Friday, August 10, 2007

Standing Tall With Jackie Shane!

Jackie Shane - Stand Up Straight and Tall

The history of American music is heavily-studded with the stories and recordings of pretty eccentric characters. In the black music world there was certainly no shortage of such figures. One area where quite a few eccentrics existed was in gender and/or sexual ambiguity: Little Richard springs immediately to mind, but also one must consider Esquerita (aka Eskew Reeder or S.Q. Reeder), whom some consider to be Richard's inspiration; Wilmer "Little Axe" Broadnax led the Spirit of Memphis, among other male gospel groups, but it was not revealed until Little Axe's death that Broadnax was a woman performing under her brother's name; and Sylvester ("You Make Me Feel Mighty Real") ruled the disco world in the late '70s. The R&B singer Jackie Shane fits within this pantheon with his androgynous performances, but unfortunately his story is not as well-known as some of the others.

I haven't been able to find out much about the Toronto-based Shane, except that he had only one R&B hit, "Any Other Way," released in 1963 on Sue. This page from Queer Music Heritage sheds a little more light on the story, but not much. What I do know, though, is that Jackie Shane's music had soul to spare, and "Stand Up Straight and Tall," a loosey-goosey, blues-oriented groover (dig the slight Latin groove underneath this one) reflects this fact. Fortunately for us all, there is performance footage of Shane on YouTube, appearing on WLAC-TV's "Night Train," doing "Walking The Dog." The appearance probably came from 1964 or 1965. Johnny Jones & The King Casuals ("Soul Poppin'") are the backing band and I think that's the Hytones on background vocals and choreography. Check out this soulful performance!


ThjeBoobie2shoes said...

I jus' found a copy of Jackie Shane Live From 1958...In excellent condition & jus'A Great Album!!!

AlphAlphA said...

Hi! I'd love to get a copy. I found a few singles by Jackie Shane on Youtube. I wonder if it would be possible to gather them together to produce a collected album. Jackie's on a par with Timi Yuro and early Dusty Springfield.

AlphAlphA said...

I'd love to hear it.

Mark Desjardins said...

There is a Cd compilation available on Cookin' CDs entitled "All The Singles Plus The Concert" which was recorded in Toronto, Canada in 1968. I found my copy on Amazon, but I've seen the CD listed on and on eBay. Don't pay more than $20 as copies at that price are available if you search. Unfortunately the CD has no booklet or any bio information at all. The liner looks like it was photo copied, so it may well be a bootleg. However the sound of the single recordings is good and the concert was recorded on a mono tape recorder and the sound quality is what you would expect from that era. Well worth the price!

Elaine Banks said...

I Got Mine: The Story of Jackie Shane
CBC Radio's Inside the Music
Sunday, February 28th: 3:00 p.m. EST on Radio 2; and 9:00 p.m. EST on Radio 1
Produced by Elaine Banks/edited by David Dacks

How to listen:
In Canada:

On FM radio: find your frequency here:
or on sirius satellite 137:

Everywhere else:
or: - go to "listen now" in the right-hand column

Inside the Music website: