New Orleans was home to a number of groups as well as solo artists, from doo-wop vocal groups to more jazz-oriented instrumental bands. Shirley and Lee were one of the early duos to emerge from New Orleans. Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee both attended Joseph S. Clark High School, and as a part of a group from the school, had paid Cosimo Matassa to press a record for them. Shirley’s high-pitched voice was heard by Aladdin Records owner Eddie Messner, who sought her out to sign her to a recording and touring contract.
Shirley and Lee saw their biggest success in 1956 with “Let the Good Times Roll” (not to be mistaken with the Louis Jordan song from 1946 of the same name), and recorded and toured throughout the 1950s. Goodman and Lee would sing consecutively, with one responding to the questions or statements made by the other. In this way, many of their songs told stories and built off of one another, a characteristic shared by a number of songs from the time.
Shirley and Lee Billboard“I’m Gone” ad, from Galen Gart First Pressings: The History of Rhythm & Blues – Volume 2: 1952. Milford, N.H.: Big Nickel Publications, 1992.
Shirley and Lee Billboard“Let The Good Times Roll” ad, from Galen Gart First Pressings: The History of Rhythm & Blues – Volume 6: 1956. Milford, N.H.: Big Nickel Publications, 1991.