Album cover

Jackie Shane — Baby, Do What You Want

The story of Jackie Shane is the story of one of the greatest unsung soul singers of the 1960s. It is the story of an African-American transgender woman who had the courage, strength and soulfulness to lead her life in an open and honest manner at a time when doing so was extremely risky business. Jackie's sexuality was never a secret, but Jackie never played the transvestite or drag queen card. She wore makeup, silk shirts and jewelry onstage and off, projecting a sense of refined femininity, and did so in a manner exuding class, self-respect and dignity. Her identity was never an act designed to play with an audience's sense of exotica. Jackie was always, without apology, her authentic self. And she was always able to hold an audience in the palm of her hand, mesmerizing them with her radiant eyes, extraordinary vocal abilities, and graceful, subtle stage presence.

Jackie's story is one that a Hollywood screenwriter couldn't begin to invent. Kidnapping, carnival side shows, con artist ministers, professional gambling, careers as a drummer, vocalist and dancer, fame in Toronto, Montreal and Boston, one monstrous regional hit single, a solitary live album (and no studio albums), a magazine cover alongside John Wayne, and a disappearing act to rival that of Houdini.

Jackie's last appearance onstage took place in Toronto in December of 1971. Within days she slipped out of the city and for all intents and purposes disappeared into the ether. For the next twenty plus years rumors proliferated, many suggesting that she had been murdered in California.

In the mid-1990s, Jackie's former bandleader, trumpeter Frank Motley, gave Jackie's phone number to researcher Bill Munson, who was writing an article on Motley's time in Canada. Slowly word began to spread among a very small circle in the r&b world that Jackie was indeed alive. Alas, by 2006 the number Motley had given Munson was no longer good. The people who answered the phone had never heard of Jackie Shane. Once again Jackie had vanished and the rumor mill resumed its work as to the question of what had become of this soul music legend.

Jackie Shane was born on May 15, 1940 in Nashville to Jack Crawford and Jessie Shane. The couple annulled their marriage less than a year later, and Crawford fought for custody of his only child. He lost, and Jackie's maternal grandparents made sure that Jackie did not take her father's surname. According to Jackie, Jack Crawford was a crook, a man she never really liked. Growing up in North Nashville, her grandparents were the beacons of her life. As a young child, her grandfather spent hours with her, teaching her about Native Americans, nature, and, as she puts it, "the art of walking."

"He was a marvelous creature," Jackie said. "I've never loved anyone the way I loved my grandpapa. Although he was very powerful he was very kind. He was like a big mountain. He made you feel good."

"I used to love being with my grandmamma," she says. "She would be moaning these beautiful melodies as she was doing her housework. I would just sit quietly and listen to her. It's almost like a song, but it's a moaning and it would just get heavy. It was like you could see it moving through the house. It was a beautiful thing. It really was."

When she was four years old Jackie liked nothing more than to play dress up: "I was dressing in dresses and hi-heeled shoes. I'd go in their closet and get the clothes. They wondered how I didn't trip and fall in the hi-heeled shoes because my foot was so small but I would push my foot all the way to the front and I learned how to walk almost like Mae West [and} I had a way of wrapping the clothes around me and pinning them. It was very common to see little Jackie in a dress, hat, purse and shoes walking up and down the sidewalk. That was me at that early age. Mom would come in [to her bedroom} and I would be sitting at her vanity, her powder all around my mouth and lipstick and rouge. Mom would crack up."

Every night Jackie would sleep between her grandparents, safe and secure in their unqualified love. When daybreak came the radio would go on, spiritual s filling the air every morning, blues after lunch. While Jackie loved the music of her home life, her first seminal musical awakening happened at six, when a friend brought her to a house that she had not previously visited. "There were people there," recalls Jackie. "I saw tambourines and what have you and all of a sudden this man came in with a big bass drum and a mallet. First they had prayer and then all of a sudden this woman said, 'I'm a soldier in the army of the Lord' and they were off and running. I had never been in anything like that in my life. This guy was whipping the drum and my little bottom was bouncing up and down off the seat. I had never ever experienced anything like that in all of my life. I didn't want it to end. It was beautiful, one song after another. The tambourines were going, the drum and the clapping. It just got to be really something else. I could not get over it. They were so right on! I couldn't stop talking about it."

Jackie's mother married an Ohio native, Jess Reed, and relocated to Elyria, Ohio, about 20 miles southwest of Cleveland. When Jackie's grandmother died in 1947, Jackie joined them. There Jackie attended church every Sunday. When she was eight, people began to take notice of her voice and asked her to join the adult choir. Jackie agreed on one condition: "I said, 'Mom, I will sing but I will not listen to the minister and I'm not giving him my allowance. This shyster.' Mom would laugh." At such a tender age a pattern was already set: Jackie Shane would handle her business. No one was going to take advantage of her, especially when it came to finances.

"I don't like to be played," affirms Jackie. ''At school I was a fast runner. Ooh! Honestly, I'm not bragging, I could run. I just sort of leaped through the air. They asked me to run {in an inter-school competition}. I said, 'How much does it pay?' They said, 'Well, Jackie, this is your school.' I said, 'No, no, no, no! I don't own this school. If I'm going to perform, I want to be paid.' Everybody said, 'Child you're too much.' No, I found out early that you cannot be too much in this world. You can't. It's impossible. If you don't get your gethers together, people will take advantage of you. I told them 'What do you mean my school? I'm not getting a nickel. No, no, no, no honey, you've got to give Jackie some money.' All of that nonsense and patting me on the back and giving me a slice of pizza. I can buy my own slice of pizza. Give me some money!"

By the time she was ten, Jackie was back in Nashville living with her aunt Gussie Martindale. Church was still a big part of her life, and a year later she was baptized in a river, in the traditional southern manner. "It's like you're entranced," explains Jackie. "It's a mind moving thing. It's like being hypnotized. You're all of a sudden part of all of it, especially when you're baptized in a river. Everything almost stops. It's like you're crossing over to something else."

Not surprisingly, gospel had an inordinate influence. Jackie sang in three different gospel groups over the next couple years, the first consisting of five boys, plus Jackie. (For a while they had a trainer, though they soon ran out of money.) The other two groups were made up of all girls. All performed at local church programs, with Jackie more often than not featured as the lead singer. In the meantime, she listened to a lot of gospel records. The Caravans' "Oh, Mary Don't You Weep" was an important touchstone, but the Davis Sisters were her favorite group, their 1955 hit "Twelve Gates to the City" being especially influential. "When those women started to sing, oh my God. It was Ruth [Davis}'s delivery and the way she made you feel. Ruth was such a powerful singer and such a soulful woman. Her projection, I'd never felt like that in my life."

In junior high school, Jackie joined the glee club, singing high soprano. When a professor from Fisk University heard the group, he praised Jackie and invited the glee club to sing at the Fisk Chapel, which decades earlier had been the home of the seminal Fisk Jubilee Singers. "It was a beautiful day," said Jackie. "We sang 'Sit Down Servant.' Can you imagine what an honor that was for us? We sang at the chapel of the Fisk Jubilee Singers!"

I don't think of myself as anything but another person. What I am doing, there is nothing wrong with it. The way others think doesn't mean anything to me. I'm not hurting anyone.

At the age of eleven, secular music also became important. "I did not really come of age in music for a long time," she explains. "Music was not important to me. I enjoyed it but understanding it was something I had to learn. The first artist I ever felt was Nat Cole. It was a song called 'Too Young.' Good Lord, I could not believe it! The velvet voice and his pronunciation and the feel. I even started singing the songs he sung such as 'Walkin' My Baby Back Home' and 'Pretend'." She was similarly struck about seven years later when she heard B.B. King singing "Worry Worry (Worry)" on a jukebox at Nashville's famed New Era club. "I understood the pain, the agony of losing someone you care about. It was just really powerful. It really hit me."

By thirteen, Jackie started wearing makeup to school. Jackie's mother unquestioningly accepted and supported her. "She took me to where the people- I don't like the term-were called freaks," Jackie said. "My mom was very intelligent. She said, 'I want you to look how people come into this world.' She said, 'Then I want you to look at yourself. You have nothing to cry out about or be ashamed of or anything. You're magnificent.' Most people are so ignorant about the world that they don't get it. It's me," stressed Jackie. "That's what it is. I was born a woman in this body. That's how it's always been. I'm not putting on an act. I could not be anyone else if I tried. It would be the most ridiculous thing in the world for me to try to be a male."

Confident in who she was, from that point on Jackie never cared an eye's whit what anyone else thought. "I don't think of myself as anything but another person. What I am doing, there is nothing wrong with it. The way others think doesn't mean anything to me. I'm not hurting anyone."

For a time Jackie flirted with the idea of allowing in the footsteps of a friend and becoming a professional gambler. "It was very lucrative," she laughs, "Because they would underestimate me because I was younger." But her friend ended up killing two people, and Jackie decided to leave gambling alone.

Another means of making money presented itself soon after: "I was walking one night and I heard a minister ministering to people. He started to sing and the music drew me. There was just a few people in there. I sat in the back and I was listening to him and he was dynamic. The chairs were metal. I started to play with my hands on one of the chairs. I could not resist. I got louder and the people started to respond to it. When the service was over, I stayed. The next thing I knew I was working for him, singing, playing the chairs. The people would come to hear the child playing the chairs!"

The minister in question was one Reverend Tucker. "He was a con artist. He would sell numbers. He was healing. You talking about being fascinated and being educated about life. I couldn't wait to get there. We would go out on the gospel truck from neighborhood to neighborhood. He would stop the truck and he would sell them his goodies. You talkin' fun! It was the most fascinating experience.

"I wasn't like other children. I was very advanced. There were people who were afraid of me because I was so young but knowledgeable. I was learning how people could take advantage of other people by using their weakness. We had five and dimes back then. He would go and buy candles, toilette water and oils and stuff and he would pass it off as being holy. This was a fascinating experience. I'd sit there every night and day and I loved every minute of it. It was fascinating watching people adult in age but not brain."

Jackie was still a teenager when her career began in earnest. About two miles from home was a variety store. The woman who owned the shop would regularly bake Jackie's favorite homemade oatmeal cookies. "I went there to buy the oatmeal cookies," Jackie remembers, "and I heard this blues piano being played. It was a little neighborhood mom and pop store and they lived in the back. The son was playing this blues piano and I couldn't tear away from it. This guy was whipping the piano like I had never experienced. He had a thing! I just sort of eased in there and said, 'Do you mind if I listen?' He said, 'No, have a seat.' As he was playing I moved closer and I started to drum on the chair. He said, 'How long have you been playing drums?' I said, 'I haven't.' He said, 'I can tell you can play the drums. I met a guy that' s just come to Nashville, he's a guitarist and we spoke in a club over the weekend. If you could get a set of drums, we could put something together.' I went the next day and I got a Simpson set of drums, I called him and that was my first trio and we just took off like a house on fire."

