Elizabeth Mary Landreaux (March 31, 1895 – March 17, 1963),[1] known by the stage name Lizzie Miles, was an Afro-Creole blues singer in the United States.[2]

Lizzie Miles
Lizzie Miles (1957) Photo by Carl Van Vechten
Lizzie Miles (1957)
Photo by Carl Van Vechten
Background information
Also known asMiss Frankie (possibly)
Born(1895-03-31)March 31, 1895
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
DiedMarch 17, 1963(1963-03-17) (aged 67)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Biography edit

Miles was born in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, in an Afro-Creole Kouri-Vini (Louisiana Creole) speaking family. As a child, she sang in her Catholic church and performed at parties and dances. She worked with Joe Oliver, Kid Ory, Bunk Johnson, and A.J. Piron from 1909 to 1911. She then toured the South, performing in theaters, circuses, and with minstrel shows owned/managed by J. Augustus Jones, Elmer H. Jones and their family. In 1917 she sang in Chicago with Manuel Manetta, and then, in 1921 with Freddie Keppard, Charlie Elgar, and again with Oliver.[3] She moved to New York and made her first phonograph recordings in 1922. They were blues songs, but she did not like to be referred to as a blues singer since she sang a wide repertoire.

Miles toured Europe in 1924 and 1925 and then returned to New York and worked in clubs from 1926 to 1931. During this time she worked with her half-brother, Herb Morand. Miles recorded as leader of a trio with Oliver, and in a duo with Jelly Roll Morton. There is uncertainty in that some sources suggest that several of the Miss Frankie recordings were the work of Lizzie Miles.[4] This particularly applies to the tracks "When You Get Tired of Your New Sweetie",[5] and "Shooting Star Blues", issued on Conqueror Records (January 1928).[6]

She suffered a serious illness and retired from the music industry in the 1930s,[2] not before she recorded "My Man o' War", described by one music journalist as "a composition stuffed with rococo suggestiveness".[7] Despite her illness, Miles appeared in two films in the early 1930s. She began working regularly again in 1935, performing with Paul Barbarin at the Strollers Club in New York.[3] She sang with Fats Waller in 1938 and then worked in Chicago until she left music in 1942.

In 1950, Miles lived in California where she sang with George Lewis in 1953 and 1954. She performed and spent time with Bob Scobey in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1955 to 1957. She sang with Joe Darensbourg in Chicago in 1958 and 1959. She returned to New Orleans, where she appeared with Freddie Kohlman and Paul Barbarin. She recorded with several Dixieland and traditional jazz bands, appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958, and made regular radio broadcasts before retiring in 1959.

In 1959 she quit singing, except for gospel music. She began working closely with the Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of Black religious in the city, declaring that she had decided "to live the life of a nun".[8] She died of a heart attack, in March 1963, at the sisters' Lafon Nursing Home in New Orleans[9] and was buried in the city at Saint Louis Cemetery No. 3.[10]

Woody Allen included her version of "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" on the soundtrack of his 2013 film Blue Jasmine.[11]

Her half-sister, Edna Hicks, was also a blues singer.[2]

Personal life edit

She married August Pajaud[12] in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 9, 1912. The marriage certificate indicates that she was 19 [sic].[13]

She married John C. Miles, from whom she took her stage name, in Norfolk, Virginia in 1914.[14] He was a bandleader also working for the Jones brothers. J.C. Miles died of Spanish flu in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 19, 1918 while on tour[15] and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana.[16][17]

Selected discography edit

Year of release Album title Label
1956 Hot Songs My Mother Taught Me Cook Records
1956 Moans and Blues Cook Records
1956 Torchy Lullabies My Mother Sang Me Cook Records
1956 A Night In Old New Orleans Capitol Records/Southland Records
1957 Bourbon Street Verve Records
1959 Lizzie Miles With Tony Almerico's Dixieland Band Rondo Record Corporation

Singles released in 1922 edit

The following singles were all released in 1922 by Okeh Records:[18]

  • "Wicked Blues"
  • "Take It 'Cause It's All Yours"
  • "Lonesome Monday Morning Blues"
  • "Please Don't Tickle Me, Babe"
  • "He May Be Your Man, but He Comes to See Me Sometimes"
  • "Muscle Shoals Blues"
  • "She Walked Right Up and Took My Man"

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Yanow, Scott. Biography of Lizzie Miles at AllMusic. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Lizzie Miles". Thebluestrail.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Kernfeld, Barry (1988). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd Ed. London: Macmillan. p. 759.
  4. ^ "Miss Frankie ( Lizzy Miles ) : A Discography". Honkingduck.com. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "Full text of "Talking Machine World (Jan–Jun 1928)"" (TXT). Archive.org. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "Miss Frankie ( . Lmiles ) : A Discography". Honkingduck.com. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  7. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 199. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  8. ^ Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. April 4, 1963.
  9. ^ Doc Rock. "The 1960s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  10. ^ Lynn Abbott; Doug Seroff (1992). "Lizzie Miles–Her Forgotten Career in Circus Side-Show Minstrelsy". 78 Quarterly. No. 7. pp. 57–70. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 22, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  11. ^ "Blue Jasmine Soundtrack List". Soundtrackmania.com. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Adrian Room (July 1, 2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (fifth ed.). McFarland. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-7864-5763-2.
  13. ^ Orleans Parish Marriage License, May 9, 1912 and Marriage Certificate, May 12, 1912 see "Louisiana, Parish Marriages, 1837–1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKJ4-TP3V : March 12, 2018), FHL microfilm 909,947.
  14. ^ United States Passport Applications, No. 485016 issued October 22, 1924 December 22, 2014, (M1490) Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925 > Roll 2655, 1924 Oct, certificate no 484850-485349 > image 236 of 763; citing NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration
  15. ^ Louisiana State Archives, Death Records, Vol. 35, No. 15383
  16. ^ Lynn Abbott; Doug Seroff (1992). "Lizzie Miles–Her Forgotten Career in Circus Side-Show Minstrelsy" 78 Quarterly. No. 7. p 67.
  17. ^ Findagrave.com Memorial ID 45988318
  18. ^ Gibbs, Martin C. (2013). Black recording artists, 1877–1926 an annotated discography. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.

External links edit