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Lavern Baker

LaVern Baker was one of the sexiest divas gracing the mid-'50s rock & roll circuit, boasting a brashly seductive vocal delivery tailor-made for belting the catchy novelties "Tweedlee Dee," "Bop-Ting-a-Ling," and "Tra La La" for Atlantic Records during rock's first wave of prominence.

Born Delores Williams, she was singing at the Club DeLisa on Chicago's south side at age 17, decked out in raggedy attire and billed as "Little Miss Sharecropper" (the same handle that she made her recording debut under for RCA Victor with Eddie "Sugarman" Penigar's band in 1949). She changed her name briefly to Bea Baker when recording for OKeh in 1951 with Maurice King's Wolverines, then settled on the first name of LaVern when she joined Todd Rhodes' band as featured vocalist in 1952 (she fronted Rhodes' aggregation on the impassioned ballad "Trying" for Cincinnati's King Records).

LaVern signed with Atlantic as a solo in 1953, debuting with the incendiary "Soul on Fire." The coy, Latin-tempo "Tweedlee Dee" was a smash in 1955 on both the R&B and pop charts, although her impact on the latter was blunted when squeaky-clean Georgia Gibbs covered it for Mercury. An infuriated Baker filed suit over the whitewashing, but she lost. By that time, though, her star had ascended: Baker's "Bop-Ting-A-Ling," "Play It Fair," "Still," and the rocking "Jim Dandy" all vaulted into the R&B Top Ten over the next couple of years.

Baker's statuesque figure and charismatic persona made her a natural for TV and movies. She co-starred on the historic R&B revue segment on Ed Sullivan's TV program in November of 1955 and did memorable numbers in Alan Freed's rock movies Rock, Rock, Rock and Mr. Rock & Roll. Her Atlantic records remained popular throughout the decade: she hit big in 1958 with the ballad "I Cried a Tear," adopted a pseudo-sanctified bellow for the rousing Leiber & Stoller-penned gospel sendup "Saved" in 1960, and cut a Bessie Smith tribute album before leaving Atlantic in 1964. A brief stop at Brunswick Records (where she did a sassy duet with Jackie Wilson, "Think Twice") preceded a late-'60s jaunt to entertain the troops in Vietnam. She became seriously ill after the trip and was hospitalized, eventually settling far out of the limelight in the Philippines. She remained there for 22 years, running an NCO club on Subic Bay for the U.S. government.

Finally, in 1988, Baker returned stateside to star in Atlantic's 40th anniversary bash at New York's Madison Square Garden. That led to a soundtrack appearance in the film Dick Tracy, a starring role in the Broadway musical Black & Blue (replacing her ex-Atlantic labelmate Ruth Brown), a nice comeback disc for DRG (Woke Up This Mornin'), and a memorable appearance at the Chicago Blues Festival. Baker died on March 10, 1997. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Tweedle Dee

1. Easy Baby

2. I Wonder Baby

3. Take Out Some Time

4. I'll Try (I've Tried)

5. How Long

6. I Want To Rock

7. Good Daddy

8. I Want A Lavender Cadillac

9. Make It Good

10. Trying

11. Pig Latin Blues

12. Lost Child

13. Must I Cry Again

14. You'll Be Crying

15. How Can You Leave A Man Like This?

16. Soul On Fire

17. I'm Living My Life For You

18. I'm In A Crying Mood

19. I Can't Hold Out Any Longer

20. Of Course I Do

21. Tomorrow Night

22. You Better Stop

23. Tweedle Dee

x

Track List: Saved (Expanded Edition)

1. Saved

2. For Love Of You

3. Manana

4. My Time Will Come

5. Shadows Of Love

6. Must I Cry Again

7. Bumble Bee

8. Shake A Hand

9. Don Juan

10. Wheel Of Fortune

11. Senor Big And Fine

12. Eternally

13. Whipper Snapper

14. St Louis Blues

15. That's All I Need

16. Play Fair

17. Still

18. I Cried A Tear

19. Substitute

x

Track List: Bob Ting A Ling

1. Jim Dandy

2. Tra La La

3. I Can't Love You Enough

4. Get Up Get Up (You Sleepy Head)

5. That's All I Need

6. Bop Ting A Ling

7. Tweedlee Dee

8. Still

9. Play It Fair

10. Tomorrow Night

11. That Lucky Old Sun

12. Soul On Fire

13. My Happiness Forever

14. Lots & Lots Of Love

15. Of Course I Do

16. You'll Be Crying

17. Miracles

18. I'm In A Crying Mood

19. Mine All Mine

20. Harbor Lights

21. I'll Never Be Free

22. Romance In The Dark

23. Everybody's Somebody's Fool

24. How Long Will It Be

x

Track List: LaVern Baker (2009)

