Tags: Anthony Maillie, Beverly Kenney, Ella Fitzgerald, Ellis Larkins, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughn, Steve Allen
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.