The pianist was Louis Lavelle, the guitarist was Les Monday. Within a few weeks the nascent trio had a gig playing two hours every Saturday on R&B station WVOL and were booked to play the Nashville Fairgrounds, with Jackie playing drums standing up and singing at the same time.

Shortly after Jackie turned 15, Little Richard stormed the charts with his first Specialty single, "Tutti Frutti." When he came through Nashville, local singer David Bryant introduced Jackie to Richard. Jackie adored the original version of Richard's group The Upsetters. "There has only been one group that could play that nonsense that Richard would play, and that was The Upsetters. Oh my Lord, I wish I had them. Have Mercy! I would probably have been in an oxygen tent."

Jackie spent time comparing notes with the Upsetters' drummer, the great Charles "Chuck" Connors. Hanging out at an Upsetters' rehearsal, at one point Jackie got behind the drums. "I started to play," she recalls, "I stopped and [Connors} said, 'Do that again.' The next thing I knew he had [the pattern Jackie played} in 'Slippin' and Slidin" and 'Rip It Up'."

In time, Lavelle, Monday and Shane found themselves in the studio recording for Ernie Young's Excello Records. "One night we created a pattern that's never been heard. Morgan Babbs, who was the great preacher [and gospel singer} here, he came in-I think Louis knew him and he asked him to come and hear us. We played our creation for him and he took out his pad and pen and started putting lyrics to this. But he also told us, 'You can't tell anyone I'm involved' because, after all, this is Reverend Babbs [writing secular lyrics}." The song they were working on was eventually titled "I Miss You So." Credited solely to Babbs on the 45, Ernie Young cut it with twenty-year­ old Lillian, who had approached him hoping to record gospel for his Nashboro label. With Monday providing a slightly out of tune arpeggiated guitar lick and a hot solo, Shane laying down an infectious, albeit simple, pattern on drums and Lavelle comping with a shuffle groove on the piano, the forty-five was released on Excello and stormed its way to #8 on the R&B charts and #66 on the pop charts in the summer of 1957.

While "I Miss You So" was making its way up the charts, Jackie's mother moved from Elyria to Los Angeles. Jackie came to visit that summer, and her mother wasted no time convincing her to enter a talent show run by Johnny Otis. Although Jackie can't recall the name of the venue, it may have been the Harlem Hot Spot in San Pedro, where Otis regularly hosted talent shows. "I think my mother just wanted to see how the people would react to me," says Jackie. "I was the third contestant and they wouldn't let me off I sang [Little Richard's} 'Lucille.' Oh yes I did! The audience was carrying on, yelling and crying, 'More, more, more!' The only way the MC (Johnny Otis) could stop them is that he said, 'There are over twenty some other contestants and after they have done their thing, maybe Jackie can sing later.' I won the first trophy. I was surprised. I didn't know the audience was going to behave like that.''

Back in Nashville after her sojourn in Los Angeles, Jackie quickly became a regular part of the Excello/ Nashboro studio band, playing alongside guitarist Johnny Jones, pianist Skippy Brooks, bass player Clifford McCray, trumpeter Melvin Jackson and saxophonist Jimmy Beck. She also became the drummer in the house band at Nashville's premier black nightclub, Soo Bridgwater's The New Era.

For the next few years, Jackie was incredibly busy. She formed a second band, keeping Lavelle and Monday, and adding Bobby Hebb on guitar and Deford Bailey Jr. on bass. Bailey's father, Deford Bailey Sr., was a legendary harmonica player who was the first African American to play the Grand Ole Opry, a mainstay on the venerable country institution from 1927 to 1941. He would regularly sit in with Jackie's band, tap dancing and playing his harmonica.

Part of the band's allure was the fact that Jackie played drums and sang while standing up. "I stand so I can get into it," says Jackie. "You have to learn how to do it because it's not easy to stand and play the drums. I get a kick out of it. When you stand, it looks good. You know me, I like to do it up right. If I'm going to do it, I like to give it all and leave it to the people.''

The first time she stood up while playing the drums was at the Country Club in Nashville, tying a rope around her drum seat and then to the bass drum so that it wouldn't move: "You've got to really rig the drums up so you don't make a mess of it. I had it down. I got it situated just the way I wanted it.''

You know me, I like to do it up right. If I'm going to do it, I like to give it all and leave it to the people.

Between 1957 and her departure from Nashville, Jackie laid down the groove on recording sessions for Excello and/or on live dates at the New Era with Johnny Braggs, Skippy Brooks, Eugene Church, Arthur Gunter, Ted Jarrett, Margie Hendrix, Latimore, Larry Williams, Big Maybelle, Gatemouth Brown, Little Willie John and Joe Tex. On one particularly frenetic day, she cut a complete album drumming for gospel singer Edna Gallmon Cooke and that night backed up Gene Allison, Larry Birdsong, and Earl Gaines at the New Era.

In 1958, Jackie was playing at the Club Cherry in Lexington, Kentucky. The owner, a Mr. Letcherd, became her manager, and Jackie used the club as a recruitment and rehearsal base, and put together a dream group of nine members. When the band was ready, Letcherd got an agent from Universal Attractions in New York to come see them. Impressed, the agent signed the group and booked them on a tour of Florida that summer. They shared the stage with Arthur Prysock, Jackie Wilson, Hank Ballard and The Midnighters, The Five Royales, and The Impressions. During the Jackie Wilson segment of the tour, Shane and her band upstaged Wilson to the point where Wilson's manager told Jackie she would get paid for the remaining gigs but would not be allowed to perform. It wouldn't be the last time a headliner griped about the intensity Jackie Shane brought to the stage.

"I had something going {with that band} that would wear you out," Jackie says. "It was the devil, let me tell you! We were really together. It was hot.'' Unfortunately, the group lasted about a month in total before one of the saxophonists, Danny Carmichael, came on to Jackie and did not want to take no for an answer. "He started off like he's playing but I've been through that," says Jackie, still angry nearly 60 years later. "On this one night he told me that either I was going with him or he would cut my face up. That night I would have killed him, I really would have. You think I'm going to let him come close to me with a knife? Of course not. He told me he would cut my face up so no one would ever want to look at me again. I told him to make his move."

The rest of the band suggested simply firing Carmichael, but Jackie had had enough. She left the band and rode back to Nashville with Sam Gooden of the Impressions.

By late 1958, Jackie Shane was ready to get out of Nashville and the Jim Crow deep south. Both Little Willie John and Joe Tex had been encouraging her to leave. Tex was especially emphatic, and according to Jackie pulled her aside in between sets at the New Era, said "Look, you have everything that anyone could possibly want as an entertainer and a musician, get out of here if you want to really make it. You're class, you've got what it takes, but you'll never make it here.''

Tex was right. It was hard enough being black in the south at the time, let alone being openly gay. The final straw came when Jackie was waiting for a bus with a friend in downtown Nashville. "I heard this noise," Jackie recalled with a shudder. "I turned to my right and these guys were chasing this African Uackie's term for African American man and caught up with him. They did things to him and they threw him in the dumpster."

Jackie and her friend also witnessed the same men taking black riders off an arriving bus and beating them. She and her friend watched and cowered in the bus shelter. Fortunately, the white mob didn't notice them."We got on the bus," continues Jackie, ''And we were sitting side by side and we never spoke a word about it. I don't think either one of us was prepared for what had just happened. I sat there and I'm thinking, 'I've got to get out before something really ugly happens.'"

While on the lookout for other opportunities, Jackie joined an outfit run by Jerry Jackson, brother of trumpeter Melvin Jackson. Dating back to the 1940s Jackson put together vaudeville or minstrel type troupes, alternately known as Jerry Jackson and His Hep Cats or Jerry Jackson and His Minstrels, who would play in traveling carnivals in what Jackie calls the "Soul Tent". This being the Jim Crow south, the carnival would usually have a separate tent featuring white (or as Jackie prefers to put it, "European") performers. These sideshows featuring music, dance and comedy were part of southern entertainment going back to the earliest part of the century.

At the time, Jerry Jackson was hooked up with the decades-old Cetlin-Wilson Carnival. Jackie was doing double duty in the Soul Tent, both dancing and singing, but quickly found that kicking it up with twenty other dancers in a line then changing costumes and coming back to stage as a singer was too tiring. That particular season Jackson's troupe staged a production of Peter Gunn, which they rehearsed upstairs in the cocktail lounge at Nashville's Club Baron. Other acts that Shane remembers from Jackson's Hep Cats included Nashville singer Jimmy Church's vocal group, The Seniors; a guy named Iron Jaw who would go from table to table, point at someone's drink, then pick it up with his mouth, drink the liquid and eat the glass; a stripper from Memphis named TV Mama; Carboo the snake dancer; and Rose Lee, a 6'6" female impersonator and former marine who served as choreographer and lead dancer. "He looked like a muscle builder but when he got it together you couldn't tell him from the women," recalls Jackie. "I learned a lot."

The carnival traveled in its own train car and generally played smaller towns, the season lasting about three months. At the end of her tenure with Jackson's Hep Cats, another carnival operator approached Jackie and asked if she had ever been to Canada. "It intrigued me," says Jackie, "Because I had not been there. Of course, he had to talk to my mother. But by this time she knew I could take care of myself"

Shortly thereafter Jackie drove from Nashville to Detroit with guitarist Johnny Jones, and a keyboard player, bass player and drummer whose names Jackie does not recall. The next day they crossed the border and drove seven and a half hours more to Cornwall, Ontario. "When I got to [Cornwall] I felt so good," Jackie says today. "I never felt that good before. I felt so free. I just loved it. The strangest thing was some of the people had never seen an African person. They weren't rude, but they would [stare] at you. [I wanted to say], 'I don't have a tail, no.'."

The Carnival played Cornwall, probably in late May or June 1959. Jackie and her band performed several shows a day, singing two or three songs at each. Jackie recalls Little Richard's "Lucille" and "Send Me Some Lovin"' and Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City" as part of her repertoire at the time. When the week in Cornwall came to a close, Jackie parted ways with the Carnival and drove two hours east to Montreal with Jones, the bass player, and the drummer. St. Laurent Blvd. was where the majority of Montreal clubs were located. Jackie was somewhat taken aback. Compared to Nashville, Montreal was the big time: "Clubs on one side and down the other," exclaims Jackie. "I had never seen that many clubs on one street in my life. Jesus, that's a lot of clubs!"

The band caught wind that one of the night spots on The Main was looking to hire a new group. The audition went well, and Jackie Shane and company were hired on the spot. The club had recently bought an organ so, with the group's keyboardist already headed back south. Jackie played keyboards and sang, staying on for two months.