1. Jim Dandy

2. Tra La La

3. I Can't Love You Enough

4. Get Up, Get Up (You Sleepy Head)

5. That's All I Need

6. Bop-Ting-A-Ling

7. Tweedle Dee

8. Still

9. Play It Fair

10. Tomorrow Night

11. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day])

12. Soul On Fire

13. My Happiness Forever

14. How Can You Leave A Man Like This?

x

Track List: Precious Memories: LaVern Baker Sings Gospel

1. Precious Memories

2. Carrying The Cross For My Boss

3. Just A Closer Walk With Thee

4. Touch Me, Lord Jesus

5. Didn't It Rain

6. Precious Lord

7. Somebody Touched Me

8. In The Upper Room

9. Journey To The Sky

10. Everytime I Feel The Spirit

11. Too Close

12. Without A God

x

Track List: Live In Hollywood '91

1. Tweedle Dee (Live In Hollywood '91)

2. Tomorrow Night (Live In Hollywood '91)

3. See See Rider (Live In Hollywood '91)

4. Play It Fair (Live In Hollywood '91)

5. Jim Dandy (Live In Hollywood '91)

6. St. Louis Blues (Live In Hollywood '91)

7. What A Diff'rence A Day Made (Live In Hollywood '91)

8. The Reel's Still Runnin' (Live In Hollywood '91)

9. Sugar Daddy Blues (Live In Hollywood '91)

10. Slow Rollin' Mama (Live In Hollywood '91)

11. He's A Real Gone Guy (Live In Hollywood '91)

12. That's My Desire (Live In Hollywood '91)

13. Tennessee Waltz (Live In Hollywood '91)]

14. I Cried A Tear (Live In Hollywood '91)

15. Bumble Bee (Live In Hollywood '91)

16. Shake A Hand (Live In Hollywood '91)

17. Saved (Live In Hollywood '91)

x

Track List: LaVern

1. Lots And Lots Of Love

2. Of Course I Do

3. You'll Be Crying

4. Miracles

5. I'm In A Crying Mood

6. Mine All Mine

7. Harbor Lights

8. I'll Never Be Free

9. Romance In The Dark

10. Everybody's Somebody's Fool

11. How Long Will It Be

12. Fool That I Am

x

Track List: Jim Dandy

1. Jim Dandy

2. Tweedlee Dee

3. Soul On Fire

4. Tra La La

5. I Cried A Tear

6. Tomorrow Night

7. Jim Dandy Got Married

8. Substitute

9. Play It Fair

10. Get Up Get Up (You Sleepy Head)

x

Track List: Rhino Hi-Five: LaVern Baker

1. Tweedle Dee

2. Bop-Ting-A-Ling

3. Jim Dandy

4. I Cried A Tear

5. See See Rider

x

Track List: See See Rider

1. See See Rider

2. You Better Stop

3. He's A Real Gone Guy

4. Story Of My Love (I Had A Dream)

5. You Said

6. I'm Leavin' You

7. Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes

8. Trying

9. Half Of Your Love

10. A Little Bird Told Me So

11. Endless Love

12. All The Time

x

Track List: Fly Me To The Moon (Single)

