Dinah Washington was the self-proclaimed Queen of the Blues.

Born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, Ala., her family soon moved to Chicago, a hub of the blues. Like many of the great singers, her early beginnings came in the church choir. After establishing herself in gospel music while still in her teens, she dropped out of school and embraced a new name and identity. Seeing Billie Holiday was a catalyst for taking on the name Dinah Washington. Her hit “Evil Gal Blues” established the personality she embraced. Dinah Washington’s life was the stuff of supermarket tabloids, while her eight marriages became fodder for the rumour mill.

Over the years, Washington’s range of music included gospel, blues, jazz and pop. These five albums are among the best showcases of that talent and diversity.