Ethel Finnie

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This classic blues singer was one of a number of such talents recorded in the mid-'20s by producers such as Joe Davis. Ethel Finnie cut a total of five sides between 1923 and 1924, most famous of which…
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This classic blues singer was one of a number of such talents recorded in the mid-'20s by producers such as Joe Davis. Ethel Finnie cut a total of five sides between 1923 and 1924, most famous of which is "You're Gonna Wake Up Some Morning, But Your Papa Will Be Gone," originally issued as one of the Edison company's "Diamond Discs" in 1924 as well as a special "Amberol" cylinder. The singer was also represented with releases on the Ajax and Emerson labels during this period -- although with so few numbers recorded in the first place, the fact that some songs such as "Mistreatin' Daddy Blues" went unissued at the time must have contributed to her obscurity. Her husband, pianist Porter Grainger, was more famous than she was, but not by much. The couple had basically vanished into the mist by the time the '20s were done roaring.

Grainger's discography is considerably more extensive than Finnie's, consisting of a great many accompaniments to similar sorts of blues singers as well as some vaudeville material. He was actually better known as a composer of theater music. Four years after the recordings with his wife, Grainger was involved in perhaps the peak of his collaborations, a 1928 stage production entitled Mississippi Days featuring classic blues goddess Bessie Smith. Names such as Gladys Bryant, Dolly Ross, and Ada Brown competed with Finnie for her husband's attention, at least when it came time to singing the blues. Every one of her recordings has been eventually issued by the Document label on collections examining Grainger's career as well as the work of miscellaneous female blues singers.