Ethel Finnie
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Ethel Finnie
Ethel Finnie
Ethel V. Finnie
Born January 7, 1898
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died May 1, 1981(1981-05-01) (aged 83)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres Classic female blues
Instruments Vocals
Labels Edison, Ajax, Emerson
Porter Grainger

Ethel V. Finnie (January 7, 1898 - May 1, 1981)[1] was an American classic female blues singer.[2] Her most notable recording is "You're Gonna Wake Up Some Morning, but Your Papa Will Be Gone". Information about her life outside music is sketchy.[3]


Finnie was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the second child and only daughter of Noble Armond Finnie, a butler, and Mary "Mamie" Anderson Finnie, a housewife.[4] She had an older brother, Noble Finnie, Jr.[5]

Finnie was a graduate of New Orleans University (later incorporated into Dillard University)[6][7] and was employed as a schoolteacher at the McDonogh School No. 6.[8]

Finnie married the pianist and composer Porter Grainger on September 25, 1923, in Stamford, Connecticut,[9] with whom she performed throughout the northeastern United States, appearing at various venues and performing on radio programs, as documented in the pages of the African-American press of the period. It seems that after the birth of their daughter, Portia Lee Grainger, Finnie curtailed her activities and remained in New Orleans, close to her family, residing at 4021 Dryades Street.[10] Eventually Porter and Finnie divorced.

She subsequently married William Turner and went into business in New Orleans as a hairdresser[11] and later as the owner of a beauty shop, restaurant and grocery.[12] She was involved in the sorority Iota Phi Lambda, serving as its southwestern regional director of during the 1950s.[13] She also served as the treasurer of the Fourth Region of the National Council of Negro Women in the 1960s.[14]

Finnie died in New Orleans on May 1, 1981, aged 83.[15]


Finnie's short recording career was partly produced by Joe Davis. Some of her material was written by her first husband, Porter Grainger.[3] She recorded eight songs in 1923 and 1924, including "You're Gonna Wake Up Some Morning, but Your Papa Will Be Gone".[16] It was released by Edison as part of the Edison Diamond Discs series in 1924 and was also issued on Edison's Amberol cylinder.[3]

She also recorded for Ajax and Emerson during this short time span. Another song she recorded, "Mistreatin' Daddy Blues", was initially not released, which may have prevented her gaining a wider audience. Other little-known blues singers, including Gladys Bryant, Dolly Ross, and Ada Brown, vied with Finnie for Grainger's material.[3]

All her recorded work was eventually released by Document Records.[3]

Selected discography

Year A-side
Accompaniment Record label
1923 "I Don't Love Nobody (So I Don't Have No Blues)"
(Clara Smith)
"Don't You Quit Me Daddy"
(Porter Grainger)
Porter Grainger Ajax Records
1924 "He Wasn't Born in Araby, but He's a Sheikin' Fool"
(Andy Razaf / Edgar Dowell)
"Heart Breakin' Joe"
Fletcher Henderson Emerson Records
1924 "Don't Know and Don't Care Blues"
(Porter Grainger)
"Hula Blues"
(Porter Grainger)
Porter Grainger Ajax Records
1924 "You're Gonna Wake Up Some Morning, but Your Papa Will Be Gone"
Porter Grainger Edison Records


See also


  1. ^ U.S. Social Security Death Index 1933-2014.
  2. ^ Harrison, Daphne Duval (1990). Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s. New Brunswick and London: Rutgers. p. 247. ISBN 0-8135-1280-8. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Chadbourne, Eugene. "Ethel Finnie : Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014. 
  4. ^ New Orleans, Louisiana Birth Records Index, 1790-1899 114:242. Baton Rouge: State of Louisiana, Secretary of State, Division of Archives, Records Management, and History.
  5. ^ 1900 Federal Census for City of Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi (Harrison County Enumeration District 30, Sheet 2, Lines 70-73).
  6. ^ "Y.M.C.A. News". Chicago Defender. August 27, 1921. p. 8.
  7. ^ "Plan Soiree at Dillard". Pittsburgh Courier. December 5, 1953. p. 9.
  8. ^ Soards' New Orleans City Directory for 1918... New Orleans: Soards' Directory Co., 1918. p. 447.
  9. ^ "Porter Granger [sic] Marries." Chicago Defender, September 29, 1923. p. 10.
  10. ^ 1940 Federal Census 12th Ward of City of New Orleans, Orleans Parish Enumeration District 36-337, Sheet 8-A, Lines 33-37.
  11. ^ Polk's 1945 New Orleans (Orleans Parish, La.) Directory for 1945-46... New Orleans: R. L. Polk, 1945. p. 1154.
  12. ^ Johnson, Toki Schalk (1951). "A Last Look at New Orleans, the City of Charm". Pittsburgh Courier. December 29, 1951. p. 10.
  13. ^ "Pledgee". Pittsburgh Courier. August 1, 1953. p. 11.
  14. ^ Ringgold, M. N. (1960). "Baton Rouge". Chicago Defender. May 21, 1960. p. 22.
  15. ^ U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 (on-line database). Provo, Utah: Operations, 2011. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
  16. ^ a b Gibbs, Craig Martin (2013). Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography. McFarland & Company. pp. 181, 205, 222. ISBN 978-0-7864-7238-3. 
  17. ^ "Ethel Finnie: Songs". Retrieved 2014. 
  18. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Porter Grainger, 1923-1929: Review". Retrieved 2014. 

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