Lillian Briggs – Diddy Boppers – Jukebox Pearls

Bear Family Records has continued its long-running Jukebox Pearls series with another entry, highlighting the work of trombonist and singer Lillian Briggs. The album features 32 songs recorded between 1955 and 1961; Is it worth picking up?

The compilation works chronologically through Briggs’ career. I believe this was a good choice, as it charts her evolution through various labels and genres; From Big Band and Jazz to Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Pop. I must admit that before listening to this compilation, I was not familiar with the work of Lillian Briggs. She had her most successful period in the 1950s and early 60s where she made TV appearances, released a number of records and performed live. From the studio recordings included here, she had a big voice, occasionally shouty, which oozed personality. Singing fast-paced lyrics, reminiscent of Phil Harris, with clarity and accuracy was also a strength. Given the shift in genre over a short period of time, she was also very versatile.

The album begins with Lillian’s debut release, a version of Louis Jordan’s I Want You To Be My Baby. This was her biggest hit, reaching 18 on the Billboard 100. It is easy to see why it did so well. a lively swinging big band setting topped off with Lillian’s vocal dexterity. The first bunch have a similar production, genre and feel and are somewhat nostalgic. Most of the tracks across the album are uptempo numbers but she slows things down with tracks such as It Could’ve Been Me, I’ve Got Your Heart and her cover of Eddie, My Love.

A surprise here is the inclusion of two previously unreleased tracks by The Lillian Briggs Orchestra. With an artist’s material of this age, it is often assumed that everything has already been released or parts of it no longer exist. The two recordings feature Briggs on trombone and are big-band / Rhythm and Blues instrumentals of I Want You To Be My Baby and Delilah.

One of my favourites on this compilation is the infectious earworm title track Diddy Boppers. It is a Rock ‘n’ Roll gem which I’m surprised isn’t more known. Lillian nails the vocal, delivering an expressive performance that accentuates individual sounds at the start and end of specific words for maximum effect. Other personal highlights include That’s the Only Way to Live, Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop, I’ll Be Gone, Is There a Man in the House and Hooray for the Rock.

The album ends with a 1961 re-recording of I Want You To Be My Baby, this time re-arranged as a twist number.It was around the time of this recording that she featured in the 1961 Jerry Lewis movie The Ladies Man. She would also continue touring until the early 70s. While I would have liked to have heard recordings made later, ending the album here was an excellent choice.

Sound Quality

The sound quality on this compilation is excellent, with most sounding like they derive from the master tapes. As is the case with an album of this type, there are a few recordings with less-than-ideal sound profiles. This is barely noticeable, though, and does not take away any enjoyment. Its clear from some of the later recordings, that they would’ve sounded perfect through a jukebox.

A Little Something Extra…

Inside a nicely printed digipak is an attached 36-page booklet, featuring an extensive biography of Briggs by Bill Dahl. Also included is a discography plus rare photographs and illustrations. It helped to introduce the artist in thorough detail.


I think it is fair to say that I’m now a fan of Lillian Briggs. Bear Family Records have compiled an impressive album which brings together high quality recordings by this underrated artist. It serves as a decent introduction for those of us who didn’t know of her work and an easy one-stop location for established fans. Hearing the instrumental transformation across the tracks, while still maintaining her finesse, is an intriguing listen that will require multiple revisits. Each track runs for around 2 to 3 minutes each, meaning the 32 tracks fly by! If you’re looking to discover a vintage artist with an expressive vocal, this is the album for you. Diddy Boppers by Lillian Briggs is available from Bear Family Records.


  1. I Want You To Be My Baby
  2. Don’t Stay Away Too Long
  3. It Could’ve Been Me
  4. Can’t Stop
  5. Rock ‘n’ Roll-y Poly Santa Claus
  6. Lillian Briggs Orchestra – I Want You To Be My Baby (Instrumental)
  7. Lillian Briggs Orchestra – Delilah (Instrumental)
  8. Follow The Leader
  9. That’s The Only Way To Live
  10. Eddie, My Love
  11. The Teens in Jeans From New Orleans
  12. The Gypsy Goofed
  13. I’ll Be Gone
  14. Mean Words
  15. Sugar Blues
  16. Boogie Blues
  17. I
  18. She Sells Seashells
  19. Come Here
  20. Will We Meet Again
  21. Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop
  22. I’ve Got Your Heart
  23. Rag Mop
  24. Is There A Man In The House?
  25. Blues In The Night
  26. Diddy Boppers
  27. Hooray For The Rock
  28. Not A Soul (Blanket Roll Blues)
  29. Be Mine
  30. I Care For You
  31. I’m Burning For You
  32. I Want You To Be My Baby

Diddy Boppers - Lillian Briggs




Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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