Born Marjorie Helen Orwig, June 3, 1924, Madera, California
Margie Rayburn started her musical career during the Second World War, entertaining the troops as a big band singer. After the war she sang with Ray Anthony's Orchestra, toured with Gene Autry, worked the San Francisco nightclubs and had a few singles released in 1954-55 on Alma, S & G and Capitol.. Around 1954 she joined the Sunnysiders, a vocal / instrumental group, formed by two former members of Spike Jones's City Slickers, banjo player Freddy Morgan (1910-1970) and Jad Paul. Margie's husband, Norman Malkin (1918-1979) collaborated with Morgan on material for the group and is sometimes listed as a member of the Sunnysiders. This group had a hit in 1955 with "Hey, Mr. Banjo" (Kapp 113, # 12), which was also issued in the UK (London HL 8135). Norman's name is often misspelled as Milkin.
Margie left the Sunnysiders in 1956 for a solo career on Liberty Records. Her fifth single for the label, "I'm Available" (Liberty 55102), was her only hit, but a big one (# 9 in December 1957). The tune was written and first recorded by Dave Burgess in his pre-Champs days. Rayburn was already 33 at the time, but sounded like a 17-year old girl on the sensuous "I'm Available". She stayed with Liberty until 1960 and had six further singles released as well as an LP ("Margie", 1959, now a collector's item), but nothing clicked, in spite of some fine follow-ups, like "I Would" (written by Ricki Page and George Motola and originally recorded by the G-Notes), "Smoochin'", "Try Me", "Unexpectedly" and "Here I Am". Most of them were drenched in heavy echo and utilized a multi-tracked vocal to give her voice the same suggestive quality as "Available". The backing was usually supplied by Don Ralke and his orchestra, with Earl Palmer on drums in some cases. Only two of the Liberty singles saw a UK release : "I'm Available"/ "If You Were" on London HLU 8515 and "I Would"/"Alright, But It Won't Be Easy" (another Dave Burgess composition) on London HLU 8648, June 1958.
Margie last recorded in 1966. She settled down in Los Angeles with her husband and fell back into obscurity. Norman Malkin became a producer for Dot Records, where he had success with Jack Ross and his orchestra ("Happy Jose", "Cinderella"). Margie Rayburn died of a heart attack in 2000, at the age of 76.
Acknowledgements : Wayne Jancik, Mick Patrick.
"I'm Available" on YouTube:
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