Obscure & Neglected Female Singers Of Jazz & Standards (1930s to 1960s)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ridin'High, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    Based on her marriage license and 1930 and 1940 census records, I would say late 1922 or early 1923. In that Oakland Tribune article, Trenner is shown at 26 as older than his wife which we know he is not.
     
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  2. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    Here's the missing photo of Helen Carr from the October 8, 1959, Bakersfield Californian for her two nights at the Hi-Life Supper Club. That's quite a change from her photos earlier.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA
    Annie Fratellini is very nice, but I'm afraid Ridi'High will rule her out without hesitation. He said that all singers around the Globe are OK, but they supposed to sing in English jazz and jazz/pop standards.

    Whatever I tried her, I only found one song Bye Bye Baby, and those only 3 words were in English. I also found her 1957 EP strictly French Jazz (not interesting). The rest of the songs were typical French pop/chanson stuff, where she is really succeeded (with two nice exclusion worth to check out):

    (excellent chanson renditions)
    The Man I Love

    Mon homme

    If she could add 10 more such songs, I would buy Annie Fratellini Sings Billie Holiday CD, but where is it?


    P.S.
    Please keep digging wide...
     
  4. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA
    Ridi'High,
    In general, I know the artist fits in the List, if she has about an album of songs. But what, if only 4 sides were recorded?
     
  5. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    If Keely were singing to me, I'd forgive just about anything. I'd pretty much melt in fact. I just found a clean stereo copy of Politely! in a thrift shop on a road trip to Ohio last week. Wow, what a great sounding LP in every way--voice, band, arrangements by Billy May--much better than the CD versions of her recordings I have. It will go nicely on the shelf next to I Wish You Love.

    Not obscure to us perhaps, but she has become obscure to many. Sweet and lovely indeed back to when I first heard her voice.
     
  6. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    Running way behind the thread sometimes, but that's because sometimes you turn up the records way later. Also this thread has certainly increased my interest in all of these "obscure" singers.

    Along with the Keely Smith record mentioned previously, I turned up a stereo copy of Helen O'Connell's An Era Reborn on Cameo from 1963.

    [​IMG]

    Her voice is a little deeper here than I expected in her early 40's. Still very pleasant and enjoyable at a minimum. Jack Pleis leads the orchestra in swinging arrangements of standards and then more contemporary songs that all seem intended to recall the Jimmy Dorsey Band. She even sings Don Gibson's I Can't Stop Loving You. She's almost belting on some of the songs. I'm not really familiar with her, so I don't know if this her normal style.

    The Sweetest Sounds is the record opener. Glad I picked this LP up. There was certainly a time when I would have passed it by.

    Plus my dog is sitting here enjoying it with me. This song may end up an earworm for a while.



     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
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  7. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    Way off topic, but I do have to say that it's quite amusing to see other Cameo/Parkway stars of the time on the inner sleeve of this Helen O'Connell album. You get to see Chubby Checker in full twist mode along with Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp, the Dovells, the Orlons and various Cameo instrumental albums.

    A real curiosity is Bobby Rydell and the Bernie Lowe Orchestra's "An Era Reborn" - Recreate The Days Of The Big Bands! I'm listening to it on You Tube now. Contemporary pop songs done big band style. Sounds like Bobby Darin. Not bad at all.

    The paths records lead you down ...
     
  8. jaxpads

    jaxpads Forum Resident

    Location:
    NE FL
    I'm seeing this thread late and am not going to review the previous 39 pages. Wondering if anyone has mentioned Mildred Bailey? Not obscure in the 30's, but . . .
     
  9. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA
    ...but is obscure now.

    So, where should Mildred Bailey go in our lists? - In major updated list(?)
    By her influence and impact on the next generations of Jazz singers, answer would be: Yes!
    Nobody could resist her so sweet and gentle approach to Jazz in the ballads and even in swing and jazzy blues numbers. But...
    "She's really neglected today, although back in the era she was one of the innovators of this type of singing... Billie Holiday, Anita O'Day both admired Bailey..."
    My vote is for Obscure & Neglected list
    . (from the posts #273-4, page 11)

    In these posts I gave 3 samples from each of my 9 CD Chronological Classic (France) Collection, spinning from 1929 to 1947 of her singing career.

    This thread is a Reference thread for people, who love Mildred Bailey. I often go through these
    39 pages back and forth to find something new. As a result, I bought a lot of CDs I can enjoy.
     
