Lounge singer Jackie Shane was considered very risque during the more subdued Toronto club era of the early 1960's. As a black androgynous soul singer, often backed by Frank Motley And The Hitchhikers (featuring saxophonist King Herbert) at the Sapphire Club, Shane commanded overflow crowds as much for his silky smooth voice as for his flamboyant effeminate stage persona.
With constant club engagements throughout Canada and parts of the US as far away as California and Hawaii, Shane was able to release his one and only hit record, "Any Other Way", in April 1963. The song reached No. 2 in Canada and sustained itself on the charts for 9 consecutive weeks.
To capitalize on his popularity she also recorded a live album but by the late 1960's drifted into obscurity. Many rumours have circulated over the years about her untimely death, but none have ever been confirmed, and she was last heard from in 2005.
Update (March 2010): After the airing of the Canadian radio documentary Jackie Shane was located, alive and well, with hopefully more news to come. And I had to switch the pronouns in the above, as she was in such obscurity for decades that it was only recently realized that she now identifies as a woman.
Jackie Shane Discography
Really Got the
Blues / Money (Stop 104, 7", 1962)
For more detailed discography info: See this link
and essentially every Shane track is now on YouTube
What happened to Jackie Shane? Here's a little, taken from a blog:
Actually, I do know something about what happened to Jackie Shane. I came across that video of Jackie Shane via author/activist Jim Fouratt. And I was dumbstruck when I saw it, because I met Jackie several times during 1996-97 when I was living in Nashville. I was in grad school and interning for a senior citizen's center. Jackie's aunt was a client of ours, and Jackie lived with her. When I knew her, Jackie was living as a woman. She was extremely agoraphobic and reclusive. I spoke mainly to her over the phone, but eventually I ended up meeting her face to face, because she and her aunt needed help moving.
had no inkling of her past until the day that a friend and I started
packing them up to move. I remember albums, memorabilia, fur coats
and costumes. She told us that she used to perform (but at the time
I thought she meant as a drag queen). I tried to google her afterwards,
but couldn't find anything on the web at that time. I'm happy that
she's now getting some renewed notice about her musical career, but
a little sad that she may not know (if she's still alive).
Above, website description of an extraordinary documentary aired 2/28/10 on CBC Radio 1 in Canada, produced by Elaine Banks. In it was more information about Jackie Shane's fate, from Steve Kennedy who played sax for Jackie at one time. Kennedy had been in numerous Toronto bands, including Kay Taylor & the Regents, the Soul Searchers, and, with much greater success, Motherlode, which had a huge hit in 1969 with "When I Die." From other sources it is known that Jackie moved back to Nashville at least as early at the mid 1990s, perhaps much sooner. In a comment in the documentary Kennedy said he talked with Jackie on the telephone in 2005, and that Jackie was very interested in starting another band, but this was not followed up on, and Kennedy heard nothing further.
Update (March 2010): After the airing of the Canadian radio documentary Jackie Shane was located, alive and well, with hopefully more news to come.
Photo courtesy Russ Strathdee, see more at his
And there's more: Extreme Trivia
Four tracks Jackie
did with Frank Motley appear on the CD below, but to me
And the very cool blog, Actiontime and Vision, uncovered this information on other possible tracks:
"The Original Blues Sound of Charles Brown & Amos Milburn"
The 140-page hardbound booklet is exquisite...
above, front; below, back
these photos came out in the new publicity