Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#812 (4/26/14 - 5/9/14)


"Are You With It?"
by June Richmond
Assisted By The Reveliers
on Mercury 2009A
released in 1946

Above: June Richmond.

Afro-American Newspaper (October 23, 1937) YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO: JUNE RICHMOND SCORING WITH DORSEY ORCHESTRA—June Richmond, vocalist with Jimmie Dorsey's orchestra, is going places in a big way. Crowds applauded her during a recent engagement at the Palace Theatre. She is 20 years old and was born in Chicago. She started her theatrical career when only 15 years old. Miss Richmond first gained prominence while singing an act in Chicago. The act soon became a rage and she trekked to the Ubangi Club, New York; Sebastian's Club, Hollywood; and the Cotton Club, Los Angeles. For six months, she was featured in the floor show at the Grand Terrace in Chicago.

Afro-American Newspaper (April 8, 1939): ....The Cotton Club Caravan brings direct from the famed New York club, June Richmond, noted star of Broadway and former featured vocalist with the great Tommy Dorsey and Cab Calloway bands....

Pittsburgh Courier Newspaper (February 22, 1941) LOS ANGELES: JUNE RICHMOND STEALS SHOW AT PARAMOUNT THEATER—June Richmond wrapped up the Andy Kirk revue here at the Paramount theater. When that gifted artist finished she had the audience begging for more....June is the big thing in the Kirk show. In our opinion, she is the nearest thing as a comedienne to Ethel Waters that the race has produced so far. She is capable of heading her own revue or orchestra. She is that good. Then too, she is a first. She broke the ice and proved that whites and Negroes could entertain on equal footing. She was the first girl to sing with a white band, Jimmy Dorsey. Since that time, Milly Holliday had a fling with Artie Shaw, and now we have Lena Horne with Charlie Barnett. Miss Richmond first broke into the headlines as Beatrice Richmond in a Leonard Reed revue tagged "Ryhthm Bound," with Callie Dill, Nora Holt Ray and Eunice Wilson. Les Hite changed her name to June Richmond because a radio announcer had difficulty pronouncing Beatrice.

Afro-American Newspaper (April 1, 1944) LOS ANGELES: JUNE RICHMOND QUITS ANDY KIRK—June Richmond, celebrated mistress of song, who has been tantalizing audiences with her cleverly styled singing these many moons, has decided to quit the aggregation and go solo for awhile. For the present, the hefty song star is residing out at Ben Carter's residence.

Afro-American Newspaper (June 24, 1944) LOS ANGELES: New sepia show is being cast here by Lou Victor for a San Francisco opening in August and eventual Broadway booking.... Those already signed for the cast are June Richmond, Ben Carter, Mantan Mooreland and the Sweethearts Of Rhythm, all-colored girl ork.... Tentative title for the show is Four and 20 Blackbirds....

Pittsburgh Courier Newspaper (December 22, 1945) NEW YORK: RICHMOND ASKS "ARE YOU WITH IT?"—June Richmond, whose vibrant voice currently is winning plaudits in the musical smash, "Are You With It?" at the Century Theatre, is considered one of the singing "finds" of the theatrical season. And yet Miss Richmond's dynamic personality and amazing vocal qualities long have been admired by night clubbers, vaudeville and radio fans all over the country. Chicago-born June was singing operatic selections to packed houses at the age of 12. Three years later she chorus-hoofed in local establishments before she finally became well set as a featured "single." A legitimate show called "Harlem To Broadway," which played the big picture houses in Cleveland, Toledo, Indianapolis and other mid-Western cities, then laid claim to her talents. June's lilting, deep-throated rendition of "St. Louis Blues" served to electrify her audiences and stole the show.

New York Age Newspaper (July 17, 1948): SINGER IN NEW STAGE SHOW AT APOLLO— ....Plump and popular June Richmond heads the supporting cast. Theatre goers in Harlem still remember Miss Richmond when she first appeared at the old Lafayette in a revue staged by Leonard Reid. A rather slender girl at the time electrified the audience with her gorgeous voice, her peppy mannerisms, her humorous and rhythmic dancing. Since then Miss Richmond has acquired weight and fame. She was given a feature spot in a Broadway show and became the hit of the show. Immediately following her appearance at the Apollo, June will go to Europe to fill an engagement which will probably keep her there all year....

Afro-American Newspaper (August 25, 1962) GOTEBORG, SWEDEN: During her lifetime, June Richmond, internationally famous blues singer, exerted a lot of weight, literally and physically, but last week it proved too much for her. The 300-pound Chicago-born singer died of a heart attack here after collapsing in her hotel room. She had come to sing in a restaurant during August.... Miss Richmond, who starred in the musical "Are You With It?" in 1946, has been living in Europe since 1952. She went to Paris that year for her first European appearance and stayed on. She made appearances at Moulin Rouge and the Casino de Paris, two of Paris' swankiest night clubs. After 1952, she toured Europe for 10 years and had just finished performances at the Tivoli in Copenhagen, Denmark, before coming here....

Above: June Richmond. "Poor Little Me" is one of the songs composed by Harry Revel that June sings in the Broadway musical production "Are You With It?"

Above: SWEET MAN....June Richmond, torch singer, has an eye on dancer Harold Nicholas in Columbia's Kay Kyser musical, "Carolina Blues." This 1944 movie, originally titled "Battleship Blues," also featured The Four Dreamers, The Four Step Brothers and many supplemental black singers and dancers.

Above: Clippings from (Left) New York Age dated 2/24/45 and (Right) Pittsburgh Courier dated 11/15/47.

Above: June Richmond with The Reveliers from Afro-American newspaper dated 3/2/46. Caption is "June Richmond, 220-pound dynamite thrush, is shown during a recording session for Mercury at Muzak studios in New York. She blends with the Reveliers (left), who make up her harmony in the Broadway musical, "Are You With It?," in which June has a good role. Standing by with script is arranger Dave Rose."

Above: Mercury advertisements from The Billboard dated (Top) 1/19/46 and (Bottom) 2/9/46.

EXTRA AUDIO SELECTIONS (Windows Media Player):

Listen to "Mr. Beebee" by June Richmond And Four Dreamers from the movie "Carolina Blues" - 1944.

Listen to "Hey Lawdy Mama" by June Richmond With Roy Milton Band - Soundie - 1944.

June made at least ten soundies, three with Roy Milton. She released "Hey Lawdy Mama" on Mercury 2011 in 1945, but without Roy Milton And His Band.

Above Left: Record Review from The Billboard dated 2/16/46.

Above Right: Label image of Mercury 2039A recorded in December 1945 and released in early 1946. June Richmond had four releases on Mercury (1945-46). Both Mercury, which had just begun operations in 1945, and June Richmond were from Chicago. Mercury's first eighteen releases were by black artists, including The Four Steps Of Jive (#2001) and Cats 'N Jammer Three (#2003).

Both sides of this record were composed by "Revel-Horwitt" [Harry Revel-Arnold Horwitt]. Were The Reveliers named after composer Revel? Most probably.

Listen to this week's selection by June Richmond And The Reveliers on Mercury 2039A from 1946:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

     A. Stream RealAudio...
          Are You With It?

     B. Download RealAudio...
          Are You With It?

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
          Are You With It?

     [To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]


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