Lil Green - “Why Don’t You Do Right” (1941).
Herzhaft’s Encyclopedia of the Blues + YouTube is a fine way to lose a day.
This wonderful singer who was famous for a short time in the early forties is today unjustly forgotten. Although her fame was short, it was nonetheless important. Born in Mississippi, Lil Green moved with her parents to Chicago in 1929. She began her career at a young age, singing in Chicago nightclubs. Her soprano voice lacked some power; however, being acidic, insinuating, and mischevious, it was extremely erotic, probably one of the most sensuous female voices in blues history, and there were many such voices! This, intensified by her extremely attractive figure, brought her attention, and she recorded for producer Lester Melrose when she was only eighteen years old. Between 1939 and 1944 she recorded for Bluebird a whole series of records that were almost all commercially successful, making her a favorite of the black public of that time: “My Mellow Man,” “What’s the Matter with Love?,” and “Romance in the Dark” showed her accompanied by Big Bill Broonzy at his best. Another special piece, in a minor key, “Why Don’t You Do Right?,” written by Joe McCoy, was incredibly sensuous. A masterpiece that became a classic, it was covered by a great number of male and female singers, such as Peggy Lee, who made it her first success. — Encyclopedia of the Blues by Gerard Herzhaft