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  10. Ethan Stoller

    Ethan Stoller Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Marlene Cord is one of the classic examples of the One Shot Wonders that Bill Reed writes about in his book, mentioned earlier in this thread. Her one LP was released in 1957 on the Dot label. From the liner notes:

    "The lovely and talented Marlene Cord is considerably younger than her intimate, sophisticated voice might lead one to believe. What appears to be a certain worldliness is, in fact, her very sensitive approach to the worldly songs she sings . . . And now comes this album - Marlene Cord's recording debut. Here she graduates suddenly into an upper rank of singers, displaying a distinctive vocal style that promises bright and eventful days to come. Here she exhibits a wise way with some wonderful tunes, and it's a pleasure to hear."

    The incorrect prediction about her future showbiz success notwithstanding, I agree with this (uncredited) writer's assessment. Have a listen:



    According to Reed's book, Cord ended up waiting tables and tending bar at a restaurant in Milwaukee for the next 18 years or so after this record came out. He says at last report she was waiting tables in St. Petersburg, Florida. Assuming she's still alive, she is 79 years old today.
     
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  11. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    [​IMG]

    Among the Stars is Renée Raff’s one and only album. Released in 1965 on the Audio Fidelity label, it is arranged and conducted by Billy Byers and has some stellar musicians on board including Osie Johnson on drums, Milt Hinton on bass, Hank Jones on piano, and Jerome Richardson on flute. Raff also plays piano but it’s not clear from the notes if she plays on the album. The album is made up of four standards and eight originals and includes a South African folk song. It was reissued in Japan on CD with a different cover and can also be found on ITunes.

    I found her album in a local thrift store. I had no idea who she was at the time, but the cover was striking front and back and it sure sounded interesting. I enjoy this album quite a lot, but I think it may be one that has to grow on you. Her voice seems a little unconventional to me, but she brings it. And there are few times I definitely think "wow". I'd love to hear the stereo version of the album.

    Renée Raff Among the Stars Full Album Playlist

    Raff is the daughter of Dr. Arnold Raff and Sophie Halperin and was born in South Africa in 1934. She left Cape Town in 1954 to study music at the Royal College of Music in London. She then moved to New York City where she studied at Juilliard under John Mehegan (piano) and Phil Moore (voice). She is noted as a very good pianist who has accompanied many singers including Frank Sinatra in venues around the world.

    Raff is now in her 80’s but was still living and playing early in 2017. She has a full concert with her trio from March 2016 on WDNA Miami at

    Renee Raff Trio Live In Concert on WDNA in March 2016

    She’s no longer young, but she still plays the piano and sings with considerable energy over fifty years later. Her voice has aged and deepened, but it’s an enjoyable performance for her and the audience especially as she warms up. Her voice is even more distinctive now.

    Her bassist Jay Leonhart says he met her years ago when she played at the piano bar at Jilly’s in New York City and that Erroll Garner would be sitting there and say, “Baby, you’ve got good time.”
    It sounded like Leonhart brought her out of retirement to play and sing again. She seems to have pretty much disappeared around 1967 until more recently possibly raising a family, but I think she was well remembered by the few who may have had her only album and those that had seen her years ago.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
  12. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Neat. Incidentally, the songwriter of "Sittin' Neath the Willow Tree" might have been all of 8 years old. I read that claim in one of the sites that I checked, while doing research last week. The site identified Anita as Paul Nero's daughter. The song's title certainly suggests the possibility that this could be a children's number, or even some sort of traditional nursery rhyme, adapted for big band playing.

    I think we might have now posted pictures of all of Helen's releases? The only one that I don't recall seeing here yet is the MGM single. So, here it is:

    [​IMG]
    (Flip side: "It's Beautiful.")


    I was secretly hoping that you would retrieve it. Thanks.


    Right. I also agree with Eric's earlier, similar comment on the matter: "So we now have the singer as Helen M. Huber, born about 1922 (I'd trust the age in the marriage license more than the later article)."

    Even before reading Eric's research, I always thought that the likeliest year was either 1922 or even earlier than that. In my own writeup, I also speculated about various possible reasons why Helen herself could have lied about her age. There is a good chance that we are talking about a lady who felt insecure about her marriage and age, due to multiple factors (e.g., becoming romantically involved with a youngster who had just turned up 18, having been already married and with child, being about five years older that her second husband, being aware of the reputation of jazz musicians for sleeping around, knowing that road musicians could easily catch the eye of local women willing to throw themselves at these men, etc., etc.) Once again, Donn Trenner's book should confirm or refute this speculative portrait of mine. (I am referring to my portrait of Helen. I am not saying that Donn fit any of these stereotypes -- on the contrary!)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
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  13. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA
    Renee Raff, white female singer from South Africa - I learned about her 3 years ago, when Japanese Mini LP release came out with 1 bonus track.
    This bonus track is only song (they named masterpiece of Jobim) where she played piano (recorded in 1970).
    They also said that Hank Jones - guy, who handled piano and trombone in the rest of the songs, was so impressed by her that recorded the album at his own expense.