As Jackie saw it, Montreal was run by the catholic church and the mob at that time. The church didn't give her a problem, but she did have two rather surreal encounters with members of the mob. "In Montreal, a gangster was going to have me killed," she recalls. "He was one of the Godfathers. He touched me [at the club] and I told him to keep his hands off me. I went back to the dressing room and about three or four minutes later the owner of the club came back and told me to get out, to go home and stay there until he called me. About an hour later, he called. When he told me what was about to happen, I couldn't believe it. [He said that the gangster} was going to send a couple of his guys and take me up the lane and kill me because I insulted him. Can you imagine? I was about to lose my life. I was 19. I wondered should I stay [in Montreal or go back to Nashville] but I thought if I go home and I mention one word of this to my mother, she'll clamp down on me like a lobster. So I said, 'No, I've got to see this out.' I did, I stayed. I [generally] knew what I was doing, but I had never been in the presence of gangsters."

Things got even crazier after they had been at the club for six or seven weeks. "We were staying at this tourist house. One morning I heard this commotion and all of a sudden our door swung open and they said, 'Get dressed, get your things together, you're leaving.' This gangster and his men took us to the border. They made my group go across. He had the power to tell people at the border to put [the other members of the group} across and not let them back. The leader kept me. We stopped at this restaurant. It was empty but he went back into the kitchen and then he came back out. He sat down and said, 'You're talented, you're pretty and I'm going to make you the biggest thing out there.' I don't know what's going on. Really and truly, I really didn't understand. To this very moment I don't know how that could be but it was. I'm bewildered. I didn't know anything about gangsters other than in the movies. He said, 'I'm going to do all of this for you but if you cross me, I'll kill you.' He didn't say it in anger, he said it like he was saying, 'I'm going to be good to you.' I had leather stuck in my throat for days!"

Jackie eventually ended up at a farm house evidently owned by the gangster's mother. Looking for a way out of the situation Jackie told him that she was underage, and her parents would have to sign any work agreement. That might have been what ended up saving her bacon. The gangster took her back to the tourist house she was staying at in Montreal and she never saw him again.

The strangest thing was some of the people had never seen an African person. They weren't rude, but they would [stare] at you.

Not long after arriving in Montreal, Jackie had met a black American drummer named Sidney. Jackie stayed with Sidney and his girlfriend Grace for a while after the kidnapping, and within a few weeks started singing with Sidney's trio at another club on St. Laurent. At this second gig, Jackie learned more about how the mob and the music business worked in Montreal. "You had to pay protection to work on St. Laurent," she says. "They called it the union but it was protection because it was all gangsters on the Main."

Protection money she could deal with, but after two weeks into her new gig, things got ugly in a different way. "One night after dinner," sighs Jackie, "Sidney became crude and vulgar, took his trousers down and offered himself to me. That was the last time I stayed with him." It was also the last time she sang with his trio.

After leaving Sidney and Grace, Jackie moved to another guest house and pondered her next move. Come Saturday night, she decided to explore more of downtown Montreal. "I dressed and I went out and got to this block and I started hearing, of all things, soul music," Jackie remembers. "I thought, 'You're kidding.' It was the Esquire Show Bar. I stood outside listening. I was so glad. The polkas and that--I love all kind of music--but I wanted to hear some of my music."

Jackie had arrived at 1224 Rue Stanley where Frank Motley and The Motley Crew were holding court. Born in 1923, Motley was a trumpet player from Cheraw, South Carolina. Growing up, he took lessons from fellow Cheraw native Dizzy Gillespie. After a stint in the navy during World War II, Motley learned how to play two trumpets at once, which helped him draw crowds for years. Often billed as "Dual Trumpet" or "Two-Horned" Motley, by 1950 he'd settled in Washington, D.C. and formed his first band.

In 1951 Motley made his debut recordings for Lillian Claiborne's DC Records label. Over the years he recorded extensively for Claiborne, who leased the finished tracks to a variety of labels including RCA-Victor, Specialty, Gem, Josie, Big Town, and Hollywood. Independent of Claiborne, Motley cut a few singles on Okeh . Of his numerous 45s, none achieved significant success. None the less, he had a tight band, a good gimmick and, for many years, a decent vocalist in New Orleans native Elsie ''Angel Face" Kenley. Motley first performed in Toronto and Montreal in the mid-1950s and for years enjoyed extended runs at both the Holiday Tavern in Toronto and the Esquire Show Bar in Montreal. When Jackie Shane happened upon his band in 1959 he was in the midst of a run at the Esquire Show Bar, starting June 8 and finishing in mid-November.

"I slowly walked in," recounts Jackie, "and some of the people had seen me down on 'the Main' and they started yelling and told Frank, 'Look, Jackie Shane's here.' People just went completely mad. Frank said 'Would you come up?' and I ended up doing the whole [set] with him. [Before that] I didn't even know Frank Motley existed."

Motley's keyboardist, the late Curley Bridges, recounted that evening in conversation with journalist Tim Perlich in 2009: "Man, let me tell you, Jackie set that place on fire. The way [she] sang those Ray Charles and Bobby 'Blue' Bland songs, I mean both women and men thought [she] was it."

Over the years Motley had worked out a circuit that revolved around Montreal, Boston, Washington and Toronto. Along with drummer Jimmy Butler, bassist Eddie Dupree, keyboardist Curley Bridges, tenor saxophonist King Herbert Whittaker, Little Jackie Shane, or "Lil Jackie Shane," as Motley liked to refer to her, was now part of the Motley Crew. Come November 1959, when Motley's current run at the Esquire Show Bar concluded, the group most likely headed to Boston, where they played Louie's Showplace Lounge, located at the corner of Washington and Northampton Streets, for three to four months.

Louie's was located in the Roxbury area on the same side of Washington Street as Skippy White's Mass Records store, its slogan, "The Home of the Blues." It held 300-400 people and Frank Motley and The Motley Crew featuring Lil Jackie Shane would play seven nights a week, with a matinee on Sundays. Monday evenings at Louie's were special with Wild Man Steve [Gallon], one of the biggest R&B DJs in the city, broadcasting on WILD, booking national touring acts like the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Drifters, The Coasters, Titus Turner and Etta James, with Motley and Shane opening the show. Typically, Motley would play a 45-minute set, with Jackie onstage for 25-30 of those minutes.

Jackie looked forward to Mondays, determined to leave the stage so hot it would be hard for the headliner to follow. "I would go on first and once I went on, it was over," she says. "[The audience] would get in the spirit and they would shout. When those people got through shouting and the tables were overturned, they had to clean up! After they finished cleaning up and all that, [one night] Etta James told the people, 'Just come on up and dance.' Our dressing rooms were side by side and she came off and said, 'If I had known this, I would have gone on first!"'

Shane and Motley became the rage of black Boston. "You couldn't get in," affirms Jackie. "To keep the people from getting rowdy they put speakers outside. The police were arresting people because they were stopping traffic. It would be packed both inside and out!"

Jackie turned out songs like "There Goes My Baby'' and "Turn On Your Lovelight ". As if at a Pentecostal church service, the audience would be in a frenzy and Jackie go into a trance. "I'll tell you this," explains Jackie. "When you get into the spirit it takes over. People who don't know think [the spirit] is just a word, but it's not. It's almost like [being] in another dimension, because you're no longer in charge. But you're being driven so beautifully that you want it never to end."

"They had these two big pillars on either side where the people danced. The first time the spirit hit me I had come off the stage down on the dance floor. I was turning and they thought I was gone because my head came so close to that pillar that if I had touched it, it probably would have knocked me out and maybe killed me. I was spinning fast. So that's when we hired this [bouncer]--he was really huge and tall. At a certain point I would hit a shout and that's when he knew, because I'm going into the crowd and tables are overturned and things are crashing. [To make sure that] I wouldn't get hurt he would pick me up into his arms and take me to the dressing room. He would set me down, lock the door, and stand in front of it. He'd say, 'Now, are you all right?' because he knew if I got past him and go back out there, I'm still in the spirit. It was just something so beautiful. It's something that you don't ever want to lose."

When you get into the spirit it takes over. People who don't know think [the spirit] is just a word, but it's not. It's almost like [being] in another dimension, because you're no longer in charge. But you're being driven so beautifully that you want it never to end.

By May 1960, Motley and Shane were back in Montreal, packing the Esquire Show Bar through early July. The Esquire was a small club, holding maybe 200 people, with a horseshoe-shaped bar in front of the stage. Two bands were booked each night and they would play overlapping sets, the second band replacing the first group member by member while everyone onstage kept a continuous riff going. This went on until 3 AM, seven nights a week.

Future Mashmakan and April Wine drummer Jerry Mercer was a year older than Jackie, but much less experienced in the world of R&B. The Esquire Show Bar became Mercer's music school. In any given week, he would be there two or three nights. For Mercer, Jackie was a revelation. "From my perspective," says Mercer, "I never saw anyone else that was even remotely like [her]. Jackie was absolutely unique in [her] delivery and [her] sense of self. Jackie wasn't wild with the dancing. Some of the [singers back then] were doing back flips and splits a la James Brown. They were doing a lot of acrobatic stuff onstage. Jackie didn't go in that direction. [Her] moves were more subtle. It was all in the face and in the delivery of the song. [She] had a different kind of a voice, very light, [with an] almost quivering type of vibrato. [She] just had a sense of honesty about [her] that was different. [She] sang a song and you felt like [she] gave a shit about what [she] was singing about."

“Jackie used makeup well," adds Mercer. "[She] did [her] eyes and [her] whole expression really well. So, when [she] was in the spotlight, [her] look delivered the words to the tunes. It had a certain magnetism to it. It wasn't elaborate, it was focused and it was, in [her] own way, very subtle. It was this presence of a woman I believe that made [her] different."

Mercer was fortunate enough to spend time hanging out with Jackie, backstage and later at the rooming house where most of the band stayed. What he remembers most about his time with Jackie was the education in gospel music. Jackie had a portable record player in both places and a cache of recordings from the Golden Age of Gospel. She loved nothing better than to play disc jockey, turning Jerry onto some of her favorite music.

Future Mashmakan guitarist Rayburn Blake would also go to see Jackie at the Esquire. “Jackie glided like silk," he recalls. "[There was a] mystique, almost a reserved thing about Jackie Shane. She had nuanced movements. It wasn't an in-your-face kind of thing. But it was mesmerizing because it was so unusual at the time. She had command in the most subtle way."

Jackie has fond memories of the Esquire Show Bar. One involves a chimpanzee owned by a friend of Motley's known as "Car Fare." Car Fare was a master pickpocket who also owned a speakeasy. One night as she walked out on stage, Jackie looked at the bar and was stunned to see a chimpanzee dressed in a suit and tie holding a cigar. "I've just walked out," exclaims Jackie, ''And I'm thinking, 'Oh, no, you don 't see that.' A lot of people come to see you but not chimpanzees. I couldn't believe my eyes. I kicked off the first song and opened one eye and looked over again and said, 'Yes, this is a chimp, it's a member of the ape family. This is just not real. What are you doing in here?’" In fact, Car Fare had taught the chimp to pick pockets.

In late 1960, Motley and Crew headed to Washington to play clubs in Baltimore and the D.C. area. While there, Motley fired bassist Eddie Dupree, who had become depressed, was failing to take care of his hygiene, and was alienating the rest of the band. In his place, they picked up a monster musician named Larry Ellis.

There were other surprises in Washington. The day after they got to the city, Motley told Jackie he wanted her to play tambourine for a session at a local studio. Lillian Claiborne, who owned the D.C., Hawkeye, Loop, Dynamo and B.B.C. labels and had been recording Motley since 1951, set up the date.

Motley cut a number of tracks, some of them instrumental, some featuring Curley Bridges on vocals, before suggesting Jackie sing lead on a few tunes. Jackie had no idea about this plan and was not happy, having had no time to prepare or work on arrangements. Nonetheless, she ended up cutting at least five tracks, four of which-Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)," Lloyd Price's "Have You Ever Had The Blues," and two Jackie Shane originals, "Chickadee" and "Slave For You Baby"­ were eventually released years later. A fifth track, "C'est La Vie," sung in English, remained in the can, and there's the possibility that some other tracks, including a cover of "Send Me Your Lovin'," were cut during those sessions.

While the copyright registration for "Chickadee" and "Slave for You Baby" lists Frank Motley and Jackie Shane as co-writers, Jackie insists that she wrote both tunes in Los Angeles in 1957 when she was visiting her mom, and that Frank, who controlled the business end of the band and had a long-standing relationship with Lillian Claiborne, simply added his name. The songs were registered with BMI in the United States in March 1961, but BMI's office says they received the registration from the Canadian copyright society CAPAC, which means that Motley registered the songs once he returned to Canada.

Both songs are basic blues owing a serious debt to Little Richard. It was rumored for years that Jackie and Little Richard were cousins. While that turns out to be untrue, Jackie had met Richard shortly after his first hit, "Tutti Frutti," took the world by storm in 1955, when Jackie was all of 15. "Chickadee" is closely modeled on Richard's "Lucille," which Jackie sang at the Johnny Otis talent show back in 1957 in Los Angeles. Typical of many Richard songs, after the four-bar introduction all subsequent sections are twelve-bar blues. The whole song is based on a driving riff played in unison and lyrically the twelve­ bar sections are divided into a four bar verse and an eight-bar refrain. The third and fifth section feature four-bar stop time verses and King Herbert uses two twelve-bar strains for a frenetic '50s style tenor sax solo introduced, a la Richard, by a Jackie Shane scream. Jackie would never sound so imitative again.

Jackie sings the midtempo "Slave for You Baby" with a relatively relaxed timbre, phrasing beautifully against the beat especially during the ad-libbed tag. Both tracks eventually surfaced on a 1965 Grand Prix Series label budget album entitled The Original Blues Sound of Charles Brown & Amos Milburn with Jackie Shane and Bob Marshall and the Crystals. Jackie knew nothing about the release until her mother called her to say that one of her friends had just found the album in a store. To this day, Jackie is livid with Lillian Claiborne for putting out the songs: "She did a number on me and Frank let her do it. I was being played!"

"Money" b/w "Have You Ever Had the Blues" from these same 1960 sessions also sat on the shelf for several years. The aforementioned Boston DJ and record store owner Skippy White was a seminal player in Boston's R&B scene and had the Bluestown, Silver Cross, Ditto and Stop labels. He had tried to sign Jackie in 1962 but was scooped by Boston distributor Jack Sager. White bought the tapes the two sides from Motley, sat on them for a year, and finally issued a single in 1966 on his Stop label. White initially assumed the tracks were recorded in Canada. Motley failed to tell him that they had actually been recorded several years earlier in Washington. In all White pressed only a thousand copies of the 45, some on red and some on blue vinyl.

"The problem," laments Skippy, "was that by the time I put it out I don't think Jackie and Frank Motley were coming to Louie's Lounge [in Boston] anymore. They had stopped getting booked. That really hurt me. When it was presented to me I said, 'Gee this is worth putting out.' That was based on the fact that they were at Louie's Lounge and I could get airplay on WILD and maybe I could do something around the rest of the country. It was just one of those things."

"Little" Jackie Shane is how Jackie was listed on the marquee at Louie's Showplace Lounge, and how she was billed on the Stop record. "Money" b/w "Send Me Some Lovin’" was also issued as the probable first release (catalog #SS-3001) on the obscure Canadian Star Shot label, which appears to have issued no more than four singles in its brief existence. It's possible the record exists because Motley sold the rights a second time.

It was like a tornado coming through the place. She was brash. She was the center of attention. She was authentic; she was for real and she was living her life out loud and that was also important.

Barrett Strong originally recorded "Money" for the Anna label in 1959 and had a huge hit with it that summer. Jackie was covering it about a year after its release and opted to completely rearrange the record, structuring it around a different riff and speeding the tempo to the point where she nearly has to speak some of the words. When the 45 hit the streets in 1966, Jackie put it back in her stage repertoire.

The flipside was a cover of Lloyd Price's "Have You Ever Had The Blues" which Price issued in the summer of 1959 as the B-side of his #2 Billboard Hot 100 I #1 R&B hit "Personality." The decision to cover the song was an inspired one. Jackie sang "I've really got the blues" on the third and fourth verses rather than "Have you ever had the blues?" Skippy White subsequently retitled the song "I've Really Got the Blues" on his Stop record. Jackie significantly modifies her timbre here, adding plenty of grit, especially at the beginning of her phrases, starting loud and raspy and then simultaneously bringing down the volume and opening up the voice. It's a driving, masterful performance, aided by the Motley Crew cooking on high with all pistons firing.

Motley and Crew featuring Little Jackie Shane were back in Montreal at the Esquire Show Bar in July and August 1961. By September 11, they pulled into Toronto and played the second floor of the Holiday Tavern at Bathurst and Queen. The ad from The Globe and Mail reads "Back Again: Frank (Dual Trumpet) Motley featuring Jackie Shane." Whether or not Jackie had played Toronto a few months prior to this is unclear. Whatever the case, her arrival now in Toronto electrified the city's then-small black populace, largely located between Bathurst and Spadina and College and Dundas, near the Holiday Tavern, who turned out in droves for Motley and Shane. By Wednesday of the first week, word of mouth had spread and, according to Jackie, there were lines around the block.

"She was consistently ridiculous," says Toronto-born future Stax recording artist Eric Mercury. "It was like going to see Little Richard. I would come out of the Holiday Tavern sweating, and it wasn't hot in there except for what Jackie was putting down. I could look at Jackie Shane and see the experience of show business. You could see that this person was committed. Not just involved, but committed. She had a lot of fire. We had never seen anything up close like that in Toronto. It was like a tornado coming through the place. She was brash. She was the center of attention. She was authentic; she was for real and she was living her life out loud and that was also important."

Jay Jackson of the Majesties recalls that Jackie as "Borderline flamboyant with the scarves and the costumes that would really be so her onstage. In Toronto's black community, she was aces--star number one. She was up there. It was a real eye opening to watch somebody work a stage the way Jackie did and bend a tune, especially a familiar one. The way she took it on so-called R&B standards [like] "Save the Last Dance for Me"--she'd take that vocally and run with it. Jackie would bend that around and turn it into church while I was sitting there with my beer!"

After the group's first trip to Toronto, they headed to London, Ontario, where Jackie also caused a sensation. The group typically played Campbell's, which was a long, narrow club with a stage in the middle, sit down tables and a dance floor. Motley and Shane would return to Campbell's many times, playing there two or three times a year throughout the late 1960s.

London club owner and band manager Nick Panaseiko Sr. saw Jackie a number of times at Campbell's. ''Jackie was a regular at Campbell's dressed in [her] silver mohair suit with a fitted pink silk shirt," says Panaseiko. "[She] had a lot of glitter on [her] eyes with just a touch of lipstick. [She] looked like a perfect china doll mannequin."

As 1962 began, Motley and Crew were working their usual circuit, spending January and February at the Esquire Show Bar in Montreal. By June they were back in Toronto at the Holiday Tavern. It's likely they then returned to Louie's Showplace Lounge in Boston. She and Skippy White are absolutely certain that her hit cover of Stax artist William Bell's ''Any Other Way" was recorded in Boston during this run. Bell's version wasn't released until August 1962, so Jackie couldn't have known the song before then. By October, Jackie and Motley were back in Toronto, where they played the Brass Rail through December. The December 15, 1962 issues of both Billboard and the Chicago Defender refer to Shane's version of ''Any Other Way," with Billboard tagging it as a regional breakout. This means that Jackie's version of ''Any Other Way" must have been cut in August or September 1962, within weeks of William Bell's release, and before Motley and company returned to Toronto in October.

Skippy White's Mass Records was just down the street from Louie's Showplace Lounge. Jackie would often hang out at the store between sets. "You have to remember the times," laments White. ''At that time, it was illegal, strictly illegal for a man to dress like a woman and go out in public. They really could be arrested. I don't think Jackie was playing that up. Jackie wasn't doing a female impersonation thing like Bobby Marchan did. Jackie got away with [dressing feminine] because Jackie was doing it in a club. They didn't bother her, but when Jackie used to walk from Louie's Lounge to my store, which was about three doors away, even then I think Jackie would have to put on a coat and make it quick to get to the store and back because if the police saw Jackie on the street walking around dressed like a woman, they could pick her up.''

When Skippy closed up in the evening, more often than not, he would go down the street to catch Shane and Motley. White had spoken with Jackie about recording for him. In fact, he clearly remembers drawing up a contract. "Then, all of a sudden," he says, "one day I find out that Jackie and Frank Motley's band had been taken into the recording studio by Jack Sager who owned Disk Distributors. Jack Sager was the kind of guy that if he was on to something he would do it quick. I think it all went through Frank, not Jackie. I think what happened was Frank talked to Jack, and Jack said, ‘Let's do a session tomorrow.’”

That indeed seems to be the case. Once again, Jackie thought this was a Frank Motley session, and that she was just along for the ride to provide some extra percussion. Jackie also remembers when Frank suggested she sing a couple of tunes- William Bell's ''Any Other Way" and Titus Turner's "Sticks and Stones.'' She had time to record just one take of each.

"Any Other Way" was so new, both to the listening public and to the Motley band, that they had probably only played it live once or twice. Cut at either Ace Recording Studio on Boylston Place, or Professional Sound Incorporated on Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University, both Larry Ellis and Jackie remember her coming up with the arrangement and singing the parts to each player, including the odd but infectious horn lines that start, somewhat unusually, in open fourths.

Much has been made for years of the line in the song, "Tell her that I'm happy, tell her that I'm gay." Several writers have erroneously claimed that Jackie added the word "gay'' to William Bell's original, but the lyric is as Bell wrote it, albeit in the sense of being happy rather than in regard to sexual preference. Jackie says she chose the song because she liked the story it tells. The second meaning she brought to the song was certainly not lost on Jackie nor, probably, on most, if not all, of her audience. That said, Jackie felt no need to make that much of it. She was so far ahead of her time that in her mind, and in the way she led her life, being gay or transgendered was no different than being short or tall. It just was.

"I don't think of myself as anything but another person. What I am doing, there is nothing wrong with it. The way others think doesn't mean anything to me. I'm not hurting anyone. You will notice," she emphasizes, "that even in the monologue [on the live album] I only use the word [gay] one time. It's not really what [the song] is about. It's about people. It's not like you're selling a product [e.g., being gay]. You're not selling anything. [Gay] is just a nicer name than some of the others. I thought about it."

The flip, "Sticks and Stones," written by Titus Turner and Henry Glover, had been a #3 R&B hit in the summer of 1960 for Ray Charles. As was the case with her cover of "Money," Jackie's version of "Sticks and Stones" is ridiculously fast. In spite of this, Curley Bridges turns in a hip solo and Jackie rides the rhythm like a master, spitting out the words a mile a minute, and playing with timbre, phrasing, and melodic inflection. The references to gospel lines such as "I've been buked and I've been scorned" and "Scandalize my name" clearly resonated strongly with Jackie's love of gospel.

Jack Sager started the Cookin' label for the sole purpose of issuing ''Any Other Way." Subsequent releases on Cookin' included recordings by Wildman Steve, Frank Motley (one with a vocal by Larry Ellis), Ann Fleming, Spider Martin, Tony and Jeff and The Jolly Jax. Shortly after its release, Sager had record store signs printed and distributed in Boston that read “Jackie Shane for President.” As soon as Shane's version of “Any Other Way” began to get regional airplay, Sager, whose Disk Distributors had the New York City-based Sue Records line, sold the 45 and Jackie Shane's recording contract to Sue's owner, Juggy Murray. By December 15, according to the listing in Billboard, the record was already being pressed on the Sue label.

No, Jackie's in charge of Jackie!

“Any Other Way” was a sensation in Boston and Toronto. With WILD keeping the record in heavy rotation, Shane, Motley and company headed back to Toronto, which became Morley's home base into the 1970s. Jackie would live in Toronto through 1963, much of 1967 and parts of 1968, 1970 and 1971.

Toronto didn't have an R&B station like WILD, but it did have two pop stations, CKEY and the more powerful CHUM. CKEY's Big G (Glenn Walters) was an immediate supporter of the record. CHUM was a little slower, and Jackie felt that some people in key positions at the station were reluctant, perhaps due to discomfort with her sexuality. “CHUM didn't like me,” says Jackie. “I don't know why they hated me but they did. The people made them play “Any Other Way.””

Nevertheless, by April 1963 CHUM added the single to its playlist, and during its nine week chart run, ''Any Other Way" peaked at the #2 spot. It was a "regional breakout" in places like Baltimore, St. Louis, and Washington, reaching #124 on Billboard's "Bubbling Under the Hot 100'' listing. It became an anthem in Toronto, reportedly selling 10,000 copies, which, for a city where Sue had rudimentary distribution at best, was astounding. “Any Other Way” would continue to be regularly requested at both radio and retail in Toronto for the next many years, creating an interesting phenomenon. The song's writer, William Bell, was knocked out by Jackie's version. "I can see why it was a big hit," he says today. "It's a great record. It straddles that fence between pop and soul. I love the arrangement."

The next year Chuck Jackson covered the song for Wand-Scepter. Tellingly, either Jackson or his label changed Bell's lyric to "Tell her that I'm happy, tell her that I'm free." In any event, it didn't help Jackson, whose version stalled at #81 on Billboard's Hot 100 and is all but forgotten today.

With Jackie's contract now owned by Sue Records, she was summoned to New York City to cut her next single in the spring of 1963, after a run at the Brass Rail in Toronto. The morning after arriving in New York, Jackie and Frank Motley headed to the Sue Records office on West 54th Street, where Jackie would finally meet Juggy Murray. "The secretary ushered us into the office," recounted Jackie. “All of a sudden this little funny looking guy comes in, and he had his shoeshine person with him. Oh, he wanted to put it on. He lit his cigar and the boy's shining his shoes. I'm sitting there thinking, 'Oh, please, honey, you're not impressing me.' I knew what he was doing. Let me tell you, him and Frank almost fought over who was going to be in charge of me. No, Jackie's in charge of Jackie! Frank and him almost came to blows. I didn't want to be bothered with any nonsense like this."

They cut Jackie's follow up 45, the somewhat ill­ chosen "In My Tenement," backed with Bobby Darin's "Comin' Down." Bobby Scott and Artie Resnick had written "In My Tenement" in a pop/R&B vein that had virtually nothing to do with the soulful flavor of Jackie's version of “Any Other Way.” Jackie hated the song and the session musicians that Murray hired, and couldn't relate to any of it. "I didn't even know what a tenement was," she says today.

Skippy White, who regularly played “Any Other Way” on his show on WILD, thinks "In My Tenement" was an extraordinarily poor choice for a follow up. "It just seems to me that if Jackie was going to pick up a song to follow ‘Any Other Way’ it would have been something more soulful," he says. "It should have been a real R&B, soulful record."

Jackie's recording of "In My Tenement" sounds like a generic, early 1960s New York uptown R&B recording that might have worked with Ben E. King or The Drifters, but did not reflect the genius or aesthetic of her first single. Jackie does her best, singing in the lowest part of her range, while female vocals chirp "in my tenement" ad nauseum over a too-busy arrangement. The flip was written by Bobby Darin and Rudy Clark. Darin attended the session and ended up arguing with Murray over which song would be the A side. Although "Comin' Down" was the better song, Darin lost the argument. In any event, as with the top side, "Comin' Down" was marred by insipid background vocals and a mediocre instrumental arrangement.

In July 1963 both Billboard and Cashbox mentioned the single. Billboard wrote, "It's a powerful disc that could have strong appeal to the kids." With Juggy Murray's connections, representatives from Dick Clark's American Bandstand came calling. Jackie had earlier heard from her mom's husband, Jess Reed, that Clark had been playing "In My Tenement" on his popular television show. Despite what Bandstand could have done for her career, given the racist nature of the show, Jackie wasn't interested: "They were playing 'In My Tenement' but I couldn't play on that show", she argues. "They use our music but they don't let our children come on?" She also remembers turning down a chance to appear on Ed Sullivan when they insisted she would have to take her make up off: "I said, 'No, no, no, I don't compromise! I don't need Ed Sullivan and I'm not compromising myself to go on there!'" She did agree to appear on CBC-TV's Music Hop, but ended up hating that experience.

Back in Toronto, Big G, ruling the airwaves on CKEY from midnight to 6AM, gave "In My Tenement" lots of support, but the record received little traction anywhere else. Jackie felt that the lyric "She gives me everything" might have simply been too suggestive for the time. Despite the record's ultimate failure, John Finley of the legendary Toronto soul group Jon and Lee & The Checkmates loved Jackie's performance. "I think it's a real cool record. There's a loneliness in it. I listen to the lyric there and it's not that [the lyrics are] lonely, it's that Jackie carries so much pain, she is so vulnerable. I feel Jackie. I feel her when she sings. I feel her vulnerability. I feel her pain. I feel her excitement. That's the real deal."

After their stint in New York, Motley, Shane and the Motley Crew headed to another set of shows in Boston, where Jackie received a surprising and unwanted telegram from Lillian Claiborne. The wannabe record label mogul claimed she had Jackie under contract dating back to the late 1960 session that produced "Money," "Have You Ever Had the Blues," "Chickadee" and "Slave for You Baby." She demanded two cents on every copy sold of "In My Tenement," claiming Jackie, in recording for Sue, had breached her contract. Not knowing what to do, Jackie paid the money. " Lillian used me badly," Jackie laments. "She wrote me a threatening telegram; 'If you don't give two cents [for each single sold] I'm gonna sue you.' I hadn't signed a contract with her but I gave it to her anyway. Me being so young, she just took advantage. I just simply said, 'Oh please, I won't deal with this. Give that cow whatever.' But I never spoke to her again. I was young. It takes you a while to learn show business." (It remains unclear why Claiborne, if she felt Jackie had violated her contract, hadn't demanded payment over “Any Other Way".)

Soon after the release of "In My Tenement," Juggy Murray sent Jackie a tape of another song to prepare for what would be her third single on Sue Records. Jackie's response was that she wanted out. "If I wasn't going to be able to choose my own songs, then what use is it? I was angry. I'm thinking this guy don't know what he's doing, so therefore I want out. I'm not going to do this again. If we're not going to do it right, then forget it."

One guy came up to me of European heritage and he said, 'Jackie why are you playing that here?' And I said, 'Because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. '

A month after walking away from her contract with Sue, Atlantic made overtures, suggesting that her former Nashville compadre Skippy Brooks could produce her. There were also discussions with Motown, with reps from the company coming to see Jackie at the Saphire Tavern in Toronto, but ultimately Jackie chose not to pursue either option.

In June and August 1963, Frank Motley and The Motley Crew featuring Jackie Shane were back at the Brass Rail in Toronto. The August engagement ended on the 26th, two days before Dr. Martin Luther King's legendary March on Washington and his "I Have A Dream" speech. Jackie spent the week at the club promoting the march, setting up a stage backdrop that read "March on Washington" in big letters, and talking about the march during her sets. "I played it up [at the club] in Toronto," Jackie says. "I got the people involved. One guy came up to me of European heritage and he said, 'Jackie why are you playing that here?' And I said, 'Because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ' By the time I got through talking to him, he understood. With something so important, I had to do something. I couldn't make it to Washington but I could do what I could without making people [in my audience] feel ashamed."

In the fall of 1963, Jackie left Toronto for Los Angeles to spend time with her mom after her husband, Jess Reed, died. For about six months Jackie did nothing but relax, hang out, and provide comfort to her grieving mother. By the following April, Jackie started working again, appearing regularly at Andy Allen's California Club. From April 10-13 she appeared on a bill with T-Bone Walker, Dorothy Barry, and La La Wilson & His Upsetters. For the rest of the month, the Etta James Revue headlined at the club with Jackie Shane listed as a "Special Attraction" in what was erroneously billed as her first Los Angeles appearance. Comedian Rudy Ray Moore was the MC and Etta's revue included female impersonator Miss Dakota, The Snap Shots and Kim Gaye.

Jackie continued to work at the California Club in May, in shows with Buster Brown one week, The Temptations another. The weekend of May 22nd Jackie headlined, billed as "The Walking The Dog Man." Although she never recorded this Rufus Thomas composition in the studio, it became a highlight of her show in Los Angeles, and Jackie performed it on her sole known American television appearance, on Nashville station WLAC's Night Train, in 1965. About the stage version, Jackie says "I had a girl dancing. Her and I would dress alike. When I would do 'Walking the Dog' she would come out and walk the dog. I didn't record it but I made it mine. That was my intention, to make 'Walking the Dog' mine."

In late June, Jackie was at the Rusty Rooster nightclub on Lakewood Boulevard, performing along with Etta James and The Snap Shots. On July 2 she played the Dooto Music Center at 135th and Central, and in July and August she did a series of shows in California with Etta James backed up again by La La Wilson and The Upsetters. The tour began in Los Angeles with the O’Jays on the bill for the first night, continued on to Indio, San Diego and a few other cites before coming to a close back in Los Angeles. Etta didn't make the last show and, with the crowd getting ready to riot, Jackie threw her clothes out her dressing room window and walked out through the audience, blending in so that no one would recognize her.

Etta was the one entertainer that Jackie got close to. "When I [was] working [as part of the Etta James Revue]," Jackie recalls, "I came out in very attractive outfits and just sang. I don't put any pressure on myself I like that because I don't have to work too hard. Because it's her show, I want her to stand out. I just come out and I sing a couple of numbers and go on back to the dressing room. If I was really going to do my thing, then I am building. Each song would bring me up to the point where it was heated, getting into it. In a situation [such as the one with Etta] I just float along. I don't even have to get sweaty. It's so beautiful to do because that pressure isn't on you."

While Jackie was tearing it up in Los Angeles, Frank Motley was back in Toronto performing at the Edison Hotel through most of the summer of 1964. With Jackie no longer part of the band, Motley's audience was shrinking. Jackie finished the summer playing a show with Roy Milton. In October she was with Ray Agee at the California Club, and concluded the year with a Christmas show with Moms Mahley. Jackie stayed in Los Angeles for most of 1965, but didn't work as much. In the summer she played the California Club with T-Bone Walker and Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and later headlined her own week at the club. She also played a multi-artist extravaganza at the Los Angeles Breakfast Club on Los Feliz Blvd on August 14.

More notable was her decision to go back to Nashville to perform "Walking The Dog" on WLAC's Night Train television show. Jackie and her mother took this appearance as an opportunity for an excursion. They rode a train from Los Angeles to Elyria, Ohio to visit Jess Reed's grave, and another to Nashville. It was the first time Jackie had been back home since leaving with the Carnival in 1959. During this time Jackie and her mom also enjoyed a family reunion at a local club rented for the purpose.

Night Train was hosted by radio station WVOL executive Noble Blackwell. It first aired in October 1964, and for three years showcased some of the greatest rhythm and blues performers in America. "I don't like doing TV," says Jackie. After Night Train, she instructed her agent to cancel all other televised appearances. "First of all, I don't like miming and I don't like being interfered with. You've got to point here. [The director] looks at you, you've got to look up in the mirror. I am not an actor. But I came here to do that because of Noble Blackwell, who was a wonderful man."

Jackie's two and a half minute Night Train appearance gives a sense of how elegant and well put together she was. While she certainly projects a sense of androgyny, contrary to the descriptions of many commentators Jackie was not really a cross dresser, at least in the performing years. Standing at the microphone, rather than taking it off the stand, Jackie delicately moves in a fashion that can be described as nuanced. The only Jackie Shane footage known to exist, Night Train provides just a glimpse of what Jackie was like onstage, and it is nothing short of riveting.

Jackie Shane on Night Train (1965)

While Jackie was in Nashville, Little Richard was also in town playing the New Era Club. Jackie had met Richard's guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, a year earlier, when they were both in Los Angeles. By coincidence, Hendrix also appeared on the same episode of Night Train as Jackie, backing up soul duo Buddy and Stacy on a cover of Jr. Walker's "Shotgun." Jimmy Church, who had worked with Jackie as a member of The Seniors in Jerry Jackson's Hep Cats back in 1959, was also on that particular episode of Night Train.

1966 appears to have been a relatively quiet year for Jackie. She spent most of her time in Los Angeles and performed little if at all, though it's quite possible she played a month at John Donovan's King of Clubs in Pomona, California and, at some point in the fall, played at The Yard in the Park club in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She also took on a new manager, Vic Warner, out of New York. That summer she was approached by Mike and Bob Kirkland, who had a song they wanted her to cut for Modern Records. Recorded August 21, 1966 at Modem's studio on 5810 S. Normandy, the resulting single is unlike any other recording Jackie ever made. The Kirklands wrote the A-side, "Stand Up Straight And Tall," while Jackie elected to cut a supremely soulful version of "You Are My Sunshine" for the flip.

Hailing from Yazoo City, Mississippi, Mike James Kirkland started out singing doo wop before relocating to the West Coast in 1956. In 1965 he enjoyed a minor R&B hit with Mike & The Censations, but at the time he and his brother approached Jackie, they were still trying to make a name for themselves in the business. In the early 1970s Kirkland would record a couple of highly regarded and now very sought after soul albums, Hang On In There (1972) and Doin' It Right (1973).

Although Jackie wanted to overdub horns on the session, whether for aesthetic or financial reasons, the Kirkland brothers were adamant that the 45 be cut with a rhythm section only. A key member of the band was an amazingly talented teenage organist, Chester Petty, who Jackie had brought along from her mother's church. Jackie turned in a dynamic, slightly edgy vocal, utilizing a higher, thinner, yet raunchier timbre than she had deployed on any of her previous records. With an insidious groove dominated by Petty's organ, James Brown guitarist Jimmy Nolen's trademark chank, and a now unknown bass player and drummer, the single could have easily been a hit. The B-side is even more dynamic. Many performers treat the country standard "You Are My Sunshine" as an uplifting, happy song due to its chorus, not paying attention to the lyrics in the verses. Jackie had realized this years ago. "I chose it because of the lyrics. On so many country/hillbilly songs the lyrics are very powerful. To take them and make a blues song with it was very fascinating. It's so heavy, you can't help but look into it."

Within weeks of cutting the single, Jackie was back in the studio, this time providing drums as a session player for another Modern artist, Lowell Fulson. Messing around in the studio, Fulson and the session musicians eventually came up with a funky number called "Tramp." A #5 R&B smash for Fulson in early 1967, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas covered the song as a duet for Stax Records, reaching #2 on the R&B charts and #26 on the pop charts in late spring 1967. In addition to the Fulson session, Jackie played drums on a handful of dates for other Modern artists throughout the year.

Unfortunately, "Stand Up Straight And Tall" generated little response on radio, and on December 13, 1966, Modern terminated Jackie's contract. Ironically, this was just when Skippy White was finally getting around to releasing the Lillian Claiborne recordings he'd bought from Frank Motley a year earlier. The result was Jackie making a triumphant return to Toronto in early 1967 promoting her "new" single, "Money," cut all the way back in 1960.

Music was enough for me and sometimes too much.

In the meantime, something curious was happening with “Any Other Way.” In 1965, Gerry Lincoln moved from New York to Toronto and got a job managing the pop department at A&A Records on Yonge Street. Within weeks of being hired, Lincoln heard Shane's version of “Any Other Way,” and fell in love with it. He found it interesting that customers were regularly coming for a copy of the record three years after it had fallen off the charts. He wanted to help his customers out, but he had a problem-the original Canadian distributor of the record, Phonodisc Records, no longer had rights, and Sue Records in New York had deleted the title.

At the time, A&A rivalled Sam the Record Man for dominance on Toronto's Yonge Street strip. In an attempt to gain a competitive edge, A&A assiduously catered to Toronto's R&B scene, with Lincoln making regular trips to Buffalo to buy black 45s not yet released in Canada. On one such trip he found about a hundred copies of “Any Other Way” buried deep in the stacks of a Buffalo record distributor. Lincoln bought them all. When they sold out, he approached Frank Swain, then president and general manager of Caravan Records, about reissuing the records. Swain contacted Phonodisc and found they didn't have a master tape. Taking the bull by the horns, he decided to reissue the record from a mint copy of the 45 rpm single, duplicating every detail of the Sue label. Although it's impossible to know for sure at this late date, it's likely these were actually bootlegs. Nonetheless, they sold on a steady basis. (For the record, Swain, now in his 80s, doesn't remember this.)

A January 25, 1967 ad in the Toronto Star for the Saphire Tavern read, "Where the in crowd goes: appearing nightly-direct from Los Angeles Frank Motley and his Motley Group featuring Jackie Shane-latest hit record ‘Money.’” The song became a featured number of Jackie's sets throughout 1967.

Shortly after Jackie's jubilant return to Toronto, she was approached to play the lead role in Fortune In Men's Eyes. Written by John Herbert, the play explores themes of homosexuality and sexual slavery, and was based on Herbert 's experiences serving time in reform school for dressing in drag in 1947. Jackie read her way through the script but elected to turn it down. “Acting is a bit strange to me,” she explains. “I don't like what's not real. I didn't feel it would be a good thing. Music was enough for me and sometimes too much.” Herbert's play would eventually be translated into 40 languages and published in 100 different countries and outsell any other Canadian play in history.

Back in Toronto, Moe Stone's Saphire Tavern had become Motley and Jackie's regular venue. Located just off Yonge Street at Richmond and Victoria, the Saphire was a small dining room club, seating roughly 200 people. The intimacy was perfect for Jackie's kind of show. When she had first played Toronto in the early '6os at venues like the Holiday Tavern and the Brass Rail, the audiences had been at least 70% black and, as Eric Mercury puts it, most of the other 30% were white girls who were there with their black dates. By 1967, with “Any Other Way” still in regular rotation on Toronto radio some four years after its release, a more mainstream audience had become aware of Jackie, and now the audiences were more evenly split.

As had been the case during her first run in Toronto, black tourists from Detroit and Buffalo regularly drove to Toronto to catch Jackie's show. One night at the Saphire, four busloads from Michigan made the trek. Now members of her audience, black and white, were coming in from satellite cities surrounding Toronto like London, Kitchener, and Hamilton. In Canada's biggest city and one of the biggest cities in North America, Jackie Shane was once again a bonafide star.

People who saw Jackie in this period remember it like it was yesterday.

Sal Indigo saw Jackie at an all ages dance in a basement on a Sunday night at a church or banquet hall south of Dundas at Bathurst. "We used to hang out with the people south of the market in the projects. Jackie Shane was a favorite of everybody down there. They were an older crowd. They would go see her at the Saphire and the Concord but then they would have these community dances. I remember all these older guys hanging around with their dates and everybody was all gussied up and they had mickeys in paper bags. This was totally black. It was sort of like an underground or illegal thing. Everybody loved the band. They had a really hard driving, funky sound. It was like going to see our version of James Brown.''

