Part 1
Hour 2

March 2006
 

Stream Part 1Download Part 1, right click

  Stream Part 2Download Part 2, right click   Stream Part 3Download Part 3, right click


         Visit the Drag Artist Discography

In conjunction with these two shows, I've added a new section to my website: Drag Artist Discography, which gives photos of the artists and recordings, and articles and other information, kind of a resource center. This will also allow me to provide just a couple photos of each of the 36 artists on the three sections of Part 1 of this show. Click to get there.

Part 2         64:50
Lee Sutton - The Lady Is A Fake (1968)
Danny La Rue - Mame (1970)
Danny La Rue - Hello Dolly (1970)
Michelle - Why Am I So Lovely? (1968)
Minette - LBJ, don't take my man away (1968)
Charles Pierce - Want to Buy an
Illusion / One of the Boys (1987)
Jim Bailey - You Made Me Love You
       / Second Hand Rose (1973)
Reg Livermore - It Should Have Been Me (1976)
Rudy Ray Moore - Jerry Walker intro (1971)
Jerry Walker - I Live the Life I Love
       Because I Love the Life I Live (1971)
Liz Lyons - A Long Long Time (1975)
Daisy Dynamite - See What the Boys
       in the Backroom Will Have (1975)
Michael Aspinall - Aprile (1976)
Hinge & Bracket - Can't Help Lovin' That Man (1983)
Dame Edna - Here I Am (1976)
Foo Foo Lamarr - My Way (1976)
The Trollettes - Nagasaki (1983)
Pierrot - Homosexual (1978)
Samantha - Rock Me Baby (1979)
Domino - Cabaret Paree (1980)
Craig Russell - Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend (1977)
Craig Russell - Some of These Days (1987)

Who could resist a female impersonator who billed himself as "Lee Sutton, a Near Miss"? Lee Sutton, born Leonard Sutch, was very popular in London in the late 60s and early 70s and there were there albums released of his material. On the back cover of his last album (released after his death in 1978) it states that the greatest tribute, in Lee's mind, was paid to him when Danny La Rue asked him to work at his hotel at Christmas 1971 -- the only time that Danny had ever booked another female impersonator.

If any artist in the UK could be called a national institution, it would have to be Danny La Rue. For over five decades he's been doing his famous act. His career includes appearances on TV and in a number of movies, including starring in "Our Miss Fred" in 1972. In 1982 he played "Dolly Levi" in London's version of "Hello, Dolly," becoming the first man to play that role. In 1968 he even became a pop star when his song, "On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep" became a hit in the UK.

Have you noticed that almost all of the early drag artists went by male names? Well, Michelle was about the first to do her own female thing, and started performing in the San Francisco area in the mid-50s. In 1972 she starred in the first all-male production of "Hello, Dolly," and has done several large scale benefit productions, two of which were captured on albums, called "Ready or Not, It's Me" and "It's Me Again."
Another drag artist with a long career was Minette, who started performing professionally in drag at age 16, in Boston, and moved to New York City in the 50s. She was definitely of a different breed of artist, as she wrote her own material, unusual for this genre, and in the 70s was a member of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatre Company. Minette can also be heard, but not seen, singing the humourous "I Hate to See My Little Son Go Down" in the 1960s drag documentary, "The Queen."

One of the very best female impersonators was Charles Pierce, who began performing in the mid-50s and by the 60s was a much-in-demand guest on television shows, like "Dick Cavett," "Merv Griffin," "Mike Douglas," Wonder Woman," "Laverne and Shirley," "Designing Women," and many others. He recorded two albums, "For Pierced Ears," and "Recorded Live at Bimbos" (1971), and in 1988 appeared as "Bertha Venation" in the movie "Torch Song Trilogy." Two of his shows have been released on video, "Charles Pierce at the Ballroom," and "Legendary Ladies of the Silver Screen," and it's wonderful that his great act has been preserved for the future.

