Dinah Washington

1 11 2009


Dinah Washington (August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963)

Smoke filled her words. Fog filled rooms. Gentlemen prayed. Barbie dolls on their knees. The Dutch Princess Wilhelmina published. “Lonely, but not alone”. And Dinah could feel that hand. Flesh on her bones.

Thump thump goes the base line. The piano keys rattling. The beautiful negro singer. Opens her mouth. A butterfly on the end of a pin. Is it pain she feels? Or is it part of the show? Automobiles waited at the curb. Filling the air with song. And the taxis moved. Randomly through the avenues. Carbon monoxide is such a sweet drink. In the late afternoon.

Her voice was light. Drifted off. Into the damp evening air. Bounced off the sun. Dresses fell below bony knees. Promises were made. Kisses were laid. She placed the microphone. Between her parting lips.

Ladies and gentleman, I am an evil gal. I have been married 8 times. Who would have thought there were so many Sundays?

The far side of the moon was seen. For the first time. It was a great disappointment. Dinah was doing gigs in clubs. Detroit to Montreal. Playing piano in Sallie Martin’s gospel choir. Nikita Khrushchev was denied access. To Disneyland. Even when he offered to pay twice.

Dinah loved to wear mink. In the pouring rain. Some said that mink was her real skin. Sang from the heart. Sang from the gutter. A couple of 45-caliber pistols in her purse. And worse.

A bottle of sleeping pills. Lay sleeping at her side. “Sleeping Beauty” released. Some of the pills had escaped. Into Dinah’s empty stomach. Dr Leakey discovered the oldest human skull. 600,000 years old. Dinah was only 39. And what would Dinah have said? To the audience. Prisoners to her next breath?

So many evenings I wanted to die, but this wasn’t one of them.

What A Difference A Day Makes

2 07 2008

Dinah Washington. You can’t believe how beautiful this woman is until you see her perform. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvRiiKOEAlw She is one of those women that men are frightened of. There is too much person there. She is sexy, talented, beautiful, intelligent, elegant and sassy. Photographs do not do her service. You have to see those lips… hips… eyes moving. I started to include these little pieces in on the stories both because I think someone like Maynard would have been well aware of D.W. and because the songs that these singers sang dictated both the rhythm of many of the stories as well as the images.


What A Difference A Day Makes

July 30, 2008 by Maynard G. Krebs

Listen to that smoky voice in those fog filled rooms. The piano rattling on behind. Like an automobile yearning to be off. Thump thump of the base line. That heavy fatalistic base. Everyone knew what was coming. She knew what she was. An evil gal. Who liked to play. Married 8 times. I didn’t know that there were that many Sundays. She was doing gigs in clubs as Dinah Washington while singing and playing piano in Sallie Martin’s gospel choir as Ruth Jones. She never knew where she was at. She wore mink in all kinds of weather. She loved being as smooth on the outside as the in. Sang in the choir. Sang from the gutter. Carried two .45-caliber pistols. You never know when someone might be cheating. Died from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. On an empty stomach. She was trying to shed some pounds. They called her the Queen.