Leigh 'Little Queenie' Harris was one of New Orleans' boldest, most arresting singers since her days fronting Little Queenie & the Percolators in the mid 70's and 80's.
Inducted into Louisiana's Music Hall of Fame in 2019, she was a true New Orleans legend, a dynamic performer, able to take any song and make it her own. She commanded the stage, from small venues to huge festivals worldwide. A gifted songwriter, she belted out tunes in a style that only can be called "New Orleans" – a little gospel, a lot of soul, a dollop of second line funk, and a heaping helping of jazz, her talents unfolding in layers as she nurtured her interpretive gifts for jazz, blues, gospel, standards and her own songs.
She began with John Moonie's Back Door Blues Review, then Monday night duos at Tipitina’s, with John Magnie on piano. The two hit it off instantly, both musically and as songwriters. They hatched a plan to form a group, and that begat her most well-known band, Little Queenie & the Percolators. Leigh performed at packed clubs and concerts and became a feature of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival from the day of its inception. She worked with her New Orleans contemporaries like Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, James Booker, The Meters, and Professor Longhair She later went on to perform with such wildly diverse acts as B.B. King, Elvis Costello, Sun Ra, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Guess Who, Ellis, Wynton, Branford, Delfayeo and Jason Marsalis, Odetta, The Gospel Soul Children, CC Adcock, The Soul Rebels Brass Band, Harry Connick Jr., The Subdudes, Malavoir, The Neville Brothers, The Pfister Sisters, Astral Project, Pete Seeger, Asleep at the Wheel, Michael Wolff's Impure Thoughts, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Roomful of Blues, Taj Mahal, Li'l Band o'Gold, NRBQ, The Fleshtones, Delbert McClinton, Bryan Ferry, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Buckwheat Zydeco. She formed brilliant groups around her style-defying voice and imagination, notable among them: Mixed Knots, Roy G Biv, and The Ofay Soul Choir (later known as Little Queenie's Wahini Dakinis).
Her signature song My Darlin' New Orleans was originally recorded with Little Queenie and the Percolators. When Ron Cuccia of the groundbreaking JazzPoetry Group (of which Leigh was an integral part) added the introductory "Streets" poem, the composition transformed into the song that will forever be hers and hers only.
In 2000 she was named Female Performer of the Year by Gambit Entertainment Weekly and is recognized as an important part of New Orleans' music history by the New Orleans Jazz museum. In addition, the City of New Orleans has honored Leigh by proclaiming her birthday, July 27, as Little Queenie Day.
He Knows His Way Around
Everytime is the First Time
Bourbon St. Cesspool
I Was Just Practicing
Ten Carat Blues
I'll Keep Dreaming
Telephone Sleeping in My Bed
I Gotta Song I Gotta Sing
Can't Get Ridoma Smile
Let The Tears Roll Down
Leigh's full bio, collaborations, discography, and filmography are available on Wikipedia.
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