ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
Linda Keene the Dixie Songbird’s · Complete Recordings
2-CD Box Set · 52-Pages Booklet including comprehensive essay,
complete sessionography, full recording details, rare photos & memorabilia
How is it that a popular singer who recorded with the likes of Jack Teagarden, Tony Pastor, Lennie Hayton and toured extensively with bands led by Red Norvo and Muggsy Spanier, is all but forgotten today?
Such is the unfortunate story of Linda Keene. Linda laid down more than 20 recordings during her career, appeared on a nationally syndicated radio program with Henry Levine, and even appeared in three early film “Soundies,” the precursors to today’s music videos.
Ultimate, lasting fame eluded her however and all of her recordings have languished on obscure 78 rpm records for eighty years. There have been a couple of scholarly articles over the years but the information in both is sparse and, at times, incorrect. The first was “Linda Keene - Leonard Feather’s Fave” published in The IAJRC Journal (International Association Of Jazz Record Collectors) in August of 2007 by Eves L. Raja. The second was four years later in 2011 in Doctor Jazz Magazine out of Holland by Opal L. Nations titled “Unlucky Woman – The Story of Linda Keene.” Unfortunately, Linda Keene never penned an autobiography so her story is only what can be pieced together from her various media notices, reviews of her recordings, and advertisements for her public appearances.
Scouring through articles from her early days in Mississippi and her first marriage in 1931 and through her ever-changing career up to her obituary in 1981, a more complete picture begins to appear. Most of these liner notes are compiled from countless newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. It’s an interesting story that brings to life this brilliant songstress and traces the highs and lows of her career.
01. BLUE AND DISILLUSIONED (Davis-Coots) 2:31
02. POOR BUTTERFLY (Golden-Hubbell) 2:23
03. WHITE SAILS (Kenny-Kenny-Archer) 3:18
04. OCTOROON (Harry Warren) 3:23
05. THE SHEIK OF ARABY (Smith-Wheeler-Snyder) 2:35
06. TEARS FROM MY INKWELL (Dixon-Warren) 3:58
07. YANKEE DOODLE (Traditional, arranged by Van Ess) 2:39
08. ESPECIALLY FOR YOU (Tucker-Grogan) 3:05
09. YOU’RE THE MOMENT IN MY LIFE (Henry Nemo) 2:54
10. AT THE BALALAIKA (Wright-Forrest-Posford-Stothart) 3:03
11. THE STARLIGHT HOUR (Parish-De Rose) 3:22
12. AS LONG AS I LIVE (Koehler-Arlen) 2:51
13. AC/DC CURRENT (Christian-Hampton-Goodman) 2:52
14. I LOVE YOU MUCH TOO MUCH (Olshey-Raye-Towber) 3:07
15. TIMES SQUARE SCUTTLE (Lennie Hayton) 2:34
16. ONE CIGARETTE FOR TWO (Metzger-Dougherty-Ryan) 3:04
17. FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (Hugh MacKay) 2:55
18. NUMBER TEN LULLABY LANE (Warren-Carlton) 2:32
19. STRICTLY FROM DIXIE (Henry Levine) 3:03
20. EMBRACEABLE YOU (G. & I. Gershwin) 3:07
21. SOMEBODY LOVES ME (McDonald-DeSylva-Gershwin) 3:00
22. MOUND BAYOU (Feather-Razaf) 3:10
01. GEORGIA ON MY MIND (Gorrell-Carmichael) 3:08
02. WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS (Creamer-Layton) 3:07
03. SHINE (Mack-Brown-Dabney) 3:01
04. SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME (G. & I. Gershwin) 3:02
05. JA-DA (Bob Carleton) 2:59
06. FRANKIE AND JOHNNY (Traditional) 3:04
