Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt's life is well-documented in no fewer than three autobiographies (can a fourth be long in coming?). Suffice it to say that Orson Welles' famous appellation of "the most exciting woman in the world" was apt when applied and may be yet defensible. Far from just "Catwoman" with a singing past, Eartha created a tempest on stage, in movies, on records, in politics, and even on television. As with Josephine Premice, she got her start with the Katherine Dunham dance ensemble, where she worked with James Dean.

Her recording career began with a string of hits for Victor. Most of the backing is standard orchestral mush, but it serves to set off her unique voice in its young prime. From RCA she joined David Kapp's label, the genesis of which followed his termination from Victor as a consequence of having signed an unlikely new artist...Eartha, of course. As revenge, they re-recorded her RCA hits with a slighty hipper backing. The rest of her recording career finds her in different countries, labels, settings, and times. Material ranges from the wry cocktail entertainment of her live act, to exotic souvenirs from her travels and facility with a great number of languages, to a "soul sister" album (from about the time she pissed off President & Ladybird Johnson and became blacklisted for years).

Buying: Eartha Kitt is as fantastic as a self-described "sophisticated cotton picker" could be, and almost all her records are well worthwhile. So too are her three autobiographies.

Photo: with Katherine Dunham group, from Thursday's Child (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce; NY; 1956)

Eartha Kitt 10" LPs

8RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt; RCA Victor LPM-3062; 1954 (2-disc gatefold EP w/Henri René; I Wanna Be Evil, C'est Si Bon, Angelitos Negros, Avril Au Portugale, Uska Dara, African Lullaby, Mountain High-Valley Low, Lilac Wine)
7That Bad Eartha; RCA Victor LPM-3187; 1954 (w/Henri René)

Eartha Kitt 12" LPs

6Various: Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952--Original Cast; RCA Victor LOC-1008; 1953 ("Monotonous" & 2 others; reissued also as Red Seal CBM1-2206)
6Mrs. Patterson--Original Cast; RCA Victor LOC-1017; 1954 (Leonard Sillman's play written for Eartha Kitt)
7Down to Eartha; RCA Victor LPM-1109; 1955 (w/Henri René)
7That Bad Eartha; RCA Victor LPM-1183; 1956 (w/Henri René; reissues "RCA Presents" 10" w/4 from "That Bad Eartha" 10")
8Thursday's Child; RCA Victor LPM-1300; 1956 (w/Henri René)
6St. Louis Blues; RCA Victor LSP-1661; 1958 (w/Shorty Rogers & his Giants)
7Sings in Spanish; Decca DL-74635 (w/Ramon Marquez)
8The Fabulous Eartha Kitt; Kapp KS-3046 (w/Maurice Levine)
7Eartha Kitt Revisited; Kapp KS-3192 (w/Maurice Levine)
7Bad But Beautiful; MGM SE-4009 (w/Bill Loose & coarr. Billy May)
5The Romantic Eartha; EMI CSD-1461 (U.K. Victor); 1962 (w/Tony Osborne)
7Love for Sale; EMI SCX-3563 (U.K. Columbia); 1965 (w/Tony Osborne)
5Peter Thomas: Uncle Tom's Cabin ST; Philips PHS-600-272 (w/Juliette Greco, Eartha Kitt, George Goodman; Kitt sings "Yearning for the Old Old Mississippi")
6Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa; Caedmon TC-1267 (spoken)
7Eartha Kitt in Person at the Plaza; GNP Crescendo GNPS-2008; (w/David Saxon)
7Sentimental Eartha; Spark SLP-105 1970 (U.K.; w/Jimmie Haskell; reissued as Not So Old-Fashioned; EMI/Music for Pleasure MFP-50075)
8Songs; RCA International NL-89477-2; 1976 (2-LP compilation)
8Eartha Kitt: At her Very Best; RCA International NL-89376; 1982 (compilation)
8The Best of Eartha Kitt; MCA MCL-1702; 1982 (compilation)
6Live in London; BMG/Ariola LP-303825; 1990/1989 (2-LP)

Partly Eartha Kitt LPs

8Dan Armstrong/Various: The Sound of Dissent; Mercury SR-61203 (spoken w/music; original music & famous speakers)

45s & EPs

8Eartha Kitt Goes Latin EP; Seeco EP-11 (Tierra va Tembla, Guajira Guantanamera, Coaiente, Yambu)
8C'est Si Bon/Monotonous; RCA Victor EPA-557
7Somebody Bad Stole de Wedding Bell; RCA Victor EPA-570; 1954 (w/Henri René; title song calypso)
8Uska Dara--A Turkish Tale/Two Lovers; RCA Victor 47-5284 (w/Henri René/Hugo Winterhalter)
7I Want to Be Evil/Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore; RCA Victor 47-5442; 1954 (w/Henri René/Hugo Winterhalter)
7Santa Baby/Under the Bridges of Paris; RCA Victor 47-5502 (w/Henri René)
7Easy Does It/Mink Shmink; RCA Victor 47-5756 (w/Henri René)
7Hey Jacques/This Year's Santa Baby; RCA Victor 47-5914 (w/Henri René)
6Fredy/Sweet & Gentle; RCA Victor 47-6138; 1958 (w/Perez Prado)
Mambo de Paree/Do You Remember; RCA Victor 47-6197
7Sho-Jo-Ji (The Hungry Raccoon)/Nobody Taught Me; RCA Victor 47-6245 (w/Joe Reisman)
9Put More Wood on the Fire/I'm a Funny Dame; RCA Victor 47-6267 (A-side calypso w/bongos)
7Nothin' for Christmas/Je Cherche un Homme; RCA Victor 47-6319
7Sho-jo-ji/Mambo de Paris (Mambo de Paree); RCA Victor Japan ES-5031 (w/Joe Reisman/Henri René)
7Honolulu Rock & Roll/There is No Cure for L'Amour; RCA Victor 47-6521 (w/Henri René)
7Put More Wood on the Fire/I'm a Funny Dame/Paper Kisses/Do the Polka Rock EP; RCA Victor 47-6722 (promo EP w/Bill Gale, featuring Judy Johnson & the Nippers, Bill Harrington)
7Put More Wood on the Fire/I'm a Funny Dame; RCA Victor 47-6727 (A-side calypso; B-side from "Happy Hunting")
8A Woman Wouldn't Be a Woman/Toujour Gai; RCA Victor 47-6928 (from "Shinbone Alley" w/Maurice Levine)
6Yomme, Yomme/Take My Love, Take My Love; RCA Victor 47-7013 (w/Hugo Winterhalter)
7If I Can't Take it With Me/Proceed with Caution; RCA Victor 47-7118 (w/Henri René/Hugo Winterhalter)
Eartha Kitt/Johnson/Harring: I'm a Funny Dame/?/?/? EP; RCA Victor 28

Eartha Kitt Autobiographies

8Thursday's Child; Duell, Sloan, & Pearce, NYC; 1956
7Alone with Me; Henry Regnery, Chicago; 1976
7I'm Still Here--Confessions of a Sex Kitten; Barricade, NYC; 1989

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