Orgill's book, which delves into the life, struggles and music of one female singer from each decade of the twentieth century, shows all of the artists as powerful performers who, through maintaining their determination and individuality, overcame monumental obstacles.
Orgill, a Hoboken resident since 1989, has 20 years experience as a music critic for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Bergen Record and the Milwaukee Journal.
She has always been around music, having had classical training as a violinist as a child. But during college she learned that she would rather deconstruct music than perform it, and concentrated on music history and theory there and in graduate school.
After school Orgill was a classical music critic, but because of a twist of fate, she was forced to learn the intricacies of cabaret, jazz and blues and has never looked back.
"I was the classical music critic for the Bergen Record, and one day I was called into the editor's office," explained Orgill last week. "I was informed that in addition to my normal responsibilities I would also be doing all of the cabaret and jazz reviews starting the very next week. I was thrown into the fire, but it was a great motivation to learn the music."
Orgill had only taken one jazz class in school, but eagerly immersed herself into the study of eclectic types of music, from blues and folk to cabaret and country.
In 1997, the first book that Orgill published was a children's picture biography, If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong (Houghton Mifflin). The book, which the Boston Globe described as "touching and delightful", tells the tale of young Louis Armstrong, who was raised under difficult conditions in New Orleans, and shows his coming of age as a musician.
"The one thing that all of these women have in common is that they all struggled to get what they got," said Orgill last week as she described her new book.
"It's a 'girl power' book; it's 10 stories of women who struggled against poverty like Bessie Smith or unattractiveness like Ethel Merman and Bette Midler or drug addiction like Judy Garland and Anita O'Day. They all suffered some form of misfortune, but in the end, they all triumphed."
While book only concentrates on just 10 performers, Orgill believes that there are easily 100 candidates who qualify as great singers in the last century. But she took more into account than just singing.
"It was so hard to chose just 10," said Orgill. "In the end there were four requirements that I ended up using. They had to represent a decade; their best work had to come from that decade; I had to love their singing and be willing to listen to them for hours at a time; and finally, they had to have a good and complete life story."
Using these criteria, the author was able to choose a group of women spanning a wide spectrum of different genres of popular music.
There is Sophie Tucker, who was a "red-hot mama" in Vaudeville, and Bette Midler, a rock singer who thrived in the cabaret. Joan Baez sang folk songs, while Judy Garland starred in movie musicals and Lucinda Williams sings a contemporary form of alternative country.
While they all may be from different times, there is the common thread of a strong sense of individualism and self-determination.
"These are all strong women who are tremendous performers," said Orgill. "They have 'it'. Whenever any of them were on stage, everyone in the room knew that they were a star. Much of that presence they had on stage is because of the strength they had as individuals."
Aside from the music and the personal stories, Shout! is also a history lesson.
"You can't talk about Judy Garland without discussing America's long love affair with the movies," said Orgill. "And you can't mention Joan Baez without exploring Vietnam and the anti-war movement."
Also, the author believes that the singers of the early portion of the century helped pave the way for entertainers like Madonna and Williams. "Those early singers had to pay their dues," she said. "They were often told what and where to sing, but as time goes on, what women choose to sing is becoming less and less manipulated. Now no one tells Madonna what to sing."
The book is intended for ages 12 and up. Orgill hopes that it will find its way into high school libraries as well as the bookshelves of adult readers.
To purchase a copy of Shout, Sister, Shout! Ten Girl Singers who Shaped a Century, visit www.Amazon.com.