Albennie Jones is another of the small handful of women to build the foundations of rock’n’roll with her song Hole In The Wall in 1949.
“Gonna rock and roll at the hole in the wall tonight… I’ve been holding my own for a long long while – gonna give it away while it’s still in style.”
Well, I’d heard about places like this, but I didn’t know they existed back in 1949. Albennie Jones, also known as Albinia Jones, was way ahead of her time and one of the few female prototype rock’n’rollers.
A Southern gal from Mississippi, she turned up in New York in 1932 with no singing experience beyond her local Baptist church, and quickly got a residency at the Elks Rendezvous Lounge in Harlem.
She was such a hit therethat they kept her on for nine months before she spread her wings to other nightspots like Club Harlem, Village Vanguard and Murrains Cafe.
One of her first recordings, as Albinia Jones in 1945, featured jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, sax man Don Byas and pianist Cliff Jackson.
She was promoted as the “New Queen of the Blues” and toured with Blanche Calloway and Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, as well as the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra.
After the war, she recorded three sessions for Decca Records backed by pianist Sammy Price’s group, including this one with its early use of the words “rock and roll” in its lyric.
In the early 1950s Jones fell over on stage, suffering an injury that forced her to use a crutch at club dates. Because of this, she retired from music shortly afterwards and eventually died of leukaemia in 1989, aged 74, at her home in the Bronx, NYC.