Uploaded on Jan 22, 2009
Lee Morse (Nov.30,1897 - Dec.16,1954)
was an American jazz and blues singer and songwriter whose most popular years were in the 1920s and early 1930s, although her career began around 1917 and continued until her death in 1954.
Morse was known for her strong, deep singing voice and vocal range, which often belied the fact that she was merely five feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. Among her best known trademarks was her yodeling. Morse was also moderately
successful as an actress on the Broadway stage.
Her life and career, however, was marred by alcoholism.
She got her professional start in vaudeville on the west coast around 1920 and went on to perform in several plays and musical revues on Broadway. In 1924 she began to make records under her own name for the Pathé Actuelle company accompanying
herself on guitar, ukulele and kazoo.
Morse's voice was so deep and unusual that her early records were labeled Miss Lee Morse apparently so that the record buying public wouldn't confuse her for a male singer.
Many of her recordings especially those released under the name of Lee Morse and her Bluegrass Boys feature accompaniment by a small jazz band that often included some of the best White jazz musicians of the era.
Morse was an excellent and unique singer. She had great range and her style of singing combined Blues and Jazz phrasing as well as almost yodel-like passages.
Morse's career faded in the early 1930s due to bouts with alcohol and illness but she continued to perform in nightclubs and to record sporadically throughout the 1930s.
In the late 1940s she tried to revive her career and briefly had a local radio show in upstate New York. She recorded one last record in 1950. She died suddenly in 1954.
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