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Ella Mae Morse

Ella Mae Morse was one of the most exciting vocalists of the ‘40s and ‘50s, a hard-to-classify, Texas-born white singer whose vocals were deeply influenced by her apprenticeship with a black guitarist who taught her the blues. Her style defied characterization, as it embraced boogie-woogie, blues, jazz, swing, country and at times came remarkably close to what would be known as rock & roll.

Ella Mae Morse was born in Mansfield, Texas on Sept. 12, 1924, the daughter of a drummer-father and a pianist- mother. After singing in her father's jazz combo,when she wasn't yet 14,she had her first taste of the big time, when Jimmy Dorsey's band came to Dallas for a stay at the Adolphus Hotel and she called for an audition.Believing that Morse was indeed 19, as she and her mother claimed, Dorsey hired her. When he received a letter from the school board declaring that he was responsible for Morse's care, Dorsey fired her.

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