Irene Taylor


Irene Taylor

From Wikipedia

Irene Taylor (1906–1988?) was an American singer best known for her recorded work with Paul Whiteman. She was married to singer and bandleader Seger Ellis.

Taylor came from Muskogee, Oklahoma, but seems to have begun her musical career in Dallas. There she made her recording debut for Okeh Records in 1925, resulting in two sides where she is accompanied by local bandleader Jack Gardner. After that Taylor worked for a while with another local band, the Louisiana Ramblers, before going to New York City.

In New York in 1928 Taylor made what is probably her best known and most frequently reissued recording: Mississippi Mud (Victor 21274) with Paul Whiteman‘s orchestra, also featuring Bix Beiderbecke and The Rhythm Boys (including a young Bing Crosby). This was the first Whiteman recording ever to feature a female vocalist. Taylor would work briefly with Whiteman again during the early 1930s, replacing Mildred Bailey who had left the band due to disagreements regarding her salary. During this latter period, Taylor’s recordings with Whiteman included Willow Weep for Me (Victor 24187). This was the second recording ever of this future jazz standard by Ann Ronell and became a hit. She was also the vocalist on one of Whiteman’s hottest 1930’s recordings, “In The Dim Dim Dawning” (Victor 24189).

Otherwise Taylor worked mostly in radio during the 1930s, including regular appearances in Bing Crosby’s radio shows, and seems to have had her main base in Chicago. She also made a few records in her own name, first for Victor Records (which were never issued) and later for Vocalion Records. She also appeared on Broadway and in the Vitaphone short film Listening In where she sang I Ain’t Lazy, I’m Just Dreamin’.

Probably in the 1930s, Taylor married pianist, crooner and bandleader Seger Ellis. She appeared as vocalist on several of her husband’s big band recordings during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Facts about her life after that period are very scarce, and her estimated year of death is based on an interview with Ted Parrino, former pianist in the orchestra of Jack Gardner.

Solo discography

Recording location and date Title Author Issue Comments
Dallas, c. October 18, 1925 I Did Wanta, But I Don’t Wanta Now Gardner Okeh 40527 Accompanied by Jack Gardner’s Orchestra
Dallas, c. October 18, 1925 I Ain’t Thinkin’ ‘Bout You Gardner Okeh 40527 Accompanied by Jack Gardner’s Orchestra
Chicago, July 20, 1928 My Castle In The Clouds Victor (unissued) Accompanied by unknown quintet
Chicago, July 20, 1928 I Must Have That Man Victor (unissued) Accompanied by unknown quintet
New York City, July 12, 1933 Shadows On The Swanee Young-Burke-Spina Vocalion 25003 Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
New York City, July 12, 1933 Don’t Blame Me Vocalion 25003 Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
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