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You Better Go Now: Jeri Southern

Jeri SouthernPianist and torch-jazz singer Jeri Southern recorded half a dozen albums for Decca in the 1950s, scoring hits with songs such as “When I Fall in Love,” “Joey,” and “You Better Go Now.” Her intimate, near-speaking approach to vocals won her a following, but shyness and increasing difficulty with public performances drove her to an early retirement at the age of 36 in 1961. We’ll hear selections from her Decca LPs and singles, as well as her late-1950s albums for Capitol and Roulette.

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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The Very Thought of You
Jeri Southern — Southern Hospitality/Jeri Jumps Gently (MCA/Decca, 1954)

Notes: Backed by the Dave Barbour Trio.

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An Occasional Man
Jeri Southern — The Dream's On Jeri (Jasmine)

Notes: Jeri Southern on piano and vocals.

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Miss Johnson Phoned Again Today
Jeri Southern — Southern Hospitality/Jeri Jumps Gently (MCA/Decca, 1954)

Notes: Jeri Southern on piano and vocals, backed by the Dave Barbour Trio.

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No Moon at All
Jeri Southern — Southern Hospitality/Jeri Jumps Gently (MCA/Decca, 1956)

Notes: Orchestra led by Ralph Burns.

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I Don't Know Where to Turn
Jeri Southern — The Very Thought of You (GRP/Decca, 1955)

Notes: Co-written by Southern; Southern plays piano.

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You Better Go Now
Jeri Southern — The Very Thought of You (GRP/Decca, 1951)

Notes: Southern's first hit.

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When I Fall in Love
Jeri Southern — The Very Thought of You (GRP/Decca, 1952)

Notes: Orchestra led by Victor Young, who co-wrote the song.

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My Ideal
Jeri Southern — Southern Hospitality/Jeri Jumps Gently (MCA/Decca, 1956)

Notes: Orchestra led by Ralph Burns.

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I'm in Love With the Honorable Mr. So and So
Jeri Southern — Southern Hospitality/Jeri Jumps Gently (MCA/Decca, 1954)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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This Time the Dream's On Me
Jeri Southern — The Dream's On Jeri (Jasmine)
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Dancing on the Ceiling
Jeri Southern — At the Crescendo (Capitol/EMI, 1959)

Notes: live performance

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Crazy He Calls Me
Jeri Southern — Southern Breeze/Coffee, Cigarettes and Memories (Roulette, 1958)

Notes: Arranged and conducted by Marty Paich.

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Who Wants to Fall in Love?
Jeri Southern — Southern Breeze/Coffee, Cigarettes and Memories (Roulette, 1958)

Notes: Arranged and conducted by Marty Paich.

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Detour Ahead
Jeri Southern — Southern Breeze/Coffee, Cigarettes and Memories (Roulette, 1958)
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Robins and Roses
Jeri Southern — Jeri Southern Meets Johnny Smith (Roulette)

Notes: Johnny Smith on guitar.

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Which
Jeri Southern — Jeri Southern Meets Cole Porter/At the Crescendo (Capitol/EMI, 1959)

Notes: arranged and conducted by Billy May.

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Let's Fly Away
Jeri Southern — Jeri Southern Meets Cole Porter/At the Crescendo (Capitol/EMI, 1959)

Notes: arranged and conducted by Billy May.

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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Polygram, 1963)

Notes: Closing theme.

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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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