Night Lights Classic Jazz

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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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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