Ethel Ennis began performing on the piano in high school, but her natural vocal abilities soon eclipsed those as a pianist. Embarking on a solo career, she recorded a number of sides for Atlantic Records before the Lp debut, 1955's Lullabies for Losers was released by Jubilee Records. In 1957, Ennis moved to the Capitol Records label for a two-album contract, and A Change of Scenery was released. Soon after the 1958 follow-up Lp Have You Forgotten, Ennis took a six-year hiatus from recording during which she toured Europe with Benny Goodman.
Ennis was again invited to the recording studios in 1963, recording four LPs for RCA Records. However, disenchanted with the creative direction of the label and artist management, Ennis left RCA and took another hiatus, this time eight years without a recording contract. During this period she sang the title song for the 1967 feature film Mad Monster Party. The BASF Lp 10 Sides of Ethel Ennis emerged in 1973 and later that year Ennis, a Democrat, was invited to sing at the re-inauguration of Richard Nixon. Ethel's unusual a cappella rendition of the national anthem shocked some, but inspired many others.
Earlier on, Ethel had returned to her hometown of Baltimore, and sang outside the area only a handful of times in the next several decades. Then in 1980 to the delight of loyal fans she reappeared, releasing a live album, followed in 1994 by a self-titled studio album, and in 1998 once again recording for a major label with If Women Ruled the World on Savoy Jazz. The most recent Ennis recording was a critically praised 2005 live set, captured in performance at Montpelier in her home state of Maryland.
Atlantic - NYC, December 18, 1956
- 2299 | A176 | 56C106 A Pair Of Fools - Atco 6086
- 2300 | A177 | 56C108 Since You're Mine - Atlantic unissued
- 2301 | A178 | 56C109 Got It In My Blood (To Love You) - Atco 6086
- 2302 | A179 | 56C110 Half Way To Heaven - Atlantic unissued
- Lullabies For Losers – Jubilee (1955) re-issued
- Ethel Ennis Sings – Jubilee (1963)
- Jubilee:5236 - Off Shore
- Change Of Scenery – Capitol (1957) re-issued
- Have You Forgotten – Capitol (1958) re-issued
- This Is Ethel Ennis – RCA 2786 (1963) re-issued
- Once Again, Ethel Ennis – RCA 2862 (1964) re-issued
- Eyes For You – RCA 2984 (1964)
- My Kind Of Waltztime – RCA 2986 (1965) re-issued
- RCA:478379 - Boy From Ipanema / When will the hurt be over?
- RCA:478448 - Now I Have Everything / Matchmaker Matchmaker
- RCA:478592 - About Love / I've Got That Feeling
- RCA 478733 - We Could Learn Together / Look At Me
- 10 Sides of Ethel Ennis – – BASF 25121 (1973)
- Live at the Maryland Inn – EnE (1980)
- Ethel Ennis – Hildner (1994)
- If Women Ruled The World – Savoy Jazz (1998)
- Ennis Anyone? Ethel Ennis, Live at Montpelier! – Jazzmount (2005)
- BASF:15126 - I Believe In Love / I Wonder Who My Daddy Is
- SPIRAL:1234 - Call Me Young / Who Is It This Time?
- SPIRAL:1237 - Sing Me A Tune / I Wonder Who My Daddy Is
- Ennis provided the speaking and singing voice for the character of Ethel Earphone on the Maryland Public Television children's show Book, Look and Listen during the mid-1970s.
- Ethel Ennis' Biography at Allaboutjazz.com
- Ethel Ennis's oral history video excerpts at The National Visionary Leadership Project
- "Biography". Ethel Ennis. Allmusic.com. Retrieved July 22, 2010.