Sunday, July 25, 2010
Dinah Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones on August 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Shortly thereafter her family moved to Chicago, the city she always called home. Although her first recording was “Evil Gal Blues” & although she will always be known as the”Queen of the Blues”, Dinah always objected to that sobriquet. She always felt her singing was more jazz-infused gospel.
She was never an obedient servant to the written structure of a song, always breaking through the mechanical quality of its contours, altering the melody & meter - melodically, rhythmically, & emotionally - to make it more than it began & truly her own. Quincy Jones vividly describes Washington's style, saying she "could take the melody in her hand, hold it like an egg, crack it open, fry it, let it sizzle, reconstruct it, put the egg back in the box, back in the refrigerator & you would've still understood every single syllable."
But the singer's musical gifts went hand in hand with her wild & extravagant personal life, fueled in part by her own deep-rooted insecurity. Married seven times, Washington battled with her weight for years, She heavily used numerous prescription medications, primarily for dieting & insomnia. Even though she sings “I don’t need clothes or furs," in “As Long as I’m in Your Arms", she burned through her recording profits buying shoes, furs & automobiles in an effort to lift her spirits.
On the morning of December 14, 1963, Dinah's eighth husband, Dick "Night Train" Lane, famed defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals & Detroit Lions found Dinah non-responsive. She was later pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed a lethal combination of secobarbital & amobarbital had contributed to her untimely death at the age of 39. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose.
Tracks 1, 10, 11, & 12 were recorded in late 1960 in New York City with an unidentified orchestra. Fred Norman conducted track 10 on Oct. 5-7 & was replaced on tracks 1, 11, & 12 by Nat Goodman on Nov. 12. The rest of the tracks were recorded in Hollywood, CA in January 1961 with Belford Hendricks (who arranged all the songs) conducting & featured: Dinah on vocals; Rone Hall & Barney Kessel on guitars; Red Callender & Jimmy Rowser on bass; Ernie Freeman & Joe Zawinul on piano; & Earl Palmer on drums.
Year of Release: 1961
Label: Mercury Records MG 20638
Side 1 -
September in the Rain
Without a Song
This Heart of Mine
As Long as I’m in Your Arms
With a Song in My Heart
Side 2 -
I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love with Me
I Was Telling Him about You
I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
I’ll Never Kiss You Goodbye
I’ll Come Back for More
Tell Love Hello
Download: Dinah Washington - September in the Rain
Download Size: 71.2MB (ripped from nearly 50 year old vinyl at 320Kbps)