Not only did composer/bandleader Jesse Stone assemble a male group, The Cues, to be his all-purpose voices in the studio (see our previous collection), he groomed a female trio to assume a similar role.
There were three Cookies: fiery Margie Hendricks (born March 13, 1935 in Register, Georgia, she later moved to Harlem), Ethel McRae, and Dorothy Jones. Stone hired on as A&R man with Aladdin's fledgling New York-based Lamp subsidiary in the summer of 1954. Spelling her surname Hendrix, Margie had the second Lamp release as a solo, pairing Every Time and Good Treatment. In October, the Mesner brothers announced the signing of The Cookies to Lamp. They released the trio's All Night Mambo b/w Don't Let Go the next month.
Stone brought The Cookies to Atlantic in 1955, where they'd do double duty as background vocalists and artists in their own right. Their first outing consisted of Precious Love (written by Charlie Singleton and Rose Marie McCoy) and Later Later. Their encore outing, In Paradise, gave The Cookies their big boost. Written by former Atlantic chanteuse Carmen Taylor and Willis Carroll and released in early '56, the atmospheric number flew to #9 on 'Billboard's' R&B 'Juke Box' listings that spring, with Passing Time, the work of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, on the B-side. In June, The Cookies shared an Apollo Theatre bill with The Cadillacs, Flairs, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins (they returned to the venue the next month).
Although My Lover b/w Down By The River didn't take off the same way that autumn, The Cookies made themselves valuable by adding harmonies to Atlantic hits by Chuck Willis (It's Too Late), Big Joe Turner (Corrine, Corrina), and Ray Charles, who made breathtaking use of the trio on his Drown In My Own Tears, Lonely Avenue, Ain't That Love, and several more. Brother Ray dug the trio so much that he added them to his own troupe, though Dorothy wanted no part of the road and gave way to Pat Lyles. Before long, Charles would rechristen them The Raelets.
Countless ladies would enter and leave the ranks of The Raelets in years to come, none distinguishing herself more indelibly than the incendiary Hendrix. She duetted with the Genius on his 1959 hit (Night Time Is) The Right Time and sassed her boss unmercifully on the '61 across-the-board chart-topper Hit The Road Jack. Ray fired her in 1964; Hendrix had a solo single that year on Ray's Tangerine logo. She made five mid-'60s 45s for Mercury and a last pair for Sound Stage 7 near decade's end. Plagued by drug problems over the course of her life, Hendrix died in 1973. The Cookies, meanwhile, would come back strong during the early '60s.