular, particularly among college students. Watts stayed with the group until 1942. By that time its popularity had declined and many original members had left the band. Watts was one of the group's principal soloists during his tenure. His solo work can be heard on the Casa Loma track No Name Jive, made for Decca in 1940. By 1945 Watts had ceased working full-time as a musician.
~ Chris Kelsey

Notable Events
On This Date Include:

Roger Alexander Jones Jr., trumpet
died in Chicago, IL, USA.
Age: 70.

Songs Recorded/Released
On this date include:


The Virginians - Send Back My Honeyman


Whitey Kaufman's Original Pennsylvania Serenaders

Viola McCoy - Clearing House Blues

Bennie Krueger and his Orchestra
The California Ramblers


Jack Crawford and his Orchestra - Swanee Shore

Lee Morse - Rosita

Lee Morse - We (My Honey And Me)


Lizzie Miles

Red Mckenzie & his Mound City Blue Blowers - Georgia On My Mind
  • I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You
Red Mckenzie & his Mound City Blue Blowers - I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me

Nick Lucas - That's My Desire


Don Redman and his Orchestra

That's My Desire

To spend one night with you
In our old rendezvous
And reminisce with you
That's my desire

To be where gypsies play
Down in that ole cafe
We'll dance till break of day
That's my desire

We'll sip a little glass of wine
I'll gaze into your eyes divine
I'll feel the touch of your lips
Pressing on mine

To hear you whisper low
Just when it's time to go
Darling, I love you, so
That's my desire

(instrumental break)

To hear you whisper low
Doggone you know it's time to go
Darling, I love you so
You're my desire

Though you found someone new
I'll always love you
That's my desire

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