Thursday, February 23, 2012

Della Reece

What first strikes you about this album on the Jubilee label (1960's) is the incredible weight! I first thought there must be two LP's in the sleeve and surprised to find just the one. This thing was made to last! A nice potted history of the blues with Della waxing lyrical about some of its origins in between tracks. Pleasant enough orchestra conducted by Sy Oliver accompanying throughout , verging on the MOR side of the blues.

Wikipedia says -

"Reese was born Delloreese Patricia Early in the historic Black Bottom neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan to African American steelworker Richard Thaddeus Early and Nellie Mitchelle, a Native American (Cherokee) cook. Delloreese's mother also had several older children, before her birth, all of whom did not live with her, hence, she lived as an only child. At only six years old, Reese began singing in church. From this experience, she became an avid gospel singer. As a young lady of the 1940s, on the weekends, she and her mother would go to the movies, independently, to watch the likes of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Lena Horne portray glamorous lives on screen. Afterwards, Reese would act out the scenes from every single film. In 1944, she began her career directing the young people's choir, after she had nurtured acting plus her obvious musical talent. She was often chosen, on radio, as a regular singer. At the age of thirteen, she was hired to sing with Mahalia Jackson's gospel group. Delloreese entered Detroit's popular Cass Technical High School (where she attended the same year with an unknown star, Edna Rae Gillooly, later known as Ellen Burstyn). At Cass Tech, she was a brilliant, no-nonsense student. She also continued with her touring with Jackson. With higher grades, she was the first in her family to graduate from high school in 1947, at only 15. Afterwards, she formed her own gospel group, the Meditation Singers. However, due in part to the death of her mother, and her father's serious illness, Reese had to interrupt her schooling at Wayne State University to help support her family. Faithful to the memory of her mother, Deloreese also moved out of her father's house, due to her feuding with her father, who had a new girlfriend. She then took on odd jobs, such as truck driver, dental receptionist, and even elevator operator, after 1949.
Performing in clubs, Early soon realized that she had no choice but to shorten her name from "Delloreese Early" to "Della Reese", knowing that her birth name was too long for a club marquee."

Tracks are -

1. The Story Of The Blues
2. Good Morning Blues
3. Empty Bed Blues
4. Squeeze Me
5. You've Been A Good Old Wagon
6. Sent For You Yesterday

Della Reece - Side One

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