Wednesday, March 04, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Al Hibbler

Artist:Al Hibbler w/Duke Ellington and his Orchestra
Song:Don't Get Around Much Anymore
Album:Unchained Melody: The Definitive Singles Collection

Before singer Al Hibbler had solo success in the 50s, he was Duke Ellington's main singer for most of the 40s including this 1947 recording of Don't Get Around Much Anymore. Hibbler was born Aug. 16, 1915 in Tyro, MS. He was blind at birth. His family moved to Little Rock, AR where he went to the Arkansas School for the Blind. He sang in the choir and in local clubs. After a failed 1935 audition for Duke Ellington, Hibbler won a talent contest in Memphis and sang with local bandleader Dub Jenkins. Then he moved to Kansas City to join Jay McShann's band in 1942. And this led to Hibbler replacing Herb Jeffries in Ellington's band in 1943. He stayed with Ellington's band until 1951 and is considered to be Ellington's best vocalist. Probably Hibbler's biggest hit with Ellington was Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me in 1944. And he sang I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues and I'm Just A Lucky So And So. Don't Get Around Much Anymore was first recorded as the instrumental Lament No More in 1940. Bob Russell wrote lyrics for Ellington's melody and the song topped the charts in 1943 with Betty Roche on vocals. The version with Hibbler on vocals was recorded in 1947 with solos by Johnny Hodges, Ray Nance and Lawrence Brown. Hibbler left the Ellington band in 1951 when Duke wouldn't give him a raise. He had solo success with Unchained Melody in 1955. This 2CD comp from Jasmine Records has all of Hibbler's important recordings. He didn't record much after the 50s but he continued to perform and was heavily involved in the civil rights movement. Al Hibbler died on Apr. 24, 2001 at age 85. Here's a video of Don't Get Around Much Anymore by Al Hibbler with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra.

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