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.

Thoughts on Father’s Day

June 20, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Posted in Family Life | Leave a comment
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Banned from 4 Salem Rd, Hicksville


My father was not a vindictive man or one to hold grudges but he banned Dinah Shore from our lone TV after she featured a salute to France on St. Patrick’s Day and he held to his word. I’ve done the same, foreswearing forever the horrendous Blockbuster Video. 

This Father’s Day crept up on me almost as an imposition. I am worn out from my vacation and the  day seemed like just one more thing. Even this morning my thoughts were elsewhere. Then, about 11 AM it struck me: this isn’t about yet another Father’s Day, this is about my father. Just as women can never separate themselves from their mother, men can never fully outrun their father’s shadow. My Uncle Anthony, on the day before he died, at 77, said that his only regret was that his father, my grandfather, was cold to him. 

Today is my son Brendan’s first Father’s Day and my first as a Grandfather and these are both milestones but they come without the weight of memory. They are happening now and they are, in current parlance, all good. Only after this day of firsts spends years aging in the caves of time will its rich and complex flavor come fully forward. 

In the case of my father and I, two Toms, there were many times when we let each other down but in the end we didn’t. If he were alive today, and he has been dead a long time, 31 years, I think that we would fairly toast each other.I would play his favorite song, “Annie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”  sung by Miss Peggy Lee or  perhaps an old one by John McCormack. Yes, that’s what I’d do, now that I’ve had so long to think about things.

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