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Lee Morse

A torch song singer renowned for her versatility, Lee Morse's troubles with alcohol prevented her from attaining the fame her talents promised. Born Lena Taylor in 1897, Morse grew up in a musical family in Kooskia, Idaho. After marrying and having a son, she left her family for the vaudeville circuit of the west coat around 1920, signing with producer Will King. A year later, she began working in musical revues with Kolb & Dill. In 1922, Morse joined the Pantages circuit, and played to rave reviews. Many wondered how the petite singer could produce such a deep sound, and one Variety writer supposed her low range came from trying to match her brothers' voices throughout her youth. Morse began recording with Pathe-Perfect in 1924, laying down several of her own compositions, such as "Telling Eyes," "Those Daisy Days" and "An Old Fashioned Romance." Lee Morse & Her Blue Grass Boys included trumpeter Manny Klein, Eddie Lang on guitar, and two brothers who played clarinet and trombone named Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey.

Switching to Columbia in 1927, Morse continued working the stage and won a role in Zeigfield's Simple Simon that could have cemented her legacy. But a bender left Morse unable to perform the first show, and Ruth Etting stepped in to take her place. The show's signature song, "Ten Cents a Dance," helped launch Etting to fame, while Morse's Broadway career quickly ended. She still managed to film musical shorts throughout the '30s, including A Million Me's, Lee Morse in the Music Racket, and Song Service. As stage gigs became scarce during the depression, Morse settled for club acts, and even opened a club with pianist Rob Downey in Texas, which ran until it burned down in 1939. Then Morse's marriage to Downey disintegrated, leaving her even more dependant on alcohol. She moved to Rochester, New York, and in 1946 married Ray Farese, who landed her a radio show and club dates. The singer attempted a comeback with the song "Don't Even Change a Picture on the Wall" in 1951. She died at 57 in 1954. ~ Ron DePasquale
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Echoes Of A Songbird

1. Mail Man Blues

2. Bring Back Those Rock-A-Bye Baby Days

3. Too Tired

4. I Ain't Got Nobody To Love

5. Telling Eyes

6. Could I? I Certainly Could

7. Ukelele Lady

8. Yes, Sir, That's My Baby

9. Alone At Last

10. Sweet Man

11. I'se Gwine Back To Dixie

12. Oh Boy! What A Girl

13. I Love You So

14. I Love My Baby (My Baby Loves Me)

15. I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight?

16. My Sugar Babe

17. Tentin' Down To Tennessee

18. Poor Papa

19. I'm In Love With You-That's Why

20. Where'd You Get Those Eyes?

21. Daddy's Girl

22. Tonight You Belong To Me

23. Ain't That Too Bad

24. Look What You Went And Done

25. The Little White House

26. (What Do I Care What) Somebody Said

27. Ain't He Sweet

28. Mollie Make Up Your Mind

29. We (My Honey And Me)

30. I've Looked All Over For A Boy Like You

31. Did You Mean It?

32. Give Me A Goodnight Kiss

33. Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella

34. There Must Be A Silver Lining

35. Shadows On The Wall

36. Mother And Dad

37. Susianna

38. Main Street

39. Old Man Sunshine, Little Boy Bluebird

40. Don't Be Like That

41. Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)

42. He's A Good Man To Have Around

43. Sweetheart's Holiday

44. Look What You've Done To Me

45. If I Can't Have You

46. To Be Forgotten

47. Tain't No Sin

48. I'm Following You

49. Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love

50. Just A Little While

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