Music

Jackie Shane, A Black Transgender Soul Singer From The ’60s, Is Finally Getting Her Due

Soul singers of the 1960s carry a large canon in popular music. In a decade where progressive thoughts often clashed with conservative views, there was a heralded soul singer from Toronto who was a trailblazer in her own way. Jackie Shane, an American-based singer recognized by genre aficionados as one of the more gracious singers of her era and a pioneer for transgender rights. Today, Numero Group announced they will be releasing Any Other Way, the first artist-approved collection of her music on October 20th. The album will consist of all six of her 45s and also every highlight from her 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern, including three unreleased tracks.

When she covered “Money” for a 1963 album titled Jackie Shane Live!, she roared, “Some of those people who point and laugh at me, I don’t mind them. Cause I still laugh my way to the bank. This is the closest to Jesus Christ some of you will ever get! I got so much to work with here — I’m a little piece of leather but well put together!”

Shane never shied away from her sexuality or identity when she moved to Toronto, proudly performing in makeup, jewelry and more onstage and off. She was a constant presence of femininity, class and self-dignity. To be a Black transgendered woman in the 1960s carries its own amount of weight. To do so while Canada still recognized the rights of LBGQT individuals as criminal is a wholly more powerful element.

“There are many layers to Queen Shane’s work that resonate today for people who are struggling and need some reprieve,” Canadian R&B singer Jully Black told The Global And Mail earlier this year. “There’s a layer of being a black singer and then there is the idea of gender identity. These are heavy weights for anyone to bear, so regeneration is necessary. If she does end up coming back, she has an opportunity to lead a whole new generation because they have a social conscience and they are being fed music that takes a ‘just add water and stir’ approach. Jackie is the opposite of that and depending on what she says, if she comes back, it could be incredible on a social level. She could be the Betty White of soul music.”

Though she’s recused herself from the spotlight for over four decades now, Shane’s name frequently comes up in regards to the era’s best singers. Any Other Way marks her first recordings since 1971 and in the liner notes for the album, she tells in full detail her story for the very first time. See the tracklist to Any Other Way below.

Any Other Way Tracklist:
1. “Sticks And Stones”
2. “Any Other Way”
3. “In My Tenement”
4. “Comin’ Down”
5. “Money (That’s What I Want)”
6. “I’ve Really Got The Blues”
7. “Send Me Some Lovin’”
8. “Walking The Dog”
9. “You Are My Sunshine”
10. “Stand Up Straight And Tall”
11. “New Way Of Love”
12. “Cruel Cruel World”
13. “Intro (Live)”
14. “High Heel Sneakers (Live)”
15. “Barefootin’ (Live)”
16. “Knock On Wood (Live)”
17. “Money (That’s What I Want) (Live)”
18. “Raindrops (Live)”
19. “You’re The One (That I Need) (Live)”
20. “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) (Live)”
21. “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag (Live)”
22. “Any Other Way (Live)”
23. “You Are My Sunshine (Live)”
24. “I Don’t Want To Cry (Live)”
25. “Shotgun (Live)”

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