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Morgana King

None of the more than 30 albums recorded by singer Morgana King since the mid-'50s have been embraced by the size of the audience that bought tickets to see the first two chapters of The Godfather film trilogy, in which King acted in the role of Mama Corleone. But it would be wrong to assume she has had more impact as an actress than as a vocalist. Her acting roles, few and far between, are chosen with care, but do not have the resonance of some of her finest recordings. Millions saw her onscreen in The Godfather films, but her performance was certainly overshadowed by performers such as Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, not to mention the famous turn by Marlon Brando as her husband. Another role of King's was in the 1997 film A Brooklyn State of Mind; she has also appeared in several television productions.

It is possible that there are actors and actresses who have named Morgana King as a great inspiration. Yet, the results of a simple Internet search under her name only yielded dozens of quotes from vocalists and other musicians about the great influence of her recordings and singing style, not her work before the camera. It might not be a surprise when a young female singer gushes about King's albums, but these fans also include deeper thinkers such as classical bass virtuoso Gary Karr. References to her music also show up regularly in fiction as a kind of mood-setting device, such as: "It was a beautiful day in Malibu. He got up, made a coffee and put on a Morgana King record."

Some record collectors might be surprised to realize that a complete set of King sides might eliminate any elbow room for, say, the discography of one of the prolific blues guitarists with this regal surname. Morgana King sides can be divided into several periods. It took her almost eight years to peak at whatever commercial success she was going to have with the 1964 A Taste of Honey album, thus ending the early years. She then was absorbed into the Atlantic and Reprise corporation and an exemplary series of releases by singers such as Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Lavern Baker, and Ray Charles. The label's greatest producers stared the oncoming rock & roll in the eye, never forgetting their basic R&B orientation. Within a few years, a sub-category developed, seen through paisley glasses. The material became more philosophical, the increasing intellectual depth not surprisingly accompanied by the audience stampeding in the opposite direction. This might make sense, though; while 1965's The Winter of My Discontent is a masterpiece, 1968's Gemini Changes is laughably pretentious.

By the early '70s she was anxious to get into films, the music business pushing away any and all veteran talent. Later in the decade she launched the mature period of her career, though, once again recording as more of a jazz-flavored artist for Muse, a label which in itself indicates a disinterest in pop culture. The label was loyal to her, regularly recording her through the following decade. This material was reissued in the late '90s by the 32 Jazz label, whose honcho, Joel Dorn, also presided over the reissue of her Reprise sides. If a special sort of bittersweet feeling pervades her later performances, perhaps it has something to do with this return to her jazz singing roots. Her father had been a performer of folk and popular music on voice and guitar, and she had begun singing in nightclubs such as Basin Street in New York City when she was in her mid-twenties.

Only a few years earlier, she had been immersed in classical studies at the Metropolitan School of Music. Basin Street may have been in the same city, but it must have seemed like a completely different musical world. The formal training undoubtedly filled in aspects of her musical walk where some of her peers might have had to limp. For this reason alone, some listeners find her efforts the most swinging of the '60s generation of pop singers. It meant much critical acclaim during her career, if not great commercial success. At many stages, King seems to have been making other plans. For the 1960 Encyclopedia of Jazz by Leonard Feather, she lists this ambition: "To become a dramatic actress." ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi
full bio

Comments

"It's A Quiet Thing"The Voice smoove-as-si l k
Stone-Cold Super-Badd Super-Star Soul-Sissta
LOVE'S Disciple*978 * ~ 6 m 1 4 y ~
jferguson34
lump1953 a taste of honey my all time favorite
I saw Morgana perform years ago at the Merry Go Round lounge at the Copley Plaza hotel in Boston
She was beautiful... a n d complete with a huge red boa. Will never forget her.
no one does lazy afternoon like Morgana.
www.brgr.com
Cbbvbh
Morgana's Taste of Honey was my favorite, I thought it was the sexiest of her songs. I have a number of her LPs that I plan to transfer to MP3s.
Morganna King - One of my all-time favorite female vocalist! Her rendition of It' A Lazy Afternoon is a timeless favorite of mine. It's what I think of, when I hear her name or hear her sing. She left the music scene all too soon. I have several old LP's of her. I would love to know where I can purchase CD's of the LP's I have.
carmencita79 4 3
What a voice, the entire New Beginnings album was wonderful. I think the song was Didn't we but not sure of that. I wore it out.
wolftickets2 0 1 1
I love Morgana King. What is she doing now.
hitekjon
her recording of corcavado is chiling i love her
jajj4
Morgana King doesn't get the credit she deserves, for her music. My favorite song is "You are the the sunshine of my life", from her album New Beginnings. Would please add the song to your library.
A superb artist that didn't get her prop's.For those who never heard of her,have a listen a different kind of voice.And most underated.
I've loved her since I first heard "It's a quiet thing" back in 1967. She sang at a small local (L.A.) night spot in the 90's and I missed her. I was heart broken : (
serite409
She had the best rendition of "Lazy Afternoon" I've ever heard. I listened to her contstantly back in the late 60's. I kept waiting for her to sing in the GF, but guess that movie wasn't about her. Shoot!
Despite her Vocal accomplismen t s . . . . . I f i were to label her anything at all( other than miracules ) I would say she is one of the most underrated musicians of all time.
Between 1988 and 1992 I was a jazz disc jockey at WPBX, the fm station of Southampton College, then a part of LIU in Southampton, NY. While doing my show, I would receive a call on an on going basis from Morgana asking for one of her sonds to be played on air. I always got a kick out of this. Morgana lived in Montauk Point at that time and did some concerts to help raise money for the stations upgrade in power.
mebnic
Morgana King is the artist that Minnie Ripperton or Mariya Carey could have prayed to be. Perfection with this angelic voice tempting me to follow her every note, her every mood, her every recording. My only sadness is how have we let this incredible magnificent talent slip from our finger tips. Recording companies should have paved the path for her, and groveled at her feet while filling her bank account with dollars. This voice is a treasure lost. If only she were black....the y would have
Most of you will recognize the face of Mama Corleone, the matriarch who quietly ruled the roost in the first two movies of the Godfather Series. But this woman had touched many of us for years before those movies came out, and as a singer she reigns supreme. With an amazing range, when she sings you cannot help but be transported. Truly one of the great female vocalists. I am delighted to find her included. Pandora has my support.
true_love
When I was a lot youger I found an album by this artist and I was so moved by
her range and intensity when she sang. From her heart and soul was all I could relate to when discribing her to others. I have albums mentioned above and another CD. I wore out the records I am sure. Thanks for having her in your list of artist I have enjoyed and would like to add her to my range for listening selections.

Trudy Leija

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