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Sweethearts of Rhythm: 1940s

Sweethearts of Rhythm: 1940s

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the pioneering all-girl jazz-swing group, with bandleader Anna Mae Winburn in the 1940s. Guitarist Carline Ray, who died in New York earlier this month at age 88, is third from left. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Carline Ray was

a bassist—and a good one.

Mellow Jive

The Chicago Defender, October 14, 1939.

‘Sweethearts of Rhythm’ Rates Tops With Dancers

by Ethel Delaney

Sixteen girls, best known in musical circles as the “International Sweethearts of Rhythm” who hail from Piney Woods, Miss., right in the heart of the Delta, invaded Chicago Saturday night and gave jitterbugs, swing fans and hep cats something to talk about.

They beat out a bit of mellow jive, sang the latest song hits, then started a swing jam session that caused the dance lovers to stop in their tracks and listen to the hot rhythm that blared out from the instruments played by these Mississippi girls. …

Nat'l Museum of American History program w/them

One of the first

Clarinetist Benny Goodman was the first white bandleader to openly integrate his band in 1936. He played with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and guitarist Charlie Christian, and later gave vocalist Billie Holiday her first exposure on stage.

The only book I ever read about them...

Marilyn Nelson published The Sweethearts of Rhythm in 2009; the only book I'd ever seen about them. They were racially diverse and had a helluva time. I really think they should be included at least as a little P.S. in school history books.

About the band

I remember reading a really good feature story on this band in Oxford American's annual southern music issue a couple years ago. They really were a racially diverse band. Here's the link. Read it here.

The girl playing the piano!


Carline Ray

Just read her obit in the New York Times. A lady to be admired. Now I wonder about all the other women in the picture. Thanks to tcrosse for the Jump, Children! video. That was music to my ears. :)

Jump, Children !


It looks like this band was integrated before some of the mainstream, all-boy bands were.

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