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Why Don’t You Do Right: Una Mae Carlisle and Lil Green

Una Mae CarlisleUna Mae Carlisle and Lil Green both were popular jazz-and-blues singer-songwriters in the 1940s; both spawned hits for Peggy Lee; and both are largely forgotten today. Carlisle, a teenage piano-playing protege of Fats Waller, wrote and recorded the hits “I See a Million People” and “Walkin’ By the River.” We’ll hear recordings she made between 1938 and 1947, including one with Lester Young, a circa-1940 pro-neutrality song with the unlikely title of “Blitzkrieg Baby.” Lil Green was a popular blues artist who made many recordings with her partner, Big Bill Broonzy; one of them, a recording of Horace McCoy’s “Romance in the Dark,” had a big impact on the young Peggy Lee, who recorded it with Benny Goodman’s big band. (She also recorded Carlisle’s “I See a Million People.”) Lil Green

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

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I'm a Good, Good Woman
Una Mae Carlisle — 1941-1944 (Chronological Classics, 1944)
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So Long, Shorty
Una Mae Carlisle — 1941-44 (Chronological Classics, 1942)
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I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby
Una Mae Carlisle — 1938-1941 (Chronological Classics, 1939)

Notes: With Fats Waller.

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Walkin' By the River
Una Mae Carlisle — 1938-41 (Chronological Classics, 1940)

Notes: With Benny Carter on trumpet.

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I See a Million People
Una Mae Carlisle — 1938-41 (Chronological Classics, 1941)

Notes: A song recorded by Peggy Lee with Benny Goodman's big band (quite a hit for them).

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Blitzkrieg Baby
Una Mae Carlisle — 1938-41 (Chronological Classics, 1941)
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Tain't Yours
Una Mae Carlisle — 1941-1944 (Chronological Classics, 1944)

Notes: With Ray Nance and Budd Johnson.

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The Rest of My Life
Una Mae Carlisle — 1944-50 (Chronological Classics, 1944)
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If It Ain't Mine
Una Mae Carlisle — 1944-50 (Chronological Classics, 1946)
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Stop Goin' Through the Motions
Una Mae Carlisle — 1944-1950 (Chronological Classics, 1947)
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Romance in the Dark
Lil Green — 1940-41 (Chronological Classics, 1940)
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Knockin' Myself Out
Lil Green — 1940-41 (Chronological Classics, 1941)
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Why Don't You Do Right
Lil Green — 1940-41 (Chronological Classics, 1941)

Notes: Song recorded by Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman. Written by Joe McCoy; derived from a 1936 Harlem Hamfats song, "Weed Smoker's Dream."

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I Won't Sell My Love
Lil Green — 1940-41 (Chronological Classics, 1941)
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Hello Babe
Lil Green — 1940-41 (Chronological Classics, 1941)
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Keep Your Hand on Your Heart
Lil Green — 1942-46 (Chronological Classics, 1942)
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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Philips, 1963)
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