1. Fly Me To The Moon

x

Track List: LaVern/LaVern Baker

1. Lots And Lots Of Love

2. Of Course I Do

3. You'll Be Crying

4. Miracles

5. I'm In A Crying Mood

6. Mine All Mine

7. Harbor Lights

8. I'll Never Be Free

9. Romance In The Dark

11. How Long Will It Be

12. Fool That I Am

13. Jim Dandy

14. Tra La La

15. I Can't Love You Enough

16. Get Up, Get Up (You Sleepy Head)

17. That's All I Need

18. Bop-Ting-A-LIng

19. Tweedlee Dee

20. Still

21. Play It Fair

22. Tomorrow Night

23. That Lucky Old Sun

24. You Set My Soul On Fire

25. My Happiness Forever

26. How Can You Leave A Man Like This?

x

Track List: Soul On Fire

1. Soul On Fire

2. Tomorrow Night

3. Tweedle Dee

4. That's All I Need

5. Bop-Ting-A-Ling

6. Play It Fair

7. Jim Dandy

8. My Happiness Forever

9. Get Up, Get Up (You Sleepy Head)

10. Still

11. I Can't Love You Enough

12. Jim Dandy Got Married

13. I Cried A Tear

14. Whipper Snapper

15. I Waited Too Long

16. Shake A Hand

17. How Often

18. You Said

19. Saved

20. See See Rider

x

Track List: Saved

1. Saved

2. For Love Of You

3. Manana

4. My Time Will Come

5. Shadow Of Love

6. Must I Cry Again

7. Bumble Bee

8. Shake A Hand

9. Don Juan

10. Wheel Of Fortune

11. Senor Big And Fine

12. Eternally

13. No Love So True

14. Hey Memphis

15. Loads Of Love

16. You Don't Tell Me

17. Eager Beaver

18. Itty Bitty Girl

x

Track List: Blues Ballads

1. I Cried A Tear (1959)

2. If You Love Me

3. You're Teasing Me

4. Love Me Right

5. Dix-A-Billy

6. So High, So Low

7. I Waited Too Long (1959)

8. Why Baby Why

9. Humpty Dumpty Heart

10. It's So Fine

11. Whipper Snapper (1959)

12. St Louis Blues

x

Track List: Sings Bessie Smith

1. Gimme A Pigfoot

2. Baby Doll

3. On A Revival Day

4. Money Blues

5. I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle

6. Back Water Blues

7. Empty Bed Blues

8. There'll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight

9. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

10. After You've Gone

11. Young Woman's Blues

12. Preaching The Blues

Comments

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You make me shiver wow
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❤️❤️❤️❤️️ I got rid of pandora ads/skip limit on www.dankprom o . x y z ❤❤️❤️️❤️
Report as inappropriate
❤️❤️❤️❤️️ I got rid of pandora ads/skip limit on www.dankprom o . x y z ❤❤️❤️️❤️
Report as inappropriate
So sweet so rare so great.Check her on Version X Think Twice with Jackie Wilson.
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saw lavern baker on stage 1957 canton ohio very nice R@R show
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Her version of that lucky old sun .great
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I saw Lavern Baker several times performing at the Chief Petty Officers Club in Subic Bay Philippines in 1986. She was living in the Philippines at the time and was a regular at the military clubs. What a great entertainer! ! I just loved her music.
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Lavern Baker rocks with the best of the men on this song.
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"Play It Fair"~Smoove - a s - s i l k ~ { F i n e - A s - W i n e )
H-Town~Groov i n ~ W e - S t i l l - M o v i n g - T h e - M u s i c
Lovers-Rock- S t e a d y - B l u e s
LOVE+S Disciple*978 * 1 * ~ 7 m 1 4 y ~
Report as inappropriate
sultry...f^& k YES.
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Say what!!!!!!!! s c a r e d MY pants on!!!!! Thinkin with the head
Report as inappropriate
Sang it girl........ . d o n e got caught the f**k up..... U mad yo bed and lay in it...some real stanly s**t.....
Report as inappropriate
Laverne had a big voice and how pretty she was! Momma said she and daddy used to dance to her songs when they were young teens. Love these jams back in the day.
Report as inappropriate
gbrnthvr
Faye Adams' version was just as good (and I am a big fan of LaVern). BTW, It is very Rare to hear LaVern's version of I'll Do The Same For Youanywhere. It was on the flip side of her 45 RPM hit record Fe, Fe, Fi Fi, Fo,Fum.
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play, I cried a tear it is one of her best.
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bobjacobs90
The very best at wehat she did,ENTERTAI N
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jerrystrozzi
as a very small child I will never forget my mother had the 45 and used to play it all the time,,I cried a tear, beautiful song and voice
Report as inappropriate
Oh, Lavern, I too "Cried a Tear." What a voice, what a beautiful woman...
Report as inappropriate
t_heath
What a fantastic voice!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! 1 1
Report as inappropriate
Lavern has a powerful voice...a truly amazing talent. I loved her!
Report as inappropriate
Powerful, demands your attention!

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