Irene Redfield

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Some adjustments were made to the name of this classic blues singer at the outset of her short career in the early '50s, providing both improvements and distractions. She was originally Irene Redfield…
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Some adjustments were made to the name of this classic blues singer at the outset of her short career in the early '50s, providing both improvements and distractions. She was originally Irene Redfield Davis when producer Joe Davis began recording her as part of his contract roster for an MGM rhythm and blues label. This was shortened to the easier Irene Redfield by the time her recordings such as "Shakin' the Blues Away" were released, but this didn't stop Billboard magazine from calling her "Eileen Redfield" in publicity blurbs.

The high quality of this artist's recorded performances is a subject in which credit can be assigned liberally amongst all concerned. Songwriter Irene Higginbotham was heavily involved, contributing all four of the songs cut at one of Redfield's sessions. A dynamite studio band co-led by F. Henri Klickman and Fred Norman could have also made just about anything sound good; and in fact, this is what they ended up doing during this intense period of Davis' studio productions when one of the lead singers failed to show up. Redfield was not the no-show, but the arrangements for two of her songs were simply re-recorded without vocals, surprisingly becoming hits, "Birmingham Special" and "Old Fashioned Blues". Bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Panama Francis eventually became the most famous members of this combo. Redfield herself gets the nod for stylish scat singing and the ability to keep up with the energy level of the backing band on the great track "Whalin' Away" from 1953.