BIOGRAPHY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 

One of the many New Orleans-based singers to get her chance for national recognition in the wake of rock’s continued commercial breakthrough was Alma Mondy, a veteran club performer known as “The Lollypop Mama” who got her rather titillating name not as the result of her own performances but rather because she began her career working in tandem with her husband, Lollypop Jones.

Reportedly they appeared on film together, most likely the cheaply made musical shorts that were common in the 1940’s, but by the time Mercury Records came calling at the tail end of 1949 she’d broken up with him and was performing at Caldonia Club on a bill that featured Professor Longhair. When Mercury signed ‘Fess they also took a chance on Mondy and paired her with a group they dubbed George Miller’s Mid-Driffs which was more a collection of stalwart New Orleans session musicians including Lee Allen and Batman Rankins on saxes and guitarist Jack Scott.

Though her records didn’t quite break through like Longhair’s had, Mondy was able to parlay them into an extended tour of the Southern United States for more than a year. After that she returned to her old haunts in New Orleans and wasn’t lacking for work around town, including doing long stints at Club Desire and The Caravan Club. Mercury Records continued to have some interest in her, viewing her as potential replacement for Dinah Washington on their roster if Washington left as the result of various disputes they had with the temperamental Queen, but as that never transpired and the music scene Mondy was ostensibly a part of shifted ever-younger, her notoriety, even in the Crescent City, began to diminish and it’s believed she passed away in the mid-1960’s.
 
 
ALMA MONDY DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

BABY GET WISE
(Mercury 8176; March, 1950)
Rip-roaring performance by Mondy and the band on a song taken at breakneck speed that’s exhilarating, suggestive and fun without an ounce of fat on it… the enduring formula of rock ‘n’ roll distilled into one explosive track. (9)

JUST AS SOON AS I GO HOME
(Mercury 8176; March, 1950)
A song as bad as the top side is good, as everything about this woefully misjudged jazzy ballad is off, from Mondy’s atrocious phrasing to the weak and unimaginative playing and most crucially the total lack of cohesion between Mondy and the band who are painfully out of sync. (1)