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Paula Watson
Paula Watson.jpg
Background information
Birth namePauline Mazeppa Henry[1]
Born(1927-09-09)September 9, 1927
Mobile, Alabama, United States
DiedOctober 19, 2003(2003-10-19) (aged 76)
Malmö, Sweden
GenresRhythm and blues, jazz
Years activec.1948–1970s
LabelsSupreme, Decca

Paula Watson (née Pauline Mazeppa Henry; September 9, 1927 – October 19, 2003)[2] was an American jazz and R&B singer and pianist.[3]

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Watson was born in Mobile, Alabama.[2] After moving to California, she recorded for the Supreme label in Los Angeles, and her first single, "A Little Bird Told Me", written by jazz pianist Harvey Brooks and featuring guitarist Tiny Webb,[4] reached number 2 on the Billboard R&B chart (then called the "Race Records" chart), and number 6 on the pop chart.[5] The song was covered by Evelyn Knight for Decca Records, with a similar musical arrangement, and Supreme sued Decca for damages. In the meantime, Watson had a second R&B chart hit with "You Broke Your Promise", which reached number 13. However, Supreme lost their case against Decca,[6] and the company went out of business soon afterwards.[7][4]

She performed as a "rowdy vocalist...[and] vigorous pianist who could lay down a mean boogie-woogie blues".[4] In late 1949 she began recording for Decca in a style similar to Nellie Lutcher and Julia Lee, backed by saxophonist Jerry Jerome's orchestra and the vocal group Four Hits & A Miss. However, her more conservative records were not hits and she moved in 1953 to MGM Records, where her recordings were described as "significantly hipper" and featured saxophonist Sam "The Man" Taylor and bassist Milt Hinton.[4]

In the early 1960s, she left the US, and worked in cabaret in London, England, through the 1960s and early 1970s. By the 1990s, she was based in Hamburg, Germany. She died in Malmö, Sweden, in 2003, aged 76.[2]


  1. ^ "Pauline Mazeppa Henry [Paula Henry]". Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007. Provo, Utah: 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2021 → DOB: 9 September 1927 → POB: Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama → DOD: 19 October 2003 → POD: Sweden → Father: Felix Henry → Mother: Pearl Sibley → SSN: 420-26-5127 → November 1942: Name listed as Pauline Mazeppa Henry → Name listed as Paula Watson.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  2. ^ a b c Eagle, "Bob" [Robert]; LeBlanc, Eric S[tephen] (1946–2015) (2013). Blues – A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger Publishing. p. 319. Retrieved May 18, 2021 – via Google Books (co-author Robert Eagle is a lawyer in Park Orchards, a suburb of Melbourne)CS1 maint: postscript (link)  LCCN 2012-47437, ISBN 978-0-3133-4423-7, OCLC 862798104 (all editions).
  3. ^ Dorsey, Bobby (April 30, 1949). "Character–tures  ...  Paula Watson". New York Age. 63 (50) (Metropolitan ed.). Harlem. p. 6. Retrieved May 18, 2021 – via
  4. ^ a b c d Arwulf, Arwulf (pseudonym of Theodore Robert Grenier; born 1957) (2004). "Paula Watson, 1948–1953". AllMusic (album review ID: mw0000266373). TiVo Corporation. Retrieved November 7, 2016 CD album release date: October 19, 2004, by Chronological Classics 5104.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel C. (born 1939) (1973). Top Pop Singles 1940–1955. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. pp. 47 (Watson), 31 (Knight), 10 (Barker), 47 (Wayne). Retrieved May 18, 2021 – via Internet Archive. LCCN 89-656133, OCLC 65989072 (all editions).
  6. ^ Zak, Albin Joseph III (born 1953) (2010). "[Chapter] Five – Surface Noise". I Don't Sound Like Nobody: Remaking Music in 1950s America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. p. 143 (Chapter Five explains the legal precedent set by the lawsuit between Decca and Supreme over Paula Watson's and Evelyn Knight's recordings of "A Little Bird Told Me").CS1 maint: postscript (link) LCCN 2010-14120, ISBN 978-0-4721-1637-9, 0-4721-1637-1, ISBN 978-0-4720-2454-4, 0-4720-2454-X, OCLC 943428414, 1250063139, 940644509.
This page was last edited on 19 May 2021, at 03:24
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