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the vine

the vine

Ella Mae Morse - Cow Cow Boogie

4y ago


Ella Mae Morse, born in Mansfield, Texas on September 12, 1924, was one of the most talented and overlooked vocalists of the '40s, she blended jazz, country, pop, and R&B. At times she came remarkably close to what would be known as rock & roll. When she wasn't yet 14, Morse had her first taste of the big time, when Jimmy Dorsey's band came to Dallas for a stay at the Adolphus Hotel and she called for an audition. Unbeknownst to her, the band needed a new female vocalist. Believing that Morse was 19, as she and her mother claimed, Dorsey hired her. When he received a letter from the school board declaring that he was responsible for Morse's care, Dorsey fired her. When she was 17, Morse joined former Dorsey pianist Freddie Slack's band in 1942 and they cut, "Cow Cow Boogie," which became Capitol Records' first gold single. "Mr. Five by Five," also recorded by Morse with Slack was also a hit for Capitol in 1942. She also originated the wartime hit "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet," which was later popularized by Nancy Walker in the film, [Broadway Rhythm.] The following year, Morse began recording solo. Her "Shoo-Shoo Baby" reached #1 on the R&B chart in December 1943, for two weeks. That same year she had a cameo appearance in the film [Reveille with Beverly] and in 1944 she starred in Universal's [South of Dixie] and [The Ghost Catchers.] Although her recordings were consistently solid and sold fairly well (frequently charting better on the Black charts than on the pop charts), Morse never obtained a huge following or received the popularity of a major star. Morse ceased recording in 1957 but continued performing until the early 1990's at such clubs as Michael's Pub in New York, Ye Little Club in Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Roosevelt Cinegrill and the Vine St. Bar and Grill. She appeared regularly at Disneyland for several years with the Ray McKinley Orchestra and did a successful tour of Australia shortly before her final illness. She died on October 16, 1999, in Bullhead City, Arizona, at age 75. Morse had six children from two marriages, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her music career was profiled in Nick Tosches' 1984 book, [The Unsung Heroes of Rock 'N' Roll: The Birth of Rock in the Wild Years Before Elvis.] She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street. Her entire recorded body of work was issued in a deluxe box set by Bear Family Records. Other notable recordings: The song "Love Me or Leave Me," as recorded by Morse was released by Capitol Records, with the flip side "Blacksmith Blues." In 1946, "House of Blue Lights" by Freddie Slack and Morse, (written by Slack and Raye) saw them perform what was one of many of Raye's songs picked up by black R&B artists. Her biggest solo success was "Blacksmith Blues" (1952). The same year her version of "Down the Road a Piece" appeared on Capitol with Slack again on piano accompaniment. Morse also recorded a version of "Oakie Boogie" for Capitol which reached #23 in 1952. Her version was one of the first songs arranged by Nelson Riddle. Note: It is sometimes erroneously reported that Morse recorded with Bill Haley & His Comets in the 1950s. This is not true, although she did record versions of songs also recorded by Haley such as "Razzle-Dazzle" and "Forty Cups of Coffee." ~Biography written by: Stephen Thomas Erlewine (AMG), edited by bri4daz. PLEASE NOTE: I divided my uploads between multiple channels, Bookmark this link in your browser for instant access to an index with links to all of John1948's oldies classics. LINK: