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Merline Johnson - JPop.com
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Merline Johnson

Merline Johnson

Merline Johnson


Merline Johnson (born c. 1912) was an African American blues singer in the 1930s and 1940s, billed as The *Yas Yas Girl. Little is known of her life, but she is thought to have been born in Mississippi. She was the aunt of rhythm and blues singer LaVern Baker. She first recorded in Chicago in 1937, on songs including "Sold It To The Devil". Over the next four years she recorded over 90 songs including "Don't You Make Me High", "I'd Rather Be Drunk", and "Love with a Feeling". Read more on Last.fm
Merline Johnson (born c. 1912) was an African American blues singer in the 1930s and 1940s, billed as The *Yas Yas Girl. Little is known of her life, but she is thought to have been born in Mississippi. She was the aunt of rhythm and blues singer LaVern Baker. She first recorded in Chicago in 1937, on songs including "Sold It To The Devil".

Over the next four years she recorded over 90 songs including "Don't You Make Me High", "I'd Rather Be Drunk", and "Love with a Feeling". Unlike Lil Johnson, she did not specialize in suggestive numbers, though she did not eschew them either. Her métier was bar-room blues like "Drinking My Blues Away" and "I Just Keep on Drinking", which she put over in a hard-edged, unwinsome style. She was backed on many of her recordings by top blues and jazz musicians including Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson, Blind John Davis, Buster Bennett, and Punch Miller. Many of these have been included on later blues compilations. Her final recordings, not issued at the time, were in 1947.

Her later life is unknown. "*Yas Yas" was a common euphemism in blues hokum songs for "ass", for example in Blind Boy Fuller's "Get Yer Yas Yas Out" and Tampa Red's "The Duck's Yas-Yas-Yas". Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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