There's a terrific BBC documentary of Dinah Washington called Evil Gal Blues making the rounds in the U.K. From what I can tell, it was released in August 2007 and aired on TV as recently as last month in Scotland. I checked with Jazz on Film and discovered that the 60-minute documentary was directed by Jill Nicholls (whose other works include The Allen Toussaint Touch and Tammy Wynette: 'Til I Can Make It on My Own).
I don't know about you, but I find it terribly frustrating that brilliant documentaries about critical American jazz artists are roaming the planet everywhere but here. It's tragic that they're not available at Netflix or at iTunes as a downloadable podcast. Oh, you'll find plenty of episodes of The Munsters at iTunes but no Evil Gal Blues.
How do I know about Evil Gal Blues? I stumbled across four parts of it at YouTube last week. I've posted Part 1 below (there are four parts total). You'll have to click on each part to continue with the series. Unfortunately, Part 4 doesn't complete the documentary and cuts off after about nine minutes and will leave you hanging. (I want to apologize in advance, since you're going to be as crestfallen as I was when the clip ended.) If I hear any more about the status of this documentaryâeither from readers in Britain or the director—I'll let you know.
The high point for me comes 8 minutes and 12 seconds into Part 4. There you'll see a terrific clip of Dinah singing Make Someone Happy at a club in 1963 with a murmuring Hammond B3 organ behind her. It was recorded months before her death. The Queen, right up till the end.
For now, enjoy what we have (when Part 1 is over, roll your cursor over the little images that appear until you come to Part 2)...