Strings, horns harps, all waiting to get the chance to swing with Frank. Now picture being told that Frank was not going to show and instead, they would provide back-up for 18 year old Lorraine Ellison. Lots of groans and sighs but, the check was in the mail so they agree to sit through it. Lorraine reached # 22 on the R&B charts in ‘65 with I Dig You Baby but this little tune reached #11 on the R&B charts and #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
So, whether you like the tune or not, put yourself in Lorraine’s shoes for a minute. You’re black, 18 years old standing at the microphone in front of Frank Sinatra’s studio band knowing full well that they have no interest at all in a 3 minute soul session with….who is this again?
General consensus is that the band was handed the charts and looked them over for a few minutes while they tuned up. Studio bands were used to last minute scores being shoved down from the podium so in a few minutes, they were ready to go. The engineer, the very well known and respected Jerry Ramone, gave the thumbs up and a studio conductor raised the baton.
And I quote, “Those that were there when she laid her soul bare….say the walls shook. They say the tape almost broke. They say that the 40-odd mostly string players almost dropped their instruments as she began to wail”. I imagine that was a pretty good day for Ms. Lorraine Ellison, heard here singing her hit, Stay With Me.
If you think you have heard some of her tunes, you may be thinking of Janis Joplin who very successfully covered one of Lorraine’s hits, Try (Just a little Bit Harder).
What’s not to like about music? At age four, I liked to lie in front of my Dad’s huge console record player/radio and listen to the big bands of the 40’s. I have early memories of hiding under the covers with a mono earphone in my ear, sound streaming from my first transistor radio. In high school, I began collecting records from artists I had never heard of just to see if I liked the music. I usually did and still do.