Betty Blake – Sings In A Tender Mood – Complete Recordings 1957-1961
Cincinnati-born singer Betty Ann Blake (April 9, 1937), began her career at 16 with local bands and then joined the Ernie Rudy (1954-1956) and Buddy Morrow (1956-1958) orchestras.
As Morrow’s featured vocalist she attracted the attention of Golden Crest Records. Offered work as guest singer on two songs on an album by trumpeter John Plonsky’s modern jazz quintet, this in turn led to the recording of a single accompanied by Jack Zimmerman’s orchestra.
Her band experience took her to clubs around the country, and after four years she returned to Cincinnati to join a vocal group for a time. When in 1961 vibes player and producer Teddy Charles approached her to do an album for Bethlehem Records featuring five Alec Wilder ballads, she decided to drop the Ann from her name.
For this release, “Betty Blake Sings in a Tender Mood,” top flight jazzmen like Mal Waldron, Zoot Sims, Kenny Burrell, Roland Alexander and Charles furnished her with an ideal background. She had a touching ballad style, and swung well on medium and uptempo tunes, always approaching her material in a direct, ungimmicky fashion and faithfully serving the sense of the lyric. Unfortunately she disappeared from the scene and nothing was heard of her until her untimely death, of cancer, at age 63, on September 19, 2001.
1. Let There Be Love (Grant-Rand / arr. Waldron) - 1:54 2. I’ll Be Around (Wilder/ arr. Charles) - 2:16 3. Moon and Sand (Engvick-Palitz-Wilder / arr. Charles) - 1:59 4. Trouble Is a Man (Wilder / arr. Alexander) - 2:28 5. Love Is Just Around the Corner (Robin-Gensler / arr. Alexander) - 2:18 6. Lilac Wine (Shelton / arr. Charles) - 5:12 7. It’s So Peaceful in the Country (Wilder / arr. Waldron) - 2:32 8. While We’re Young (Coots-Gillespie / arr. Waldron) - 2:33 9. Blue Fool (Wilder-Hanighen / arr. Dorough) - 2:24 10. All of You (Porter / arr. Waldron) - 2:42 11. Don’t Say Love Has Ended (Wilder-Engvick / arr. Waldron) - 2:30 12. Out of This World (Mercer-Arlen / arr. Dorough) - 2:32 13. But Not for Me (G. & I.Gershwin / arr. Plonsky) - 2:27 14. How About You (Lane-Freed / arr. Plonsky) - 1:55 15. The Lady Sings the Blues (Wilder-Engvick) - 2:40 16. Jersey Boy (Arnold Sundgaard) - 2:26
Tracks #1-12, from the album “Betty Blake Sings in a Tender Mood” (Bethlehem BCP6058)
Tracks #13 & 14, from the album “John Plonsky Quintet - Cool Man Cool” (Golden Crest CR3014)
Tracks #15 & 16 from the Betty Ann Blake single Golden Crest CR115
Betty Blake, sings in all tracks, with:
Tracks #1,4,10,12: Marcus Belgrave, trumpet; Roland Alexander, tenor sax & flute (#4)
Mal Waldron, piano; Addison Farmer, bass; Charlie Persip, drums.
Track #3: Kenny Burrell, guitar; Eustis Guillemet, bass; Ed Shaughnessy, drums
Tracks #7 & 11: Zoot Sims, tenor sax; Teddy Charles, vibes; Mal Waldron, piano; Kenny Burrell, guitar; Eustis Guillemet, bass; Ed Shaughnessy, drums.
Tracks #2,5,6,8: Teddy Charles, vibes; Mal Waldron, piano; Eustis Guillemet, bass
Charles Persip, drums.
Track #9: Zoot Sims, Roland Alexander, tenor saxes; Mal Waldron, piano; Kenny Burrell, guitar; Eustis Guillemet, bass; Ed Shaughnessy, drums.
Recorded in New York, 1961
Tracks #13 & 14: John Plonsky, trumpet; Carl Janelli, baritone sax; Dominic Cortese, accordion; Chet Amsterdam, bass; Mel Zelnick, drums
Recorded in New York, on March 5, 1957
Tracks #15 & 16: Jack Zimmerman and His Orchestra
Recorded in New York during summer, 1957
Arrangements by: Mal Waldron (#1,7,8,10,11), Teddy Charles (#2-3 & 6), Roland Alexander (#4,5), Bob Dorough (#9,12), John Plonsky (#13,14), Jack Zimmerman (#15,16)
Original recordings produced by Teddy Charles (#1-12) and Clark Galehouse (#13-16)
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Notes on 'Sings in a Tender Mood':
"A great little vocal session on Bethlehem – and maybe the only record we've ever seen from singer Betty Blake! Blake's a great vocalist right from the start – one who balances swing and sophistication wonderfully – amidst some very hip jazz backings from a combo that features Zoot Sims and Roland Alexander on tenor, Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Teddy Charles on vibes, Kenny Burrell on guitar, and Mal Waldron on piano! The set's got a bit more punch than some other Bethlehem vocal dates, but it also has a nice sense of spontaneity too – never over-arranged or too staid, in ways that really show off Blake's swinging side."
-Dusty Groove, Inc.