Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Jump Jack Jump
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
Could Have Been THE Female R&R Star Had Fate Not Stepped In
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unless you are a big fan of the 1950s gospel sound chances are you will never have heard of Wynona Carr. But under different circumstances you certainly would know about her today - right up there with LaVern Baker, Brenda Lee, and Connie Frances who were just about the only female solo vocalists singing R&R to hold their own with the original male giants.
Born August 23, 1924 in Cleveland she was an accomplished pianist by the time she was 8 years old and when she turned 13 she was admitted to the Cleveland Music College where she studied voice, harmony, and musical arrangement. Before long she was being heard in Baptist churches around the region, and when she turned 20 she moved to Detroit to assume the directorship of a church choir.
After later forming The Carr Singers, and while on tour in the late 1940s, Wynona came to the attention of J.W. Alexander of the gosel group The Pilgrim Travelers who, after arranging a demo recording, sent it to Art Rupe of Specialty Records. He signed her to a recording contract and in 1949 she cut the gospel tunes Each Day and Lord Jesus backed by a session combo which included pianist Austin McCoy. When released it immediately evoked comparisons to the already famed Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
The enterprising Rupe, in fact, soon changed her billing to Sister Wynona Carr in time for her next planned release. However, I'm A Pilgrim Traveler was a thinly-disguised gospel version of the old blues song St. James Infirmary, coupled with I Heard the News (Jesus Is Coming Again) which also borrowed heavily from the 1948 R&B hit Good Rockin' Tonight. Rupe chickened out at the last minute, deciding that both the similarity to R&B and Blues and her energetic delivery were too far ahead of their time for gospel lovers in 1949.
Carr, meanwhile, continued to tour and it wasn't until June or July of 1952 that she recorded The Ball Game which, in relating a confrontation between Jesus and Satan, became a huge gospel hit. By 1954, and now back in Detroit, she was the director of the choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church, presided over by the Reverend Cecil L. Franklin, father of the then 12-year-old and future super-star Aretha.
She also performed publicly with Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight until, in 1957, she decided to try her hand at this new R&R craze sweeping the nation. Still with Specialty, her first release, minus the "Sister", was the plaintive Should I Ever Love Again? b/w the jumping Till The Well Runs Dry.
The A-side, I'm certain, would have registered high on the Billboard Pop Top 100 had she been able to promote the record through public appearances. But, just as the release was climbing the R&B charts in March [it peaked at # 15], she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. That effectively put her out of action until 1959 by which time Specialty felt it was too late to make up lost ground.
She would later record briefly for Sinatra's Reprise label and then close out the 1960s back on the Cleveland night club circuit. In the 1970s her health deteriorated to the point where she avoided all public contact, and on May 12, 1976 she passed away at age 52.
Just give a listen to the samples in this disc [which contains both sides to her only hit single] and on the gospel CD offered, and you will see why I think so highly of this talented singer, unfairly relegated to obscurity by the fickle finger of fate."
A Definit Buy
GG Merritt | Las Vegas | 01/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of those fantastic overlooked CD that not a lot of people have heard about. This woman has a incredible voice!! Its a shame more people dont know about her. Songs range from every type of mood to incredibly soulful to shake you bootie around the house (or where ever, LOL) to even one gospel song that even got me singing along to it! ..the rock upbeat "Nursery Rhyme" song is a COOL little hip song that kids will love. Ding Dong Daddy one of my personal favorites from this CD, one of my all time Favorite CD's. If you are into great 50s soulful rock,R&B,or Swing-Buy it."
(4 out of 5 stars)
"stomping numbers - heartache, joy, and grit. track 12 earns a special recommendation from me."