Tell her I'm happy, tell her I'm gay, tell her I wouldn't have it any other way.
July 27, 2009 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Jackie Shane could rock the Sapphire Club. He was part of the Toronto Sound of the sixties, and made his mark not only for his soulful voice, but also for his flamboyent, gender ambiguous appearance (video). His song Any Other Way went to Number Two on the Canadian Billboard chart in 1963, and was his biggest hit. While his discography was short and he has faded into obscurity, he has been recognized by the queer community and music bloggers as a trail-blazing performer. In My Tenement, Comin Down, You Are My Sunshine, Stand Up Strait and Tall, Don't Play That Song.
posted by kimdog (8 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Damn, how did I miss this guy? Nice.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:15 AM on July 27, 2009

The most fascinating thing I found about this when following your links was that nobody knows what happened to him. At all. He didn't just fade into obscurity, he faded. Period. Some rumors of him being murdered, but NO PROOF.

Thank you for a very nice FPP.
posted by lleachie at 11:04 AM on July 27, 2009

Great post, thanks!

Anyone who wants to learn (and hear) more about the '60s Toronto r&b scene would be well advised to check out the Light In The Attic Jamaica To Toronto series of reissues, as well as Canada's Message To The Meters, which includes some (instrumental) tracks by Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers, who Shane recorded one LP with.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:15 AM on July 27, 2009

Excellent post. Thanks!
posted by hooptycritter at 11:40 AM on July 27, 2009

lleachi- 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.

I 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).
posted by kimdog at 11:51 AM on July 27, 2009 [10 favorites]

Man, Jackie is gorgeous. I would kill for those eyes. Sigh.

Drag queen season is in full swing right now in Columbus (what is it about summer? the pageants? the circuit parties?) and now I want to go drink a mojito and watch a man be ten times prettier than I could ever be more than ever.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:34 PM on July 27, 2009

Choice quotes from his epic improv/monologue in Money -

"You know, when I'm walking down Young Street, you won't believe this, but you know some of them funny people have the nerve to point the finger at me, and grin, and smile, and whisper ... but you know that don't worry Jackie because I know I look good."

"You what my slogan is? Baby, do what you want, just know what you're doing. As long as you don't force your will and your way on anybody else, live your life because ain't nobody sanctified and holy."

"Everywhere I go, you know what? This is the closest to Jesus Christ some of you will ever get. You should travel with me, baby, you'd think Jesus Christ had come down and walked this earth again. The multitude that follows me is so great, because they know I go along handing out soul blessings, satisfying souls, but I don't satisfy nobody that's a square."

What an absolutely bloody amazing performer. I wonder what's become of her ...
posted by Devika at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2009

Wonderful post, thank you.
posted by Morrigan at 3:44 PM on July 27, 2009

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