Sonntag, 20. März 2016

Tiny Topsy

Tiny Topsy
aka Otha Lee Moore Hall
née Otha Lee Moore
 (Chicago, Illinois)



Tiny Topsy / Tiny Topsy (bb The Charms) (uncredited)

1957 – Miss You So / Aw! Shucks Baby (Federal 12302)

Tiny Topsy & The Charms

1957 - Come On, Come On, Come On / Ring Around My Finger (Federal 12309)

Tiny Topsy / Tiny Topsy (& Grp.)

1958 – You Shocked Me / Waterproof Eyes (Federal 12315)

Tiny Topsy (& Grp.) (female chorus)

1958 - Western Rock 'N Roll / Cha Cha Sue (Federal 12323)
1959 - Just A Little Bit / Everybody Needs Some Loving (Federal 12357)

Tiny Topsy (& Grp.)

1961 - How You Changed* / Working On Me Baby (Argo 5383)
*on promo single labeled as After Marriage Blues

Tiny (bb The Charms) (uncredited) / Tiny (& Grp.) (female chorus)

1963 – Aw! Shucks Baby* / Everybody Needs Some Loving (King 5815)
* alt. take, recorded in 1957


1957 – A Woman’s Intuition (Federal)


Tiny Topsy was one of those marvellous big-voiced women of the mid to late 50s, in the vocal style of Big Maybelle, LaVern Baker and Big Mama Thornton, who possessed a set of lungs to match her 250 pound physique. She was born May 22, 1930 in Chicago and began performing with Al Smith’s band in Chicago in 1945. This group split in 1952, with Smith becoming an in-house band leader for the likes of Chance, Parrot and Vee-Jay, but without Tiny's involvement.

Tiny's first recording session for Federal Records was held in Cincinnati on July 9, 1957 and resulted in the bouncy "Aw! Shucks Baby", with a great tenor solo by Ray Felder. Backing group were The Charms (with no mention on the label). It was a screamer equal of LaVern Baker. The flip was a cover of “Miss You So”, a Top 10 R&B hit for Lillian Offitt. A third track from this session, "A Woman's Intuition", remained unissued until 1988.

On her next single “Come On, Come On, Come On” b/w “Ring Around My Finger” she was backed by The Charms again, and this time The Charms got label credit. Her following single was “You Shocked Me” b/w “Waterproof Eyes. “Come On, Come On, Come On” and “You Shocked Me” were kick ass rockers in the vein of Etta James.

Tiny Topsy's fourth Federal single “Western Rock 'N Roll” b/w “Cha Cha Sue” is a very interesting one. “Western Rock 'n' Roll” incorporates snippets of then-current hits (“Lollipop”, “At The Hop”, “Get A Job”, “Short Shorts”). It opens with gunshots and was released before “Western Movies” by The Olympics. So it looks like the sound effects on “Western Movies” were inspired by “Western Rock 'n' Roll” instead of the other way round.

Tiny Topsy with Richard E. Stamz

Tiny Topsy certainly was a trendsetter, because her next single (and her last one for Federal) was the original of what has become a classic : “Just A Little Bit”, paired with “Everybody Needs Some Loving”. Rosco Gordon had a # 2 R&B hit with his version of “Just A Little Bit” in 1960 and the song has been covered by countless people, including Jerry Lee Lewis “Southern Roots” album. After leaving Federal Tiny Topsy had only one further single released, "Working On Me Baby", coupled with “How You Changed” (Argo 5383). An alternate take of “Aw! Shucks Baby” with “Everybody Needs Some Loving “on the flipside was released by King Records in 1963.

Jet, September 3, 1964
Jet, September 10,1964

Although Tiny Topsy never became a big name star and frequent occupier of the charts, her records were always great  She died on August 16, 1964 at the very young age of 34 of brain hemorrhage in Chicago.



Miss You So

Aw! Shucks Baby

Come On, Come On, Come On

Ring Around My Finger

You Shocked Me

Waterproof Eyes

Western Rock 'N Roll

Cha Cha Sue

Just A Little Bit

Everybody Needs Some Loving

How You Changed (aka After Marriage Blues)

Working On Me Baby

Aw! Shucks Baby (alt.)

A Woman’s Intuition

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