One of the great female singers of the fifties and the sixties, Della Reese is remembered more for her role in TV series Touched By An Angel than she is for her powerful emotional singing. She was discovered by Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson and made her recording debut in 1955. Into the sixties she explored Jazz and Blues but as shown in this commanding Canadian live TV appearance – the girl could sing.
Her biggest success was Don’t You Know released in 1959. It was a song from the movie A Bronx Tale based on a Puccini melody, it made it to No.2 on the US charts. She could move a tank with the power in her voice, and what a voice she had, an expressive, growling, eat you for breakfast voice, just wonderful.
And on a sadder not here’s a paragraph that someone wrote on You Tube about her early career:
“I think there are quite a few out there that are unaware that Miss Reese was a successful singer, way before her televison success. Ed Sullivan loved this woman. Back in the day when black people were not allowed to dine in a showroom, and after a hotel had taken forever to deliver her dinner to her dressing room, Ed walked Miss Reese through the dinning room and sat her down and ordered her dinner, and Miss Reese ate in the showroom!! And Ed dared anyone to say a word. God bless Ed Sullivan.” – Reese became an ordained minister in 2010.
Don’t You Know appeared as a single in 1959 and on The Classic Della album released in 1962.
From Della Reese Live 1966 – There’ll Never Be Another You/But Beautiful:
Bobby Bryant – Trumpet, Bill Doggett – Organ, Gerald Wiggins – Piano, Ray Brown Bass, Herb Ellis – Guitar, Shelly Manne – Drums