"She was extremely energetic," adds Soul Searchers saxophonist Steve Kennedy. "But without any wild antics. She wasn't flailing all over the place. She was more reserved. I think that was her personality, a certain amount of decorum. She was not up there to make a fool of herself. She was there for serious business. She was there for serious business.''

Eric Mercury saw Jackie at the Holiday Tavern, the Brass Rail and the Saphire Tavern. In his words: ''Jackie would have you jumping up and down out of your seat and clapping your hands and hollering and taking off your clothes. We had never had anything like that. There were a lot of girls at Jackie's gigs. There were a lot of women. They use the term 'fag hag.' If you asked them, [she] was fabulous. They were dressing like Jackie Shane. It was really a cult."

In Montreal, at least, Jackie also had a serious transvestite following. Nick Panaseiko Sr. remembers seeing Jackie there in 1967. "I was so taken aback," he recalls. "That was my first real hint of transvestites. I had never experienced them in London, Ontario. Here I am in Montreal and they are dressed to the nines, but most of them are dressing in great-looking suits and looking like great-looking girls, going into the men's washroom.''

As far as Gerry Lincoln from A&A Records 1s concerned, Jackie was "Bowie before Bowie."

The Saphire was the place to be in Toronto in 1967. For the week of July 3-8, the ads for the club stated, "Live recording session. All this week . . . Hear Jackie cut a new record . . . be in on the taping."

With the reissued “Any Other Way” still being played regularly on Toronto radio and continuing to sell at downtown record stores, Gerry Lincoln approached Caravan Records' Frank Swain again. Inspired by one of his favorite records, James Brown Live at the Apollo, Lincoln suggested that Caravan record a live album to document Jackie's show at the Saphire.

Jackie Shane Live is a stunning document on par with a handful of live R&B records from the period, such as Sam Cooke Live At The Harlem Square Club and Gene Chandler Live At The Regal. There had been a number of changes in Morley's band while Jackie was in California, and they were no longer Frank Motley and The Motley Crew by the time the album was cut. Larry Ellis developed a drug problem and was replaced by Ralph Blair. His cousin, Wally Blair, took over on tenor from King Herbert, and a new guitarist, Rollie Simmons, came on board. Jimmy Butler remained on drums, as did Curley Bridges on organ. The new band was christened Frank Motley and The Hitchhikers, named after Morley's instrumental recording "Hitchhikin'." For the live record, King Herbert was brought back to reinforce the horn section.

Jackie would have you jumping up and down out of your seat and clapping your hands and hollering and taking off your clothes. We had never had anything like that.

During the week of recording, Jackie played two shows a night, each set structured as a revue, with Frank Motley and the Hitchikers playing an introductory vamp during which Motley would introduce each member of the band, eventually bringing Jackie onto the stage. There were no breaks between songs; instead the band played little vamps to shift tempo and occasionally key, while Jackie introduced the next song.

The show was recorded in low-fi with an Ampex mono recorder. The Hitchhikers are a bit rough and ready, but Jackie is in stunning form, roaring through inspired covers of Tommy Tucker's 1964 hit "Hi-Heel Sneakers," Eddie Floyd's late-summer 1966 smash "Knock On Wood," Dee Clark's 1961 classic "Raindrops," Bobby "Blue" Eland's "You're The One" (the flip of his 1961 single "Turn On Your Love Light"), and James Brown's incendiary 1965 charr­ topper "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," plus her two hit singles-the covers of Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" and William Bell's ''Any Other Way."

(Two other songs recorded live at the Saphire, covers of Ben E. King's 1962 hit "Don't Play That Song" and New Orleans r&b great Robert Parker's #2 hit "Barefootin"' were later issued as a single on Caravan, oddly enough as by Jackie Shayne [sic]. For this reissue, three of the twelve sets originally recorded were found. Two of the sets contained mesmerizing covers of Chuck Jackson's #5 1961 hit "I Don't Want to Cry," Jr. Walker's 1965 chart topping "Shotgun" and the B-side of Jackie's 1966 single, "You Are My Sunshine," all of which are included here for the first time.)

Highlights abound, but the album's greatest moments are the emotion drenched version of "Raindrops" and the extended takes on “Money” and “Any Other Way,” clocking in at ten minutes each due to Jackie's impassioned mid-way monologues. Jackie first started incorporating monologues into her act shortly after “Any Other Way” appeared in late 1962 and soon became a signature part of her shows. A brilliant ad libber who was never afraid to speak her mind and play with the audience, Jackie would use the monologues to draw the crowd closer while the band vamped for minutes on end, building tension. More often than not, the monologues addressed the age old issues of sexual politics, in Jackie's telling pertinent to both gay and straight people in a way most had never heard before.

"I first learned how to speak to people soulfully in church," Jackie says today. "It all comes from a church background. To speak the truth, to tell it the way it is. That's what it's all about. In church you would call it a testimony-telling people how they can overcome the things that they are going to be confronted with.

"The monologue came to be when it struck me you can teach with these stories about yourself. I remember the first night, it was a Friday night at the Saphire, and I said, 'Bring it down boys, let me talk to these people.' I could see myself in the mirror and I would sort of pretend I was freshening myself up. 'Lord, it's so very fatiguing to be a Jackie Shane.' In other words, I'm bringing them to me. I just started, nothing planned. I just let it flow. I started to speak about things that they could relate to, but this is not about pain, this is the way nature intended this to be. If you would just let yourself be without listening to others [and] becoming carbon copies of what they are but let yourself experience. You've got to understand I'm talking about life. I was energized and I said, 'I've got to talk about this' and I just started. Oh Lord, let me tell you, they couldn't get enough of it. I began to tweak that you can do so much, especially if you add monologue. In fact I told Mrs. Stone [one of the owners of the Saphire], 'Look, gay people must be able to come and see me. As long as they come just like everyone else and obey the rules and such, I don't want anyone kept from seeing me. I want them to come.' We had an understanding."

Although Jackie was never one to join advocacy groups, in her own way she was always ready to try to educate the general public. Over time, this seems to have become increasingly important. Never didactic, Jackie used her sharp wit to get her point across, and audiences loved it.

"You know, when I'm walking down Yonge Street, you won't believe this, but you know some of them funny people have the nerve to point the finger at me and grin and smile and whisper. But you know that don't worry Jackie because I know I look good, and every Monday morning I laugh and grin on the way to the bank because I got mine. I look good, I got money and everything else that I need. You know what my slogan is? Baby, do what you want, just know what you're doing. As long as you don't force your will and your way on anyone else, live your life because ain't nobody sanctified and holy.

“This is the closest to Jesus Christ some of you will ever get. You should travel with me baby, you'd think Jesus Christ had come down and walked this earth again. The multitude that follows me is so great because they know I go along handing out soul blessings, satisfying souls, but I don't satisfy nobody that’s a square. You've got to know that I need some money."

-Monologue from "Money" on Jackie Shane Live

"You know what the people would come to me and say?" muses Jackie. "'Jackie, talk to us more because you say things that other people don't say.' This meant a great deal to me because I'm giving them a part of me. It's like undressing. Being for real, telling the truth, letting them know that this is real, that I am real, that I feel this, that this is me! And they get it when you tell them about life. I don't think you can sing about problems that you haven't really experienced and learned how to deal with. I always go to the core and then I work my way up slowly, and by the time I get to the top then I know how to deal with it. I enjoy the audience. I really do. I enjoy those people. I can feel them. It does something to me and, as they are reacting, it energizes me."

One of Jackie's more memorable gigs that year was at La Trick, a non-licensed club on Breadalbane Street in Toronto's gay village. The club was on the top floor of an old warehouse. One young fan, now 66 (and, at the time, still closeted), cherishes the memory. "We were all ecstatic that we were going to see someone in a bar that was for us. …I remember thinking, 'Wow, look at what this guy's doing. Gee, maybe there's hope!"'

The multitude that follows me is so great because they know I go along handing out soul blessings, satisfying souls.

Jackie was still playing the Saphire when Billboard, on October 14, 1967, ran a piece on Caravan Records and the impending release of Jackie Shane Live.

A new label, Caravan, has been introduced by Caravan Record Sales Ltd. The two-year old distributing company kicks off its own label with three singles and an album: "Knock on Wood" and "You're the One," a single from the album “Jackie Shane Live," which also contains Shanes biggest hits, “Any Other Way" and “Money,” produced by Caravan promotion man John Irvine at the Saphire Tavern in Toronto, one of several Canadian clubs where the US. R&B artist is popular."

The November ads for the Saphire read: "Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers featuring Jackie Shane­-latest hit record Jackie Shane Live." Tom Williams, the popular DJ on CKFH and host of "Where It's At," the all-night show from 1967 to 1969, recalls having to play ''Any Other Way" constantly. "It was the most requested song on my show for the full 20 years we existed. We had to play it every night. She was [like] The Beatles or something."

Jackie finished up a successful and exciting year with a Christmas show at the Palais Royale on December 21 and a New Year's Eve show at the Broom and Stone, out at Lawrence and Midland in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. The Hitchhikers remained in Toronto through most of 1968. Early in the year, the group was scheduled to return to Boston for the first time in many years, booked to play Basin Street South. When gangster John Martorano shot the club owner Herbert Smith and two innocent teenagers in Smith's car outside the club on January 6, the gig was canceled.

Staying in Toronto, Motley and Jackie played the Saphire in January. Their relationship was reaching the breaking point. As far back as the Esquire Show Bar, Frank had mistreated her. One night he threw a large crystal ashtray at Jackie's head when she refused to sing a song for the third time. Frank had also cost Jackie bookings. "The last time we played the Broom and Stone," says Jackie, "the owner called me back to his office. He said, 'Jackie I love you and you always do well for us, but as long as Frank Motley is with you I can't have you back. Frank was in here threatening me. He felt he deserved a bonus.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'Yeah, he came back, he called me names and I was going to shoot him. It really got ugly. I'm sorry but as long as you're with Frank Motley I can't book you again.'

"That's the reason I started to buy cars, I wanted to get away from Frank. I didn't want to ride with him. I had had enough. He could be very trying and I wanted to stay as far from him as I could if we weren't onstage. He had reached that point where he was disgusting. Frank wanted to be my Svengali. He referred to me to everyone as His Jackie Shane. It really was a bit much."

Things came to a head, and Jackie told the band either Frank went or she was leaving. "I took the group and put him out" is how Jackie puts it. "I couldn't handle Frank anymore. He's cursing and swearing onstage and carrying on. I said, 'Either I take over the group and you are out, or I leave.' So he really didn't have a choice and I made sure of that. He had just become something other, I mean really distasteful. What I was building, he was tearing down, and I couldn't allow him to do that."

