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Mildred Bailey

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Biography

Mildred Rinker Bailey (February 27, 1907 – December 12, 1951) was a popular and influential American jazz singer during the 1930s, known as “The Queen of Swing”, “The Rockin’ Chair Lady” and “Mrs. Swing”.
Some of her best known hits are “It’s So Peaceful in the Country”, “Trust In Me”, “Where Are You”, “I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart”, “Small Fry”, “Please Be Kind”, “Darn That Dream”, “Rockin’ Chair”, “Blame It On My Last Affair”, and “Says My Heart”.

Born Mildred Rinker in Tekoa, Washington, her mother, Josephine, was an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and a devout Roman Catholic. Her father, Charles, played fiddle and called square dances. Her mother played piano every evening after supper and taught Mildred to play and sing. Her brothers were the vocalist and composer Al Rinker, and the lyricist Charles Rinker.
Career

At the age of seventeen, Bailey moved to Seattle and worked as a sheet music demonstrator at Woolworth’s. She married and divorced Ted Bailey, keeping his last name because she thought it sounded more American than Rinker.[3] With the help of her second husband, Benny Stafford, she became an established blues and jazz singer on the West Coast. According to Gary Giddins’ book Bing Crosby – A Pocketful of Dreams – The Early Years 1903-1940, in 1925 she secured work for her brother, Al Rinker, and his partner Bing Crosby.

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