Pearl Mae Bailey, 29 March 1918, Newport News, Virginia, USA, d. 17 August 1990, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Pearlie Mae, as she was known, was an uninhibited performer, who mumbled her way through some songs and filled others with outrageous asides and sly innuendoes. She entered the world of entertainment as a dancer but later sang in vaudeville, graduating to the New York nightclub circuit in the early 40s. After working with the Noble Sissle Orchestra, she became band-vocalist with Cootie Williams, with whom she recorded Tess Torch Song, previously sung by Dinah Shore in the movie Up In Arms. Bailey received strong critical acclaim after substituting for Sister Rosetta Tharpe in a show, and was subsequently signed to star in the 1946 Harold Arlen / Johnny Mercer Broadway musical, St. Louis Woman. A year later her slurred version of Tired was the highlight of the movie Variety Girl, and she gave several other outstanding...
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