GINNY SIMMS was born May 25, 1911 in San Antonio, Texas, and began her singing career with the Ted Gerun Band, using the name Virginia Simms. The same band also featured Tony Martin (real name Al Morris, saxophonist) and also clarinet player Woody Herman. Ginny then sang with Kay Kyser, becoming well known on radio shows and appearing in feature films, such as "Broadway Rhythm," "Night and Day," "Playmates," "Hit the Ice" and "Seven Days Leave." She recorded several hits with Kyser, such as "Don't Ever Change," "Stardust" and "St. Louis Blues." These tracks are culled from the 1940s Command Performance radio show.
HELEN O'CONNELL was a big band singer who did a long apprenticeship with Jimmy Dorsey; she is at home with a clutch of country-western/pop crossover hits. In fact, "Slow Poke" was a hit for Helen when it was backed by Ernie's friend and manager Cliffie Stone.
HELEN FORREST, the "Voice of The Big Bands," had a career that included singing with the orchestras of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Harry James. Here she solos and also duets with Tennessee Ernie Ford on his radio show.
BUCKY TIBBS and JEANNE GAYLE were fellow Capitol recording artists, although neither achieved anything like the success of Tennessee Ernie. Jeanne acquits herself nicely on "Shoo Shoo Baby" (a 1944 hit for the Andrew Sisters and Ella Mae Morse) and "Detour" (revived in 1951 by Patti Page). Bucky, obviously born to play the Annie Oakley role, dispatches her two titles admirably.
KAY ST. GERMAINE was believed to be in retirement when these recordings were made, although her contribution is of the same high quality as the rest of the vocalists. She was from Portland, Oregon and made a name for herself as vocalist with the Anson Weeks band during the mid-1930s. Later, she moved to radio.
LOU DINNING (the most prominent of the three Dinning Sisters) gets a lion's share of titles from the Tennsee Ernie Ford Show and does a nice job with them too.
ROBERTA LEE was an R&B singer on the Decca label who had scored a minor success in 1951 with her cover of "Slow Poke." Whatever her roots, she had no trouble handling country material like "Ridin' to Tennesee" and "If You Don't Know NO Common Folks."
SUE THOMPSON is a true country singer, although she had some pop success in the early 1960s. Born in Missouri but raised in California, she started her singing career as a teen in the early 1940s. WHen these tracks were recorded a decade later, she wasmarried to Hank Penny.
TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD enjoyed radio success, radiating warmth and cosiness. In fact, it was a Capitol practice to pair him with suitable female singers for duets. Much of the congenial atmosphere for these recordings is the band led by Billy Leibert on accordion, Speedy West on steel guitar, Billy Strange (or Jimmy Bryant) on lead guitar, Harold Hensley on fiddle, and George Bruns on bass.
LIZ TILTON was sister to popular vocalist Martha Tilton, who sang with Benny Goodman for many years. Liz herself sang with Artie Shaw, Bob Crosby and Ray Noble, among others. Liz is heard here singing on the Jubilee radio program.