DJ Pick of the Week: Jackie Shane, 'Any Other Way'


Jackie Shane
Jackie Shane (Courtesy of Numero Group)

Jackie Shane sings with a voice that has seen the world, judged it, found it lacking, but will humor it this one last time. She somehow conveys sparkling sassiness, warm no-nonsense, and world wariness in a single note.

A singer that had the adjective "fabulous" before her name in bold letters on any advertisement for her shows, but was referred to as a man in drag in the glowing reviews during her electric performances in the 1960s. From a recent piece on Shane from the New York Times, "Though she said she self-identified as a woman in a man's body by the time she was 13, Ms. Shane occasionally described herself to peers as gay -- several decades before the movement for transgender rights altered the discourse around gender and sexuality. Throughout her career, she was referred to publicly as a man." Her strong sense of self helped her deal with adversity growing up in 1940s Nashville, Tennessee as black and transgender.

Her preference for sparkling stage outfits, makeup and fast-paced songs garnered her fans who would show up at her shows dressed just like her. She worked with Little Richard; and shared a stage with Etta James, Jackie Wilson, and other R&B icons of the time. But, she never recorded a studio album.

In 1971, she disappeared entirely having turned down record labels and tours. Fans and soul music aficionados speculated as to where she had gone - creating rumors of dramatic deaths and conspiracy theories.

This year, Numero Group released a box set that allowing her to tell her story in the liner notes, along with reissues of her music.


Numero Group - Official Site

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  • Jackie Shane, 'No Other Way'
    Jackie Shane, 'No Other Way' (Courtesy of Numero Group)

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