Beverly Kenney sings for Playboys

August 20, 2011 at 1:39 PM | Posted in Music | 4 Comments
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Have you had the experience of reading about someone and then, as you read further, discovered that they committed suicide? To go so quickly from hello to such a bad good-bye is shocking.

The other day I was in the mood to hear something new and so I turned to a shelf filled with LPs that my Uncle Anthony left me, many of which I have not as yet played. I found Beverly Kenney sings for Playboys and the cover is so striking I don’t know how I had never seen it. That I had never heard of her at all was  less surprising as Anthony’s taste was wide. The record itself was very worn but played fine and Kenney’s voice is good without being specially distinct like Peggy Lee or Ella or Sarah and her choice of music excellent: Do it again, Try a Little Tenderness and What is there to say? give you an idea of the album.

There are other attractions: she’s accompanied by the great pianist Ellis Larkins and the liner notes, not just a blurb, are by Steve Allen. And, at least on this one album cover, she’s a good-looking girl.

So as I took all this in I wondered what had happened to her. Wiki sang a sad song. Kenney, beloved in Japan, and this Playboy album, released in 1958 and considered her best just two years behind her, killed herself in 1960 at just 28 years of age.

Perhaps that’s why my Uncle, the most sensitive of men, never mentioned her to me.


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  1. Really appreciated your thoughts on Beverly Kenney- I had just discovered her this week and was also saddened to learn of her tragic end. Hope you continue to enjoy worthwhile music, thanks again for your fine work-

    • Thanks for reading the post. How did you hear about her?

  2. This is a fantastic album, but I feel “Born to Be Blue” is her best. I came across her work by chance while exploring vocal jazz standards and then learned of her story.

    • Thanks for the heads-up. I won’t be near my collection till the end of the week and see if I have the album you note. I find her a very interesting artist.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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