Barbara Dane (vcl), Benny Carter (tp), Herbie Harper (tb), Plas Johnson (ts), Earl Hines (p), Leroy Vinnegar (b), Shelly Manne (d), Kenny Whitson (cnt, p), Billy Strange (g), Wellman Braud (b), Earl Palmer (d)
Reference: FSRCD 781
Bar code: 8427328607810
Barbara Dane (1927) started her musical career in folk music and traditional jazz circles in the mid Forties, first in her native Detroit and then in San Francisco, where in 1954 she came into contact with some local jazz revivalists, including trombonist Bob Mielke and banjo player Dick Oxtot. During her high school years, she had received training as an operatic contralto, but Mielke and Oxtot encouraged her to probe further into the blues with their band, the Bearcats.
From the time she first stirred interest among aficionados and critics in San Francisco, she developed into virtually the only white singer of classic blues at the time. Both albums here, made in Los Angeles, where she moved to in 1958, show her in excellent company. On Livin with the Blues (1959), she belts out her message in an all-star group conducted by pianist Earl Hines. It is interesting to hear the splendid trumpet work of Benny Carter, Shelly Manne playing traditional drums, and Plas Johnson soloing to good effect in this context.
On My Way (1962) also presents a different side of Miss Danes expressiveness: a deep and fervent spirituality as fundamental as her blues. Her accompanying group included pianist and cornet player Kenny Whitson, whose performancesimultaneously in both instrumentsis astonishing, particularly on cornet. Barbara Dane is more than a singer, she is also a guitarist, passionately dedicated researcher, friend of forgotten pioneers, and sponsor of unpopular causes.
"Barbara Dane had quite a varied career, putting out material from gospel to folk, but her blues albums here on this single disc will surprise you. She sounds amazingly comfortable in the genre; of course, having Earl Fatha Hines orchestra with Benny Carter, Plas Johnson, Leroy Vinnegar and Shelly Manne sure doesnt hurt! She reaches for all shes got, and shes got plenty, on takes of How Long, How Long Blues and Mecca Flat Blues that would even impress Big Joe Turner. When she teams up with Kenny Whitsons Quartet in 1960, she sounds like she grew up during a church revival on believable takes on This Little Light of Mine The Hammer Song and Im On My Way. Get me to the church on time! This disc is a pleasant surprise-check it out!"
George W. Harris (July 29, 2013)