Another very popular illusionist was Jim Bailey, whose been performing since the early 70s, in Las Vegas, on television and in the movies, and of course on record. He appeared on "The Tonight Show" fourteen times, and on shows ranging from "The Lucy Show," "The Rockford Files," and "Ally MacBeal." His impressions were dead on, especially of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. He's released three recordings, the self-titled "Jim Bailey" in 1972, and the next year "Jim Bailey at Carnegie Hall," and finally, a CD in 1998 called "Voices." Since his albums were on a major label, United Artists, a coup in itself, several 45s were also released, unusual for a drag performer.
Reg Livermore This next artist is from Australia and his
success goes far beyond performing as a
woman. Reg Livermore was been a
musicals star in Australia since the 60s,
with leading rolls in that country's
productions of "Hair," "Rocky Horror
Picture Show," "Barnum," and lately
in "The Producers." But he attracted my
attention for his 1975 one-man show called
"The Betty Blokk Buster Follies."
Jerry Walker
Jerry Walker was the blues-singing, trash-talking black female impersonator on Rudy Ray Moore's label. Walker's LP was "The Fairy Godmother," from 1971.
With album titles like "Up Your Ass" and "Around the World" it's no surprise that very little of the work of Liz Lyons can be played on the radio. Early in his drag career, in the 50s, he worked as Lee Leonard, at venues such as the famous Finnochios, and in the 70s released his two albums. Very late in life he had a sex change, which I've heard was removing a major appendage.

two as Lee LeonardUp Your AssAround the World

In 1975 a Dutch female impersonator named Daisy Dynamite recorded a couple 45s and then an album, "Daisy Dynamite Live at the Oscar Wilde," and it's a romp through cabaret music of the time. A drag queen singing opera? Michael Aspinall's LP was called "Michael Aspinall, The Surprising Soprano," 1976, UK, and has to be heard to be believed.
Through the 70s and 80s on radio and then television, the duo of Hinge & Bracket charmed millions of households in the UK. George Logan and Patrick Fyffe portrayed, respectively, two lovable elderly spinsters named Dr. Evadne Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket. I am including them on this show, and they certainly were artists who performed dressed as women, but they were much more. They were simply perfect character actresses. Patrick Fyffe died in 2002 at age 60.
stamps, issued 2006 Can you think of another drag queen who's had postage stamps issued of them? Barry Humphries first found success in his native Australia, where he created the character Dame Edna Everage in 1956. That role has served him well, in the theatre, television, film, and a number of his specials have been released on DVD.
"I Am What I Am," the autobiographyFrank Foo Foo Lamarr Frank Foo Foo Lamarr had a very successful drag career in the UK, including having a club, which he named after himself, and penning his autobiography, entitled "I Am What I Am." As far as I know he only released one album, "My Life at The Palace, the Frank Lamarr Story," and one 45, "Foo Foo's Netball Team," in 1980. Alas, it was not a hit.

"My Life at The Palace"
In 1969 David Raven and James Court formed what was very unusual, a duo drag act, and they gave it the delightful name, The Trollettes. One album survives, "The Trollettes, Live at The Cricketers," from 1983. They have both been active performers over the years and occasionally reunite for charity events, like the 1998 benefit CD, "Five Drag Divas & a Duo." Raven and Court are pictured at right, from the 1998 album notes.
David RavenJames Court
Pierrot
Samantha
Domino It is only fair that this show include some foreign language performers, though I know next to nothing about this trio, other than owning their recordings. They are Pierrot and Samantha, from Spain, and Domino, one of the cast members on a series of albums released by Berlin's Club Chez Nous. These three recordings were from 1978-1980.
Craig Russell was one of the major female impersonators of the 70s and 80s, starring in two movies, "Outrageous" (1977), and it's 1987 sequel, "Too Outrageous." He did remarkable impressions of female stars, such as Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, and Mae West.
Again, I'm spreading this show out among three pages, click for page 3.