Though her career on record was all too brief, Griffin was one of the first female vocalists in rock and with her self-penned second effort helped to establish the racy nature of the music in its formative years.

Sheba Griffin was born in Toldeo, Ohio on August 21, 1926 and got her professional start in secular music singing with a variety of impressive names including Joe Williams, Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald in the 1940’s. When former jazz saxophonist Tom Archia got a recording contract with the newly formed Aristocrat Records label in 1947 he was in need of singers and brought in Griffin who took the lead on two sides, one of which she wrote herself.

The label was small and inexperienced and neither single sold particularly well and since Archia was in demand as a musician behind others there was no long term association between them, nor much benefit for Griffin’s opportunities following that. In time she moved to Rochester, New York singing at the jazz oriented Pythodd Club but made even more of a name for herself locally singing in church with The Belleville Acepella Chorus and The Golden Chords and was known for her community activism.

Griffin passed away on the Fourth of July in 1998 in Rochester, a sadly forgotten name who in a small but crucial way helped get rock ‘n’ roll off the ground a half century earlier.
SHEBA GRIFFIN DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Aristocrat 601; November, 1947)
A good performance by Griffin highlight this lament over love gone wrong as her slow and seductive vocals are alluring as can be, but unfortunately Archia and the band wanders too much behind her to give her the backing she needs to really connect. (5)

(Aristocrat 602; February, 1948)
A great premise is hampered by lyrics that vacillate between being happy about the loss of virginity and ashamed by it, but the mere cheekiness in tackling such a racy subject shows rock was pushing boundaries from the start while Tom Archia’s sax is a willing conspirator. (3)