BIOGRAPHY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 


Vocalist whose long association with New Orleans songwriter/producer/sessionist Paul Gayten resulted in a string of Top Ten hits in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and who later had a career resurgence lasting into the early 1960’s on her own.

Laurie was born Annie Laurie Page in Atlanta, Georgia in 1924 and had recorded without success in 1946 before she was discovered by Gayten who made her a featured performer in his group. The partnership paid immediate dues when backed by Gayten on piano she had a huge hit in “Since I Fell For You” which managed to cross over into the pop charts, still a rare achievement for a black artist on an independent label such as DeLuxe in 1947.

Though this song was more poppish, she was versatile enough where she’d flirted with jazz as well before finding her most appropriate medium with rock ‘n’ roll. Rapidly improving on her initial tentative vocals, Laurie became a fairly confident and commanding singer who could deliver on a variety of approaches from torch ballads to more uptempo material.

After DeLuxe Records was taken over by the King label she followed Gayten to Regal Records, which was owned by the founders of DeLuxe, then after more hits there went with him again to OKeh where despite some good releases her commercial fortunes began to decline. When Gayten took an A&R position with Chess in the mid-50’s Laurie was on her own and it had to seem as though her time in the spotlight was over. But upon her return to DeLuxe (now a King subsidiary) in 1957 she got her biggest hit since her pre-rock side a decade earlier that launched her career, reviving her fortunes and confirming her talents irrespective of whom she was accompanied by.

She continued recording into the 60’s where she landed a final hit before her career wound down a few years later and she became a Jevohah’s Witness, putting her rock days behind her in the process. Laurie died in 2006 at the age of 82.
 
 
ANNIE LAURIE DISCOGRAPHY (Reviews To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):
 
 
I STILL LOVE YOU
(DeLuxe 1006; November, 1947)
Surprisingly stepping back from the pop style that had resulted in her breakthrough hit from the summer, Laurie’s technique improves and with it her confidence as well, making her one to watch. (5)

ONE SWEET LETTER FROM YOU
(DeLuxe 1131; January, 1948)
Though Laurie’s voice is in fine form, she’s not projecting the song with any real sense of its plot, rising and falling with the melody, not the emotional content, which remains a mystery to her throughout, as well as to us. (5)

VOODOO MAN
(DeLuxe 3173; June, 1948)
A good idea with some good moments early on but all involved pull back on the premise, substituting Laurie’s scat vocals for more authentic chanting and it undercuts the effectiveness while selling the story short. (3)

WONDERING BLUES
(DeLuxe 3173; June, 1948)
A new plateau for Laurie who lives up to her promise with an effective vocal performance that drips with emotion and backed by a sparse, fragile but mesmerizing arrangement highlighted by the most haunting guitar heard to date in rock circles. (8)

LONELY BLUES
(DeLuxe 3192; October, 1948)
A tale of two records, the first half featuring Laurie’s self-assured singing and a good guitar break by Jack Scott is quite good, the second half with Laurie scatting nonsense in place of lyrics is abominable and since that leaves the stronger impression it sinks the entire record. (3)

ANNIE’S BLUES
(DeLuxe 3211; February, 1949)
The technical skill finally catches up to her natural vocal ability as she imparts these lyrics with confidence and the full awareness of everything they merely hint at, manipulating the melody like a seasoned pro. (7)

CUTTIN’ OUT
(Regal 3235; September, 1949)
Laurie’s attitude and some intermittently biting lyrics are the best part of her first national hit in the rock idiom but she’s undercut some by mediocre backing which sticks too close to pop styles in the breaks and takes few chances in its arrangement. (5)

MY ROUGH AND READY MAN
(Regal 3235; September, 1949)
Another record that pulls up short of what it could’ve been, never letting Laurie get racy enough to convince you of her lust while the band similarly holds back for fear of offending, yet what’s here has the potential to be far better if they let themselves go. (5)