The Charmaines

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The Charmaines
Also known as Gigi and the Charmaines
Origin Cincinnati, Ohio,
United States
Genres Rhythm and blues, soul, pop
Years active 1960–1974
Labels Fraternity Records,
Columbia Records
Ace Records
Associated acts Lonnie Mack
Past members Gigi Jackson
Irene Vinegar
Dee Watson
Jerri Jackson

The Charmaines were an American female vocal trio of the 1960s, described by the NME as being as sassy as The Supremes and The Marvelettes.[1]


Supported by Irene Vinegar and Dee Watkins, the group's lead singer and sometime lyricist was Gigi Jackson. Born Marian Jackson, and later known as Gigi Griffin after marrying her producer Herman Griffin, Jackson had started her career in a family band called the Jackson Sisters. On certain recordings Dee Watkins was replaced by Gigi's sister Jerri Jackson who later recorded in her own right.[2]


The Charmaines were considered Cincinnati's leading female R&B trio in the early 1960s,[3] notably as a backing unit for many better known artists on the King label including Conway Twitty, James Brown, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Little Willie John, Bobby Freeman and Gary U.S. Bonds[4] As a group in their own right, The Charmaines' first single was Rockin’ Old Man (late 1960) with lyrics by Jackson and backed with If You Were Mine.[5] The nearest they came to a hit was #117 on the billboard chart in 1961 with What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am) which out-sold a rival version of the same song by Erma Franklin [6] It was in the time left over at the end of one of their King recording sessions that fellow Fraternity artist Lonnie Mack got the opportunity to record his first improvised hit Memphis. The Charmaines went on to appear on Lonnie Mack's best-known album Wham of That Memphis Man as well as recordings of comedian-singer Jack Larson.[7][8] They would also record for Columbia and other labels.


In 2006 a 28-track compilation of the trio's 1960s recordings was issued on Ace Records[9] and described by Record Collector as a delight for Northern fans and all girl group collectors. In 2012, NME celebrated The Charmaines as one of the unfairly forgotten girl groups of the 1960s.[10] On the death of Lonnie Mack in April 2016, The Charmaines were one of the groups featured in a Lonnie Mack special on Classic 21's radio show Dr Boogie[11]

External links[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^ Gigi's discography
  3. ^ All Music review of compilation
  4. ^ Ace Record compilation notes
  5. ^ Ace Record compilation notes
  6. ^ Ace Record compilation notes
  7. ^ Billboard - 7 Apr 1962 - Page 48 "comedian-singer Jack Larson and the Charmaines, femme trio, will also appear on the Dot label."
  8. ^ Randy McNutt The Cincinnati Sound -- 2007 - Page 87 "If one wanted a tight soul sound on their record in the early 1960s, they hired the Charmaines, led by Gigi Jackson. They sang backup for artists at King Records and performed throughout the area. They appeared on Lonnie Mack's Wham of That Memphis Man.' and recorded their own local hit, "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am?" for Fraternity. During the 1960s they also recorded for Columbia and others. Jackson later married producer Herman Griffin."
  9. ^ Ace Records notes
  10. ^ NME
  11. ^ Dr Boogie Lonnie Mack special features The Charmaines' on Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu at 44'52" with Gigi Jackson on vocals