Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shirley Ellis - The Complete Congress Recordings

SHIRLEY ELLIS by Harry Young

By the time of "The Name Game," Shirley Ellis had been an accomplished songwriter for more than a decade. She was a veteran of the 1950's Doo-Wop & Calypso explosions,
a seasoned performer and a consummate artist
of incredible versatility.

Shirley Ellis (Shirley Marie Elliston) was raised in the Bronx, NY. Early on, Shirley won an Amateur Night competition at the Apollo Theater and performed with the Metronomes.

Her first song writing copyrights were registered in June 1954. The Chords (aka The Sh-Booms) cut Shirley's "Pretty Wild" (Cat 117) & "Lu-Lu" (unreleased) in February 1955. The group did a second version of "Lu-Lu" in August 1957 (Vik 0295, also on the various artists CD Rock 'N' Roll Party, Volume 2, RCA 9758-2-R, 1989). The Heartbreakers, managed by Alphonso Elliston, cut Shirley's "One, Two I Love You" in January 1957 (Vik 0261).

In 1959, Shirley met Lincoln R. Chase (b. June 29, 1926-
d. October 6, 1980). Lincoln became Shirley's manager, producer and song writing partner.

Contrary to many published accounts, Shirley was never married to Lincoln Chase! (Alphonso Elliston, 1994: "I am Shirley Ellis' husband. Lincoln Chase is not her husband and has never been her husband.")

In December 1951, while enrolled at NYC's American Academy of Music, Lincoln Chase signed with Decca ("Loved One," 1952 & "I'll Never Stop Loving You," 1953).

Although Chase recorded for RCA ("The Vulture Song," February 1953), Dawn (4 singles, 1956-57), Vik (no releases, March 1957), Liberty (1957: "Johnny Klingeringding" & The Explosive Lincoln Chase LP), Columbia (1955 & 1960-61), Swan ("Sweet Torture," September 1962) & Paramount (the Lincoln Chase 'N' You LP, November 1973), he was best known as a prolific songwriter: "Such A Night" by Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters (November 1953), Johnnie Ray (February 1954) & Elvis Presley (recorded April 1960, released July 1964); "Jim Dandy" by LaVern Baker (December 1956) & Black Oak Arkansas (December 1973); "Jim Dandy Got Married" by LaVern Baker (May 1957); "Batman To The Rescue" by LaVern Baker (July 1966); "That's All I Need" by LaVern Baker (December 1956); "Rain Down Rain" by Big Maybelle (November 1952); "Salty Tears" by Chuck Willis (November 1952); "Mend Your Ways" by Ruth Brown (May 1953); "Please Don't Freeze" by Ruth Brown (July 1954); "She Makes Me Mad" by George Benson (June 1954) & "Rock, Moan And Cry" by the Playboys (August 1954). Billboard - February 21, 2004.


1. The Nitty Gritty
2. Give Me A List
3. That's What The Nitty Gritty Is
4. Get Out
5. Shy One
6. Takin' Care Of Business
7. Such A Night
8. Bring It On Home To Me
9. The Name Game
10. Whisper To Me Wind
11. The Clapping Song
12. This Is Beautiful
13. The Puzzle Song
14. I See It, I Like It, I Want It
15. I Never Will Forget
16. I Told You So
17. One Sour Note
18. You Better Be Good, World
19. Stardust
20. Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above The Water
21. Don't Let Go
22. Kansas City
23. C.C. Rider
24. Stagger Lee