Why Do I Love You? Her Complete Bethlehem Sessions (2 LP on 1 CD) + Bonus Tracks
  • Bethlehem BCP 1027
    Bethlehem BCP 1027
  • Bethlehem BCP 45
    Bethlehem BCP 45
  • Bethlehem BCP 1028
    Bethlehem BCP 1028
  • Helen Carr
    Helen Carr

Helen Carr

Why Do I Love You? Her Complete Bethlehem Sessions (2 LP on 1 CD) + Bonus Tracks

Fresh Sound Records

Helen Carr (vcl), Don Fagerquist, Cappy Lewis (tp), Frank Rosolino (tb), Charlie Mariano (as), Donn Trenner, Claude Williamson (p), Howard Roberts (g), Max Bennett, Red Mitchell, Charles Mingus (b), Stan Levey, Johnny Berger (d), LeRoy Holmes, Stan Kenton (dir)

Reference: FSRCD1103

Bar code: 8427328611039


Helen Carr (1922-1960) was one of those singers with an innate jazz feeling, sensitive phrasing, and a warm, unaffected sound, which she skillfully used to stamp her personality at any beat and fill each performance with an inescapable atmosphere.

She spent the late Forties working with the Chuck Foster and Buddy Morrow orchestras, and finally made her first major mark on the business in 1950, as the blonde singer in Charlie Barnet’s orchestra. Subsequently, she sang with the aggregations of Georgie Auld and Stan Kenton, and in between she sat in with Charlie Parker and Chet Baker at the Tiffany Club.

In 1954 Helen, gave up the band business to try her luck as a single. She appeared at the Crescendo club and elsewhere in Los Angeles, where she gained some traction, and Red Clyde, the West Coast producer for Bethlehem Records, signed Helen to the label. Her contract resulted in two excellent albums under her own name, as well as two songs she recorded as a guest singer in a Max Bennett date, with all sessions taking place in 1955.

Even though she died at a young age and remained largely unknown outside of the West Coast, Helen Carr left an undeniable mark as a jazz vocalist. Her recordings are few but sufficient to provide an eloquent example of how she understood a song and was able to communicate its essence to the listener.

—Jordi Pujol


Sample this album
Total time: 75:09 min.

01. Not Mine (Schertzinger-Mercer) 2:58
02. I Don’t Want to Cry Anymore (Victor Schertzinger) 5:12
03. Tulip Or Turnip (Ellignton-George) 2:21
04. Memory of the Rain (Trenner-Carr) 2:45
05. Down in the Depths of the 90th Floor (Cole Porter) 3:09
06. You're Driving Me Crazy (Walter Donaldson) 2:54
07. I'm Glad There Is You (Dorsey-Madeira) 2:58
08. Moments Like This (Loesser-Lane) 2:23
09. They Say (Heyman-Mann-Weiss) 3:03
10. Do You Know Why? (Van Heusen-Burke) 3:25
11. Be Careful, It's My Heart (Irving Berlin) 1:54
12. My Kind of Trouble Is You (Benny Carter) 3:54
13. Lonely Street (Villepigue-Carr) 2:19
14. Symphony (Alstone-Lawrence) 2:21
15. You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me (Warren-Dubin) 3:33
16. Bye Bye Baby (Styne-Robin) 2:28
17. Then You've Never Been Blue (Lewis-Young-Fiorito) 2:19
18. Summer Night (Warren-Dubin) 1:58
19. Got a Date with an Angel (Tunbridge-Waller-Grey-Miller) 3:41
20. Why Do I Love You? (Kern-Hammerstein II) 2:35
21. Do I Worry? (Cowan-Worth) 2:26
22. I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin' (Brown-Freed) 2:02
23. It's Beautiful (Skylar-Frisch) 2:47 *
24. Love Is a Serious Business (Tepper-Bennett-Schroeder) 2:37 *
25. Say It Isn't So (Irving Berlin) 2:37 *
26. Everything Happens to Me (Dennis-Adair. Arr. Bill Russo) 4:14 *

