Monday, 11 July 2011

Beverly Kenney

Beverly Kenney (January 29, 1932, Harrison, New Jersey - April 13, 1960, New York City) was an American jazz singer.

Kenney worked early in life for Western Union as a telephone birthday singer. After moving to New York City, she recorded a demo in 1954 with Tony Tamburello; the demo was released in its entirety 2006 by SSJ Records in 2006 under the title Snuggled on Your Shoulder. By the end of the year she had moved to Miami, where she landed a recurring engagement at the Black Magic Room. Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey heard her and took her on tour in the orchestra they co-led; she worked with them for several months before breaking off to move back to New York.

Upon her return, she worked in clubs with George Shearing, Don Elliott, and Kai Winding; After a short tour of the Midwest with Larry Sonn, she signed to Roost Records and released her first album in 1956. Her second release, Come Swing with Me, saw her working with Ralph Burns, and Jimmy Jones led an ensemble behind her for her third and final release for Roost in 1957.

Kenney then moved to Decca Records, and released three further LPs with them, including Beverly Kenney Sings For Playboys (1958), Born to Be Blue (1959), and Like Yesterday (1959). Beverly Kenney Sings For Playboys featured liner notes by Steve Allen, which praised Kenney's vocal style and stated, "A word to Playboys: I would not recommend this album as Music to Make the Romantic Approach By. You’re apt to get more interested in Beverly than the girl you’re trying to impress."

Kenney was a critically acclaimed musician, but she saw little widespread acceptance, due at least in part to the burgeoning rock & roll movement. She had an intense personal dislike for this music, even going so far as to compose a song called "I Hate Rock and Roll", which she performed on the Steve Allen Show on May 18, 1958. She had a failed relationship with Milton Klonsky late in the 1950s, and became moody and emotionally distant according to family and friends, though the exact reasons why are not clear.

To this day, Kenney remains a cult figure in Japan, where all of her albums have been reissued to CD and have remained in print on a relatively steady basis. Japan's SSJ Records have released three collections of unreleased Beverly Kenney material: Snuggled on Your Shoulder (2006), Lonely and Blue (2007), and What Is There To Say? (2009). This first in the series, Snuggled on Your Shoulder, was reissued by Cellar Door Records in 2010; it features the SSJ Records release in its entirety plus bonus tracks from a recently discovered radio show. One track from Snuggled On Your Shoulder, "Tea For Two", was released on the Vintage music compilation This is Vintage Now (2011).

Beverly Kenney - Like Yesterday

01 Undecided
02 Sentimental Journey
03 I Had The Craziest Dream
04 And The Angels Sing
05 More Than You Know
06 The Dipsy Doodle
07 What A Diff'rence a Day Made
08 Somebody Else Is Taking My Place
09 A Sunday Kind Of Love
10 Any Old Time
11 Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe
12 Tampico  


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