I'm a little piece of leather but well put together!
February 18, 2018 10:51 AM   Subscribe

We've hosted Jackie Shane on the blue before but she's worth a revisit, especially in light of a lovely 2-CD retrospective box set and some well deserved recognition.

Jackie Shane was born May 15 1940 in Nashville to Jack Crawford and Jessie Shane. When she was 8 she was asked to join the church choir ("I will sing but I will not listen to the minister and I'm not giving him my money. This shyster."). When she was 10 she moved back to Nasville to live with her aunt and started singing in gospel and church groups. By age 13 Jackie had begun to consider herself a woman in a man's body and started wearing makeup to school.

Jackie travelled around the States in various bands, and in 1958 decided to get out of Nashville. At the time she was singing and dancing with the Cetlin-Wilson Carnival. She drove to Detroit and crossed the border to Cornwall, left the carnival 2 weeks later and ended up in Montreal.

Frank Motley (and the Motley Crew were playing at Montreal's Esquire Show Bar. Frank was a trumpet player (known for playing two trumpets simultaneously) who learned from Dizzy Gillespie. One night in 1959 saxophonist King Herbert Whitaker invited Jackie to the Esquire; Shane got up with Frank Motley's band and shortly was in the band.

On September 11 1961 the band played upstairs at Holiday Tavern at Bathurst and Queen. Word of mouth spread and within days there were lines around the block.

In 1965 she was back in Nashville and recorded Walking the Dog on WLAC's Night Train show (the only footage known to exist). By the way, on the same broadcast was one of the earliest televised appearances of Jimi Hendrix.

Moe Stone's Saphire Club was where to be in July 1967 where they recorded Jackie Shane Live. Here's Money from the Saphire gig, in which she talks about Toronto and some other things (uh what, exactly, is chicken?). A few more tracks from this live lp: her hit Any Other Way, Raindrops, Don't Play That Song and Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (the full album).

Here's links to a number of singles: Any Other Way, Stand Up Straight And Tall, You Are My Sunshine, Sticks and Stones, Money, Knock On Wood, Comin' Down and In My Tenement.

By 1968 the relationship between Jackie and Frank Motley had deteriorated, and Jackie went to LA. In 1969 she recorded her last single: New Way of Lovin' backed with Cruel Cruel World.

In 1970, George Clinton and Funkadelic were part of the Toronto r&b scene; they wanted to work with Jackie, but she found them "a little too wild for me" (in reference to Garry Starchild Shider's predilection for wearing diapers).

In 1971 Frank Motley had convinced Jackie to return to Toronto for gigs at the Concord Tavern but it fell apart pretty fast. In an argument over money, Frank pulled a knife - Jackie would have pulled her gun, but she had left it at her apartment. Jackie closed out the series of gigs at the Concord and left Toronto for good, back to LA.

By December 1971 Jackie left the music business and went into seclusion.

In the mid-1990's, Frank Motley gave Jackie's phone number to researcher Bill Munson, and the word got out that Jackie Shane was still alive in LA.

In 2016, Numero Uno collected all known recordings into a sweet 2-CD set with extensive liner notes.

The book Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer takes its name from one of Jackie's hits and includes chapters and articles on queer Toronto.

There's now a 22 story mural near Yonge Street and Jackie is front and center, and in good company (Ronnie Hawkins, Glenn Gould, Diane Brooks, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, Gordon Lightfoot and Oscar Peterson).

"What I'm doing, there is nothing wrong with it. The way others think doesn't mean nothing to me. I'm not hurting anyone."
posted by parki (4 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Jackie Shane’s Christmas Show (self-link, Instagram).
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:54 PM on February 18, 2018

Morgan M. Page covered Shane on the One from the Vaults podcast.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:31 PM on February 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is a major discovery, and heartens me. Carl Wilson, one of the best writers about music peroid, and from Toronto, writes elegantly about Shane, in this brilliant essay
posted by PinkMoose at 10:17 PM on February 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Never heard of Jackie Shane before now. Thanks for the intro.

Also, Donnie Elbert: A Little Piece of Leather (1965)
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:47 AM on February 19, 2018

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