Album details

(*) Bonus Tracks

Tracks #1-8, from the 10-inch LP
"…Down in the Depths on the 90th Floor" (Bethlehem BCP 1027)
Tracks #9 & 10, taken from the 10-inch LP "Max Bennett" (Bethlehem BCP 1028)
Tracks #11-22, from the 12-inch LP "Why Do I Love You" (Bethlehem BCP 45)
Tracks #23 & 24, from the MGM 7” Single K12578
Track #25, from the 78rpm Dolphins of Hollywood 300-A
Track #26, from an NBC Broadcast of The Bob Snyder Show

Helen Carr, vocals in all tracks

Personnel on #1-8:
Don Fagerquist, trumpet; Charlie Mariano, alto sax; Donn Trenner, piano; Max Bennett, bass; Stan Levey, drums.
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, January 5, 1955

Personnel on #9-10:
Frank Rosolino, trombone; Charlie Mariano, alto sax; Claude Williamson, piano; Max Bennett, bass; Stan Levey, drums.
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, January 27, 1955

Personnel on #11-22:
Cappy Lewis, trumpet; Howard Roberts, guitar; Red Mitchell, bass.
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, November 11, 1955

Personnel on #23 & 24:
Orchestra and Chorus Conducted by LeRoy Holmes.
Recorded in New York City, October 1957

Personnel on #25:
Charles “Baron” Mingus and His Rhythm
Donn Trenner, piano; Charles Mingus, bass; Johnny Berger, drums.
Recorded in Los Angeles, March 1949

Personnel on #26:
The Stan Kenton Orchestra
Recorded at The Bob Snyder Show, Town Casino, Cleveland, Ohio, June 22, 1952

Original liner notes: Sid Garris & Joe Quinn
New Liner notes: Jordi Pujol
Cover and liner notes photos by Dave Pell © Fresh Sound Archives

Recordings produced by Red Clyde (#1-22), Morty Craft (#23 & 24), John Dolphin (#25)
This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol

Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas S.L.

Press reviews

"Fresh Sound poursuit la réédition de disques de chanteuses oubliées. Nous avions précédemment parlé de Rita Moss (FSRCD 983) et Lorez Alexandria (FSRCD 979). Voici Helen Carr (1922-1960), originaire de Salt Lake City, dans l'Utah. Elle prit ce nom à partir de son mariage en 1941 avec Walter Carr. Ils étaient séparés lorsqu'un pianiste, Don Trenner (1927-2020), la rencontre en 1945. Le couple, Helen et Don, est engagé dans l'Orchestre de Buddy Morrow (1947), puis de Chuck Foster (1947-48; notamment au Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans), Charlie Mingus (Los Angeles, 1949, Charlie Barnet (1950-51; occasion d'être filmés), Paul Nero (1952, avec Bud Shank, as), Georgie Auld (1952, avec Red Callender, b), Charlie Parker (Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, 1952, avec Chet Baker, tp), Stan Kenton (1952), Skinnay Ennis (1953).

Puis, Red Clyde des disques Bethlehem a voulu enregistrer une chanteuse. Après une audition, Helen Carr fut engagée et la première séance s'est tenue le 5 janvier 1955. Huit morceaux sont sortis sur le 33 tours 25 cm Down in the Depths of the 90th Floor(Bethlehem BCP 1027) qui ouvrent cette réédition. Helen Carr est une chanteuse expressive de tessiture soprano sans grande étendue de registre, mais elle est dotée d'un très bon timing ternaire. Son influence initiale fut Billie Holiday dont on retrouve la trace discrète dans certains maniérismes («You're Driving Me Crazy», «Moments Like This»). Dans son premier opus, Helen Carr aborde des standards en dehors d'un titre «Memory of the Rain» dont elle écrit les paroles et Don Trenner la musique. Tout au long de l'album, Trenner dévoile des qualités d'instrumentiste. Don Fagerquist (tp) et surtout Charlie Mariano (as) ont de l'espace pour s'exprimer en solo: «Not Mine» (bon jeu de balais; Helen annonce fortuitement Amy Winehouse!), «I Don't Want to Cry Anymore» et «Moments Like This» (Mariano est très parkerien), «Tulip or Turnip» et «I'm Glad There Is You» (très bons solos de Fagerquist), «You're Driving Me Crazy». Helen Carr démontre un sérieux talent, mais c'est à une époque où les grandes chanteuses sont légion. Ce premier disque est une réussite et, de nos jours, il est à la limite de l'indispensable.

