Saturday, March 1, 2014

Wham Bam

 Jo Ann Miller

JaMar Publishing Co. 6562 Patrick Dr. Dallas, Texas/ M.L. Griggs BMI
Jag 250


A pallid interpretation sure to please to the song-poems aficionados.

"Wham Bam" originally issued as 'Hot Damn',  was a very risqué record for the times, especially with a girl saying it, whose lyrics in part go :  A new stud / I happened to meet / He's a real sharp bone / He's real neat / Now should I act just like a lamb / Or should I say hot damn? // On the day that / He hit this town / All of the chicks / Began to gather around / Now did I act just like a lamb / Or did I say hot damn?  

The not sanitized version is available on "Great Rockin' Girls" (Collector Records (CD 4409)

Mary Lois Griggs, a former singer and guitarist from Griffith Switch, a Texas whistle stop near Alvarado, Texas, began writing lyrics in the early sixties.  Now a physical education teacher she recruited some local singers, arrangers and musicians and started her own publishing company and record label, Jag Records.  

Jag Records issued about ten singles and one album, all songs penned by M.L. Griggs.    Sharon Leibow And The Jag Singers, Jerry Hitt, Tony Harrison, B.J. Wright and Jo Ann Miller were the vocalists who delivered the words of the enterprising teacher..   Several of her songs were put in music by Billy Winston Baker whose name appears on the first Andy Starr rockabilly release on Lin Records (Dig Them Squeaky Shoes, Lin #1009, 1955)

Jo Ann Miller was raised in Arp, Texas (pop. 850).  A graduate of Texas State College for Women, she spent four years in college as a vocalist for the school orchestra. She also captured the much sought after, title of "Princess of the Red Bud Festival," one of the highest honors presented to the loveliest girl in the school.   In 1953, she was the featured singer with Blue Barron and his orchestra.

She was working on her master's degree in archeology at Columbia (New York) when Tommy Dorsey heard her sing in summer stock and hired her.   She recorded a full album for Audio Fidelity Records ("Unrestrained", AFPL 1864).   

She may be also the Jo Ann Miller who recorded for Tally with Bonnie Owens as The Kern County Sweethearts (1956) and for Scope Records ("Talk To Me" / A Brand New Man", but it's not confirmed.


  1. I just discover'd your blog some days ago and I enjoy your posts. Thx.

  2. Don't know about whether she recorded for the groups you listed after the main post. Jo Ann was my father's niece. She went on to sing with Dorothy Shay and together they owned a Summer stock theatre in Cooperstown. After it closed she moved to Granbury, Texas where she helped renovate & manage the little theatre in Granbury. Besides the theatre, she loved history, was a member of the DRT and was an avid golfer. She had some health issues and is no longer living.

  3. Jo Ann was my father's niece. I am not sure about what else she recorded, but she had a fantastic voice. She went on to sing/tour with Dorothy Shay and then, together they opened an old theater in Cooperstown, NY. After it closed, Jo Ann moved to Granbury, Texas where she helped to renovate the little theatre there. She was a partner and manager there for many years. She helped further new talent by hiring interns from the music/theatre program at North Texas in Denton. She loved history and was a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and in her spare time she loved to golf. She is no longer living.