The Hitchhikers elected to stay with Jackie. For her appearance at the Saphire in August the ad read "Ralph Blair and The Hitchhikers featuring Jackie Shane." In October Jackie opened up two shows at Toronto's legendary Massey Hall for her old friend Joe Tex, again without Motley. The newspaper review described Jackie's wardrobe as consisting of a light green Laurex (silver thread) suit, with an orange shirt and matching shoes.

As the year was winding down, Jackie was asked to be in the city's annual Christmas parade. To many people's surprise, she turned the city down. "I didn't want to put myself on exhibit," muses Jackie. "I don't let people see a lot of me. The less that people see of you, the more they want to see. If they see too much, it becomes old hat. You can become too common. People don't pay to see what they can see every day."

By the end of 1968 Jackie was back in Los Angeles. In March she was approached by a Latino from East Los Angeles named Johnny Jarvis. His older brother had been killed in a gang-related drive-by and he and three of his friends were trying to stem the violence by bringing gangs together through concerts and other cultural events. They approached a number of musicians and were turned down by all, many of them simply afraid to play East LA. "I listened to them," says Jackie, ''And I felt we are all neighbors and a threat to peace anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere."

Once Jackie agreed to do the shows, she had the novel idea of using an East LA band to back her up, to reinforce community ties. She thought this might help "let them see what they may be able to do with their lives other than shooting and killing. If I use a group from [their] area, it might have more impact."

For support she brought along Chester Petty, the organist from her mother's church, who had played on "Stand Up Straight And Tall" and "You Are My Sunshine" back in 1966. The first gig was at East LA College; the second, on April 13, 1969, was at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium. All told, Jackie played eight or nine shows for Jarvis' community effort, traveling as far as Bakersfield.

In July 1969, Jackie was back east playing Kittie's Lounge in Albany, New York on a bill that included Miss Maggie's Children (formerly the Mark IV), two Go Go Girls, and Delectable Dolores. Sometime during 1969 she also played a date in Las Vegas at the International Hotel with what she describes as a "huge band."

Later that year she recorded her final single, "New Way of Lovin'" backed with "Cruel Cruel World," both written by Jackie, the record financed by her then-manager Vic Warner. Backing her up was a Los Angeles group nearly a dozen strong called The Kin Folks, who she'd met playing gigs at the California Club. "The Kin Folks were heavy," says Jackie. "They had a thing going on, Oh yes, yes, yes! I would love to have had The Kin Folks travel around with me. They get down. They really get to it. They grooved off of themselves and they grooved off of me."

Jackie doesn't remember where the single was cut but does recall going to an LA club early in the day to work out the arrangement and rehearse with the band before heading to the studio. Both tracks are Jackie Shane originals and both absolutely rock. The session is drenched in reverb and Jackie's voice is as raspy and harsh as it ever sounded on record. On the A-side, "New Way of Lovin'," she is a little too buried in the mix. Despite that, the band's molten hot groove, the lead guitarist's incessant bluesy fills, and Jackie's unbridled enthusiasm make the performance leap off the turntable. "Cruel Cruel World" is a more mid­ tempo number, but sports the same great guitar fills, with Jackie reaching deep into her gospel background. The single was released by the Toronto-based Paragon Records, likely tied in to Jackie's return to Toronto in early 1970.

In May, Jackie was performing at the Concord Tavern with a group the reviewer in The Globe and Mail referred to as the Omega Nucleus Watch Band. (Jackie doesn't remember using this name.) In June and July she was back at the Saphire without Frank Motley.

In 1970, George Clinton and Funkadelic were based in Toronto, becoming, for a few years, an integral part of the city's insanely hot R&B scene. Ron Scribner managed Funkadelic and his agency also booked Jackie for high schools and one nighter gigs outside of her regular club shows. "When Ron began managing the Funkadelics they wanted to meet me," says Jackie. "I kept saying, 'No,' but Ron kept at it so finally I let them come up. I was staying at the Four Seasons. They were something else. They really were too much. Honestly and truly, they were wild. I thought, we don't have the same thing going. One of them [Garry Shider] would have on a diaper. That's a little too wild for me. They wanted to work with me, but I said, 'No, I really don't want to get into that.' I liked what they were doing but it's not me. They were just a bit much for me."

People came from everywhere--Memphis, Georgia. This was a gigantic place and there wasn't a seat to be had.

Jackie returned to Los Angeles in the fall of 1970, where she visited Universal Studios with the rhythm section from the Watts 103rd St. Band and laid down at least four tracks, including a cover of The Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" and Johnnie Taylor's "Who's Making Love. "Jackie was especially knocked out by drummer James Gadson, proclaiming, "Some drummers they just beat, but this guy could play. I could slap him silly!" Unfortunately, none of these tracks have yet seen the light of day.

Back in Nashville, Aunt Gussie and her husband were in financial trouble as a result of profligate gambling, so Jackie and her mom headed there at the end of the year to try to help straighten out affairs. This was Jackie's first time back since taping Night Train in the summer of 1965. While in town a local promoter convinced her to play two New Year's Eve shows at a huge warehouse that had been converted into a club. Her band included drummer Buddy Miles, who she'd originally met through Jimi Hendrix.

For the first show Jackie came on wearing pin-placed mirrors on her outfit. The coat weighed about 45 pounds. The person who made it for her told her, “After you get it on and you walk on stage, you're gonna forget how much it weighs. It's gonna be so beautiful." Jackie had the lighting technician use different colored spotlights so that quickly changing colors would be bouncing off the mirrors in all directions. For the second show, she was a little more demure, wearing a red jumpsuit.

"It was historic, " says Jackie. "People came from everywhere--Memphis, Georgia. This was a gigantic place and there wasn't a seat to be had. "Jackie rapped from the stage about how she was pleased to see white and black together in Nashville. "It was quite a night," she sighs. ''After the second show, I walked around the room shaking hands."

Jackie spent the first eight months of 1971 in Los Angeles, taking it easy, feeling tired from more than a decade of steady gigging. Sometime in late winter, popular Los Angeles disc jockey Humble Harve Miller drafted Jackie to play tambourine on Joe Cocker's "Black-Eyed Blues," released in April as the B-side of Cocker's Top 30 pop hit "High Time We Went."

Meanwhile, Frank Motley was still in Toronto playing the Saphire in April and May with a new band called Frank Motley and The Bridge. With audiences dwindling, Motley was calling Jackie and asking her to come back. Eventually Jackie agreed, but insisted she would only play with him until the end of the year. On September 25, 1971, Jackie Shane was back playing once again with Frank Motley, this time at the Concord Tavern on Bloor near Ossington. The band could be found there on and off through December 11. They also played a number of other venues, usually one night at a time. One such show was an all-ages gig, and Frank showed up drunk. The promoter called off the show, explaining to Jackie that he couldn't have "this old man up onstage drunk" in front of an underage audience.

"That's when I said to [her lover] Dan, 'I'm leaving'," Jackie sighs. "He's made a mess again and this time I am never coming back."

There were a few more gigs still to play, after which Jackie planned to tell Frank it was over. The night she gave her notice the group was playing a hotel, most likely in the Yonge and Eglinton area. At the end of the night Frank refused to pay her, in an attempt to keep her from leaving. Not surprisingly, Jackie lost it. When she informed him in no uncertain terms that he was, indeed, going to pay her, Motley pulled out a knife. "He threatened me," Jackie rages. "That's the second time I almost killed a bandleader, and it was the first and only time I have ever ridden a subway. I was going to get my security [her gun] because I had left it at the apartment. If I had it, I would have killed him. He was coming toward me with a pocket knife. After that I told him, 'I will never share a stage with you again.' I didn't expect for him to pull something nasty. But he wanted me to stay and I said, 'No, I have already told you, this shall be limited.’”

Back at her apartment Jackie had second thoughts, realizing that if she acted on her impulses she would end up facing a judge and jury. Instead, she closed out a week of gigs that were already booked at the Concord Tavern and then packed her things and left Toronto for good. "I didn't even tell Frank I was walking away. I didn't tell anyone."

Jackie headed once again to Los Angeles, determined to spend time with her lover Dan, and her mother. As expected, Frank called her repeatedly. At first she refused to take his calls. When she did finally speak to him, she told him emphatically, "We are never going to share a stage again. You let me down. Your behavior, you ought to check it and get yourself together."

In December of 1971, Jackie Shane went into seclusion, opting to leave music forever. “It's like I just disappeared from the face of the earth. I'm not one of those people [where] this month I'm leavin' show business and two months later, I'm back. In fact for a while, I even stopped listening to music because I was afraid I would be seduced by it.”

By the time she retired Jackie Shane had already lived a bigger life than most people ever dream of. Content with what she had done, sick of the music industry and tired of enduring the challenges transgendered people experience every day, Jackie Shane was happy to step out of the limelight. Jackie would spend the next many years sharing a more private life with her beloved mother Jessie, who passed away in 1997.

I gave what I had. I talked to them and I was simply saying, 'Live and let live. We all want a little piece of it and we all should have a little piece of it.'

Speaking in the fall of 2016, Jackie reflected back on her time on stage, especially in Toronto, a city she still calls her real home. "I hope that I gave them something that they will always remember,” she says. "Something not only about the dancing and the laughing and that, but about life. I gave what I had. I talked to them and I was simply saying, 'Live and let live. We all want a little piece of it and we all should have a little piece of it.'

"They came out of curiosity but they found more. I'm proud of me because I kept the faith. I kept the faith with them, with myself, and there is no mark on me. I never did anything wrong. How many entertainers can say that? You know what? I'm a good girl.

"I really left an impression on these people, and I'm glad, but I gave them me, honestly and truly and completely. These were people who were not accustomed to a person like myself but they learned to like me. These people had never been exposed to a person that was for real."

Jackie broke barriers for gay and transgendered people. "That was my intent. What I saw was injustice. I saw ignorance. I've given a lot, even risking my life. There were people who wanted to destroy me, especially the cops. They were so intent on destroying me, you have no idea, but they can't. I'm not going to let them destroy me. I would laugh at them. Their stupidity is laughable. I've had people who have said to me to my face, 'You scare me.' I'm looking at them, 'Oh please, you scare yourself.'"

In late 2016, Heritage Toronto commissioned a 22-story mural on a building on the east side of Yonge Street just south of College, to commemorate Toronto and Yonge Street's storied musical history. Now completed, the mural features Ronnie Hawkins, Glenn Gould, Diane Brooks, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, Gordon Lightfoot, and Oscar Peterson. At the center of it all is Jackie Shane.

Hearing about the tribute, Jackie reflected emotionally: "I thought I would be forgotten. But I haven't been. It goes to show I didn't do it in vain. It was really worth doing. People appreciate it. That's a beautiful thing."

- ROB BOWMAN, 2019