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Thursday, April 10, 2014

LaVern Baker: "I Cried A Tear" b/w "Dix-A-Billy" (Atlantic, 1958)

LaVern Baker was an R&B singer who had a string of hits in the '50s and '60s. "I Cried A Tear" was written by one Al Julia, and I think that might be the only song he ever wrote. The uptempo "Dix-A-Billy" is credited to Harris-Evans-Reardon. The Harris of that trio is Woody Harris, who wrote songs for Elvis, Bobby Darrin, and Della Reese. The Evans is Paul Evans, who wrote that Bobby Vinton song "Roses Are Red (My Love)," among other things. The final name is Jack Reardon, who wrote the lyrics for "The Good Life."

This 45 was put out by Atlantic in 1958. According to Wikipedia, "I Cried A Tear" went to #2 on the R&B charts and #6 on the pop charts in '59.

"Jim Dandy" was her biggest hit, but Baker had an interesting career and life. She acted on TV and film, performed on Broadway, was the second female solo artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and recorded a raunchy x-rated songs with Jackie Wilson. She lost both legs to diabetes in 1994 but continued to perform until she passed away in 1997, aged 67, from cardiovascular disease. Her last recording was of my favorite Harry Nilsson song, "Jump Into the Fire," which she did for a Nilsson tribute album.

I borrowed this from my in-laws, and someone has already put both songs back to back on Youtube, so here they are:

Here's her version of "Jump Into the Fire." It's boss!

Here's that dirty song she did with Jackie Wilson in 1965, "Think Twice." Pretty awesome, super-dirty, NSFW!