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A Tribute to Helen Morgan

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Album Review

She was born Yvonne Marie JaMais but given her working name, Connie Haines, by Harry James when she joined his band in 1939 at the tender age of 15. After a stint with James, Haines, along with another young singer of some note, Frank Sinatra, went on to work with Tommy Dorsey making albums with Sinatra. She later appeared in films, and co-starred with Frankie Laine on a TV series for two seasons. Over the years, she made more than 200 records, including an album of Smokey Robinson songs for Motown Records. This album, originally made sometime during the 1950s for the now defunct Tops label, memorialized one of the most popular singers of her time, Helen Morgan. Although a star of George White's Scandals, she is best known for those torch songs she delivered with pained poignancy sitting atop the piano in her own nightclub. Many of these have been woven into the fabric of American popular song. Some of the cuts on the album are major productions where Lew Raymond's orchestra is augmented by strings. Haines powerful, big band-trained voice handles these tunes with ease. Then there are tracks where she is backed by a small group permitting her to show a softer, subtler side. One of the better of this variety is "They Didn't Believe Me," which has an excellent trumpet solo by an unidentified member of Raymond's aggregation. All in all, this album by a fine song stylist with a clear, pure voice paying tribute to one of the legends of the jazz age is recommended.


Born: 20 January 1921 in Savannah, GA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Often appearing next to Frank Sinatra while with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra during the early '40s, Connie Haines delivered a few of Dorsey's chart hits and recorded on her own during the '50s and '60s. Born Yvonne Marie Antoinette Ja Mais in Savannah in 1922, she learned the art of vocals quite early; her mother was both a voice and dance teacher. Living in Jacksonville after her parents divorced, she began airing over the radio before the age of ten. In 1931, she appeared over NBC radio as Baby...
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A Tribute to Helen Morgan, Connie Haines
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