Annisteen Allen (Annisteen Allen)
Annisteen Allen (born Ernestine Letitia Allen) (November 11, 1920, Champaign, Illinois – August 10, 1992, Harlem, New York City) was an American blues singer. Allen’s first recordings were made in 1945, and included “Miss Annie’s Blues” and “Love for Sale”. She sang with Big John Greer, Wynonie Harris, and Lucky Millinder, and in 1951, Federal Records signed her to sing with Millinder’s orchestra. She scored other hits with Millinder such as “I’ll Never Be Free”, “Let It Roll”, “Moanin’ the Blues”, and “More, More, More”. Federal’s parent company, King Records, acquired her in 1953, but after releasing “Baby I’m Doing It”, Apollo Records sued King for copyright infringement, and as a result King dropped her from its roster. She then signed with Capitol Records and did tours with Joe Morris and The Orioles. In 1955 she scored a hit in the U.S. with “Fujiyama Mama”. She became a solo artist in the 1960s.
She is best remembered as Annisteen Allen, a 1940s to 1950s big-band jazz and blues singer with the powerful style of Ella Fitzgerald. Born Ernestine Letitia Allen, she was raised in Toledo, Ohio. She came into prominence in December 1945 with her recordings of “Miss Annie’s Blues” and “Love for Sale” under the Queen label. In February 1946 she did her first official session for Decca Records, which were all credited to Lucky Millinder and his orchestra and included “Let It Roll” which she performed in the movie “Boarding House Blues” (1948), her only film appearance. In 1949 she left Decca for RCA and scored a hit for that label in early 1951 with a cover of “I’ll Never Be Free” (number 8 on the Rhythm and Blues chart). The Millinder version featured a duet of Annisteen and Big John Greer. Another duet, later in 1951, was an even bigger hit, “I’m Waiting Just For You” (number 2 on the Rhythm and Blues and number 19 on the Pop charts), with John Carol. The same year she was signed by Federal Records (a King Records subsidiary) to sing with Millinder’s orchestra, one of the first artists to record for that label. Her first two Federal singles were the up-tempo jump blues tunes “Lies, Lies, Lies” and “Hard To Get Along” followed with the blues ballads “Cloudy Day Blues,” and “Too Long.” In 1953 she was transferred to the parent King label and scored the only hit under her own name, “Baby I’m Doin’ It” (number 8 on the Rhythm and Blues chart), an answer song to the ‘5’ Royales’ “Baby Don’t Do It”, which was an R&B chart topper. The differences between the two songs were so minimal that Bess Music, the publisher of “Baby Don’t Do It”, sued King for copyright infringement and the legal costs were subtracted from her royalties. She continued to tour and record with the Millinder band through 1954. In the summer of 1954, King did not renew her contract and she signed on with Capitol Records. Her second session for that label, in November 1954, yielded what is probably her best known song, “Fujiyama Mama,” which inexplicably failed to chart but it later became a rock-n-roll classic. From 1954 to 1955 she recorded a total of eleven songs for Capitol with little success and in 1956 she went back to Decca where she recorded her most rocking song “Rough Lover” in July 1957 but it also failed to chart. In 1961 she recorded her final album “Let It Roll” for the Tru-Sound label with the King Curtis Band, under her original name. After that, she left show business and disappeared into obscurity. She died of a heart attack in her Harlem apartment at the age of 71.
- November, 11, 1920
- Champaign, Illinois
- August, 10, 1992
- Harlem, New York City, New York
- Body dontated to medical science.