|Jean Chapel, Welcome To The Club|
At the age of 10, Jean wanted to pick and play like her father and grandfather. Her first instrument was the mandolin. In 1936, at age 11, Jean began her singing career with her two older sisters in the Sunshine Sister Band. After two years of daily practice and countless public performances, the highly polished Sunshine Sisters were in great demand. At age 13, Jean would leave home with her older sisters, to perform daily at WLAP radio in Lexington, Kentucky. They would stay with the station for almost a year.
At age 15, Jean had already performed at literally hundreds of shows, appeared daily on radio stations, sang on barn dances, became a member of the Coon Creek Girls, and was about to begin what she would be most remembered for -- WRITING SONGS!
When Jean passed away in 1995, she had written well over 400 songs with more than 170 songs recorded and released by major artists. However, her song writing should not be overshadow the rest of her amazing career. "Jean could play anything with strings," remembers her sister Minnie. The three sisters would move to WSB Radio in Atlanta to set up a barn dance program under the direction of John Lair. Here, Lair would change the Sunshine Sisters' names to Minnie, Mattie, and Marthy. Jean would take the name "Mattie" and use this name on and off throughout her singing and song writing career. For the next 10 years, Jean would move around from WSB in Atlanta, to WLW in Cincinnati, to the Renfro Valley Barn Dance, to the Grand Ole Opry.
In the early 50's, Jean would record solo for Hickory Records under the name Opal Jean; record with her two sisters for the King label in 1951 as the Sunshine Sisters; and officially become, Jean Chapel, in 1956 when signing with Sun Records to sing rockabilly. In addition to these labels, Jean recorded for Capitol, London, Challenge, Smash, and RCA Records.
She was billed "the female Elivs Presley" by Sun Records, which released her song "Welcome to the Club" on the flip side of an Elvis Presley release. Historian Robert Oermann says, "the finest rockabilly performance by a woman at Sun Records was unquestionably, 'Welcome to the Club' by Jean Chapel."
If you want to read more about this amazing Rockabilly and Country artist, check out the Donna Chapel site:
http://www.donnachapel.com (In-Depth Bios)