From her days singing with the Count Basie band as a replacement for Joe Williams, to her Indian summer of renewed popularity, Irene Reid always lived up to her moniker, The Queen of Uptown Blues. Like Dinah Washington and Esther Phillips, Irene had a church background and never lost that divine intensity or power to convey the emotions in a lyric. Moving to New York from her native Savannah in 1947, Irene tried out for the Apollo Theater's Amateur Contest and ended up winning it five consecutive times. With Basie in the early '60s, Irene toured Sweden, Switzerland, France and Australia and recorded some albums with her own group, Irene Reid and Company. She went on to record two big-band albums for Verve but her most visible appearance in those post-Basie years was in the cast of the Broadway show, "The Wiz," as the wicked witch Evillene, the role originated by Mabel King. In 1997, after two decades spent largely under the show-business radar, Irene re-emerged on Savant records at the recommendation of B-3 organist Charles "The Mighty Burner" Earland. She recorded a number of albums for Savant before her passing in 2008, with each release winning her a legion of new fans. Here is a program featuring Irene, the Mighty Burner, Eric Alexander and the rest of the crew doing what Irene did best the Uptown Blues. With her all-star Band, Irene's wit, sassy delivery and love of life is evident in every track.
IRENE REID, vocals • With Charles Earland, Eric Alexander, Rodney Jones, James Rotondi and others
TRACKS: Million Dollar Secret • I'm Getting Tired • If I Never Get To Heaven • I'm Walkin' • Aiming at Nothing • Once There Lived a Fool • Long John Blues • One Eyed Man • I Took the Backdoor Out • I Ain't Doing Too Bad • I'll Take You Back • Big Fat Daddy
Big Fat Daddy
I Took the Backdoor Out
Once There Lived a Fool