Thursday, October 13, 2011
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Nellie Lutcher
Song:Fine Brown Frame
Album:Hurry On Down
Nellie Lutcher is a long forgotten R & B singer and pianist who had success on Capitol Records in the late 40s. She had three top five R & B hits including Fine Brown Frame. She was born Oct. 15, 1912 in Lake Charles, LA the oldest of 15 children. Her dad played bass and her mom was church organist. So I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that Nellie took piano lessons as a child. Ma Rainey was touring and her pianist fell ill and she needed a replacement for the Lake Charles show. Someone suggested this little girl who played in church. So at 12 years old, Nellie Lutcher played piano in Ma Rainey's band. Her dad played bass at that gig. So at age 14, she joined her father in Clarence Hart's Imperial Jazz Band. Then in 1933, she joined the Southern Rhythm Boys and wrote all their arrangements. Nellie moved to Los Angeles in 1935. She got married and had a son and played clubs in Los Angeles. She was very good friends with Nat King Cole and would record duets with him later. Nellie performed on a 1947 March Of Dimes talent show radio broadcast. Capitol Records talent scout Dave Dexter heard the broadcast and signed her to a record deal. Hurry On Down, He's A Real Gone Guy and Fine Brown Frame all reached #2 on the R & B chart. Nellie wrote the first two songs but Fine Brown Frame was originally recorded by bandleader Buddy Johnson and likely was sung by his sister Ella Johnson. It wasn't a hit for them. Veteran producer Mayo Williams is credited with writing Fine Brown Frame. But I doubt he actually wrote it. Nellie continued to have success including recording a couple of duets with Nat King Cole in 1950. But she started fading. Capitol had her record with an orchestra for the first time in 1951. They didn't like the results and she was dropped. She continued to record for Decca, Okeh and Liberty but nothing worked and she stopped recording in 1957. Capitol used to have a comp of Nellie's 40s recordings. But they deleted it and have licensed her recordings to outside labels including this CD from the Demon Records label Memoir. Nellie Lutcher continued to perform into the 90s but mostly she was a long time employee of the Los Angeles Musicians Union. She died on June 8, 2007 at age 94. So if you're a fan of 40s R & B, you want to check out Nellie Lutcher. Here's a video for Fine Brown Frame by Nellie Lutcher.