Vingt-deux jours plus tard, elle fait une deuxième séance, sans Trenner et avec Frank Rosolino à la place de Fagerquist. Deux titres sont sortis sur un album de Max Bennett (Bethlehem BCP 1028). L'influence de Billie Holiday est plus marquée dans «They Say» (Williamson excellent, Mariano dans l'ombre du Bird, Rosolino remarquable de technique, Bennett et Levey impeccables). Rosolino ne joue pas dans «Do You Know Why?». Helen Carr retourne au studio le 11 novembre 1955 pour réaliser sous son nom une séance sans piano publiée sous le titre Why Do I Love You? (Bethlehem BCP 45). D'emblée, cet album s'impose grâce aux interventions du sous-estimé Cappy Lewis, plein de drive et très expressif! Le son de groupe sans piano ni batterie autour de la voix souvent sensuelle d'Helen Carr imposait cette réédition pour faire savoir à côté de quoi nous sommes passés. Cappy Lewis est incroyable («My Kind of Trouble Is You», «Summer Night»)! Toutes ses interventions sont de qualité avec la souplesse, le swing et les facilités de registre dont Warren Vaché fera preuve plus tard («Bye Bye Baby», «Why Do I Love You?»). Il ne joue pas dans «Lonely Street». Helen Carr quitte la Côte Ouest pour New York et, en octobre 1957, elle réalise un 45 tours commercial pour MGM (K12578) avec un orchestre et un chœur dirigés par LeRoy Holmes. A la suite de ça, Helen Carr retourne chez Charlie Barnet pour une tournée de dix-sept jours (1959) au cours de laquelle on lui découvre un cancer. Pour faire bonne mesure, ce CD se termine par un titre, «Say It Isn't So», tiré d'un 78 tours de Charlie Mingus (remarquable!) sur label Dolphins of Hollywood, et un autre, «Everything Happens to Me», extrait d'un show radiophonique avec Stan Kenton (1952) où Helen Carr est très influencée par Billie Holiday sans que ce soit ridicule ou insupportable. Un CD recommandé!"

—Michel Laplace
© Jazz Hot, 2022

"Helen Carr was arguably the most enigmatic performer in the annals of pre-1960s popular music – so much so that one struggles to find two people who agree on her date and place of birth. Currently 1922 and Salt Lake City are leading the field.

All we can say for certain is that in 1955 she recorded and released two long-playing vinyl albums on the Bethlehem label – Down In The Depths On The 90th Floor, and Why Do I Love You? Now Fresh Sound have released in one package what looks like just about everything she recorded in her relatively short life – cancer claimed her at only 37. That's the two Bethlehem albums plus a half dozen singles."

—Leon Nock (September 12, 2021)

"Barcelona-based Fresh Sound Records continues its service to jazz fans by coming up with previously obscure and overlooked vocalists that deserve a second and third listen. Here's the last find by the Sherlock Holmes of swinging singers.

As you'll find out in the liner notes to this album, Helen Carr's musical career was rather short and sweet, but you'd never guess the trajectory from these 1955-1957 sessions. She sounds a bit from the Christy-Connor mold, with a bit of Billie Holiday thrown into the vo-cool formula.

The first session from 55 has her with Angelenos Don Fagerquist/tp, Charlie Mariano/as, Donn Trenner/p, Max Bennet/b and Stan Levey/dr for a sassy Ellingtonian ditty “Tulip or Turnip” and spaciously floating with Mariano on the drummerless “I Don't Want to Cry Anymore” and getting intimate with Trenner on a delicate “I'm Glad There Is You”. With trombonist Frank Rosolino joining in, she's fun and cheerful on  “They Say”. Later in the year, she's in the sonata company of Cappy Lewis/tp, Howard Roberts/g and Red Mitchell/b for a cozy swing of “ Be Careful, It's My Heart” before she dims the lights for “Lonely Street”, sliding her lyrics like Lady Day during “You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me”. She also shows flexibility in a ringer of a 1949 thrown in session with Charles Mingus for “Say It Isn't So” and has a blast with Stan Kenton's Orchestra on “Everything Happens to Me”. This lady will knock you out in the 3rd round.

As with all of the Fresh Sound albums, the liner notes and session musician listings are complete and completely fascinating."

—George W. Harris (June 19, 2021)


10,95 €  (tax incl.)

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