    I like her version of Little Girl Blue


    Japanese cover:

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    I'm losing track a bit of what we have found for Helen Carr. Did we find this recording from 1957 of Helen Carr and Sammy Lowe's Orchestra of Weep No More My Baby on Candlelight Records CA 1016? It gets a mention in Walter Winchell's column from New York City on July 6, 1957 as a "good platter". The flip side is called Little Bit of Happiness. That's assuming it is her.

    From Cash Box, August 17, 1957

    HELEN CARR
    (Candlelight 1016)

    B - "WEEP NO MORE MY BABY" (2:33) [Pollard BMI--Arnette, O'Dell, Murphy, Paterno] A cute rock and roll ditty with a contagious melody reminiscent of a strain from Stephen Foster's "Old Kentucky Home," is belted out with gusto by Helen Carr. Spunky dance deck that could click.

    C+ - "LITTLE BITS OF HAPPINESS" (2:34) [Pollard BMI--Zinsser, Kruger, Gilden] The polished lark chants a strong romantic ballad on this end. She's well showcased by a good R & R ballad beat and a chorus.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    I was checking out a couple of cds last night and came across a Jasmine source Anita Bryant. My searching tells me she hasn't been mentioned here yet.

    She had her massive pop hit PAPER ROSES which I remember from my young teens, and she actually became controversial in the 70s for her out-spoken views on a certain subject. But she also seems to have had a nice way with some standards.

    Unfortunately Hello Young Lovers it isn't on this playlist I found on You Tube. Perhaps this will give an idea of her range.

     
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  16. Ethan Stoller

    Ethan Stoller Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Ginnie Powell was a well-respected jazz singer. She had stints with big band giants Harry James and Charlie Barnet. but her career is most closely associated with her husband Boyd Raeburn. Raeburn was one of the more experimental big band leaders of the mid- to late '40s, employing arrangers like George Handy. That experimentation seeped into the vocal sides too - check out the weird dissonant blasts at the top of this arrangement of "Body and Soul":

     
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  17. Jbeck57143

    Jbeck57143 Forum Resident

    Location:
    IL, USA
    Here's another Helen Carr recording:

    She sings "GOING HOME", with Gladys Grindeland at the piano, dated Dec 6, 1947:

    [​IMG]

    from:
    Roots Vinyl Guide
     
  18. Jbeck57143

    Jbeck57143 Forum Resident

    Location:
    IL, USA
    The B side of the "Saturday Dance" single, by Teresa Brewer, was a song written by Helen Carr and Ed Warren: "I Think The World Of You". From: Teresa Brewer - Saturday Dance

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Jbeck57143

    Jbeck57143 Forum Resident

    Location:
    IL, USA
    I wish I'd heard of her sooner--I missed the ebay auction for this record by about 7 1/2 months and the one for "Going Home" by about a year (And the one for "Sittin' 'Neath The Willow Tree" by almost 3 years). Oh well. Hopefully there are more copies out there somewhere. On the other hand--I did find the MGM single and the 78 of "Gilly Gilly Wish Wash" (And the Chuck Foster album with "No Baby No")
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
  20. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    On the one hand--not having heard it--I don't know for sure it is the same Helen Carr. On the other hand there is a reason Atlantic signed her. She'd been called a "rhythm singer" much earlier and perhaps they saw capabilities for her in rhythm and blues. I'm sure they had some artists recording jazz vocals as well.
     
  21. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    I just saw Teresa Brewer's recording of I Think The World Of You on an LP in a store today. It's the first cut on side one of Time For Teresa.
     
  22. Jbeck57143

    Jbeck57143 Forum Resident

    Location:
    IL, USA
    Here it is on youtube:



    And the Billboard review from the description : "Attractive ballad enhanced by canary's pretty piping. Should get action and juke loot". It was released in April 1958 in the US and in May in the UK.

    Here's the UK single from:
    Teresa Brewer - Saturday Dance

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Ethan Stoller

    Ethan Stoller Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Marlene VerPlanck may be a more familiar name to jazz enthusiasts than some of the singers in this thread, but I think she belongs here. She recorded her debut record on Savoy in 1955 at the age of 21 (under the name "Marlene") then didn't release another solo LP for almost 25 years. She has released upwards of 30 records since the '80s and has carved a decent niche for herself as an interpreter of jazz standards. She rates high in the most important categories for jazz singers (IMHO): tone, intonation, diction, rhythmic sense, and lyrical interpretation. Her phenomenal talent is evident on her 1955 release, as demonstrated in the clip below:
     
  24. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Phenomenal singer. Marlene was a great baker, and used to bake a birthday cake for a friend of mine. She'd sing him a song over the phone every once in a while
     
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  25. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    I got a near mint copy of this in Stereo at a garage sale this week (to add to my mono copy)
     
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