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  Ellen McIlwaine
Ellen McIlwaine Ellen McIlwaine was born on an unknown date in Tennesse, and was adopted and raised by missionary parents in Japan. She grew up in an American enclave but in a bilingual environment, having both US and Japanese playmates. Whether this early linguistic fluency fostered a natural musical ear or vice versa is a subject for the sociologists to debate. As an adult she used Japanese for scatsinging, especially in her earlier work. In 1987, she put a Japanese chorus on a recorded track ("Don't Look Down" on Looking For Trouble).

While growing up, she was attracted to the US R&B artists making waves at the time: Rufus and Carla Thomas, Ike & Tina Turner, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair. These filtered into her ears alongside the more staid spirituals of her parents' choosing as she learned to play piano.

When she grew up, she moved to Atlanta for the blues music scene there, took up guitar and hamonica and started playing circuits, ending up in New York's Cafe a Go Go, where she shared the bill with another young guitar sensation named Jimi Hendrix. After some time there Hendrix went to Britain to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Ellen returned to Atlanta to form the group Fear Itself with Chris Zaloom (lead gtr), Paul Album (bass), and Bill McCord (drums). Fear Itself reflected the "underground" and "psychedelic" blues of the time, kind of a Janis Joplin/Jefferson Airplane meld. They made one album for Dot records, featuring more rock-oriented versions of tunes she'd later be identified with: Crawling Kingsnake, Underground River, Born Under a Bad Sign and Billy Gene (later Billy Jean), as well as an 8:44 version (the mandatory Sixties "long version") of "In My Time of Dyin'".

   
 
Spontaneous Combustion
CD $15.99 catalog# t&m018
Spontaneous Combustion
Mockingbird
Up From The Skys: The Polydor Years
CD $16.99 catalog# 557576
Up From The Skys: The Polydor Years
The Real / Everybody Needs It
CD $16.99 catalog# 1213
The Real / Everybody Needs It
Looking For Trouble
CD $15.99 catalog# 1110
Looking For Troubles
More Info
In D Street (I Am Discreet)
Women in E (M)otion
CD $15.99 catalog# t&m112
Women in E (M)otion
 


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