07. WHEN MY SUGAR WALKS DOWN THE STREET (Austin-McHugh-Mills) 3:03
08. ROMANCE (Walter Donaldson) 3:57
09. ZERO HOUR (Chuck Wayne) 3:49
10. JOE-JOE JUMP (Joe Marsala) 4:06
11. UNLUCKY WOMAN (Carol & Leonard Feather) 4:14
12. BLUES IN THE STORM (Leonard Feather) 4:51
13. DON’T LET IT END (Joe Marsala) 3:52
14. GEE BABY, AIN’T I GOOD TO YOU? (Redman-Razaf) 2:57
15. I DON’T STAND A GHOST OF A CHANCE WITH YOU (Crosby-Washington-Young) 2:39
16. BLUES ON MY WEARY MIND (Leonard Feather) 2:59
17. I MUST HAVE THAT MAN (Fields-McHugh) 2:44
18. MUDDY WATER (Trent-De Rose-Richman) 2:30
19. ONE FOR MY BABY (Mercer-Arlen) 4:14
Sources CD 1
Tracks #1 & 2: Vocalion v4499
Tracks #3 & 4: Brunswick 8388
Tracks #5-7: Giants of Jazz GOJ-1038
Tracks #8 & 9: Brunswick 8431
Tracks #10 & 11: Varsity 8125
Track #12: Varsity 8134
Tracks #13 & 15: Vocalion 5471
Tracks #14 & 16: Vocalion 5421
Tracks #17 & 18: Bluebird B-11067
Tracks #19-22: Victor Album P-119
Sources CD 2
Tracks #1-4: Victor Album P-119
Tracks #5-7: Minoco Soundies
Tracks #8 & 9: Black & White 1201
Tracks #10 & 13: Black & White 1202
Tracks #11 & 12: Black & White 1203
Tracks #14 & 16: Black & White BW19
Tracks #15 & 17: Black & White BW20
Tracks #18 & 19: Gold Star acetate
Personnel on CD 1
Tracks #1-2: BOBBY HACKETT and His Orchestra
Bobby Hackett, cornet; Brad Gowans, valve trombone, alto sax; PeeWee Russell, clarinet; Ernie Caceres, baritone sax; Dave Bowman, piano; Eddie Condon, guitar; Clyde Newcombe, bass; Andy Picard, drums; Linda Keene, vocals (#1).
Recorded in New York, November 4, 1938
Tracks #3-4: JACK TEAGARDEN and His Orchestra
Charlie Spivak, Lee Castle, Carl Garvin, trumpets; Jack Teagarden, trombone, vocal (#4), director; Jose Gutierrez,Mark Bennett, Charles McCamish, trombones; Clint Garvin, Art St. John, clarinets, alto saxes; John Van Eps, Hub Lytle, tenor saxes, clarinets; Ernie Caceres, baritone & tenor sax, clarinet; John Anderson, piano; Allan Reuss, guitar; ArtMiller, bass; Clois Teagarden, drums; Linda Keene, vocals (#3).
Recorded in New York, May 5, 1939
Tracks #5-7: JACK TEAGARDEN and His Orchestra
Charlie Spivak, Lee Castle, Carl Garvin, trumpets; Jack Teagarden, trombone, vocal, director; Jose Gutierrez, Mark Bennett, Charles McCamish, trombones; Ernie Caceres, John Van Eps, Clint Garvin, Art St. John, Hub Lytle, saxes, clarinets; John Anderson, piano; Allan Reuss, guitar; Art Miller, bass; Clois Teagarden, drums; Linda Keene, vocals.
Recorded Broadcast, Fitch Summer Bandwagon Show, New York, June 4, 1939
Tracks #8-9: JACK TEAGARDEN and His Orchestra
Charlie Spivak, Lee Castle, Carl Garvin, trumpets; Jack Teagarden, trombone, vocal, director; Jose Gutierrez,Mark Bennett, CharlesMcCamish, trombones; Clint Garvin, Art St. John, clarinets, alto saxes; John Van Eps, Hub Lytle, tenor saxes, clarinets; Ernie Caceres, baritone & tenor sax, clarinet; John Anderson, piano; Allan Reuss, guitar; Art Miller, bass; Clois Teagarden, drums; Linda Keene, vocals.
Recorded in New York, June 23, 1939
Tracks #10-16: LENNIE HAYTON and His Orchestra
Bill Graham, John Dillard, George Jaffe, trumpets; Walter Mercurio, Wendell de Lory, trombones; Mike Doty, Slats Long, clarinets, alto saxes; John Sadola,Willard Brady, tenor saxes; Lennie Hayton, piano, leader; Dave Barbour, guitar; Bernie Friedland, bass; Bunny Shawker, drums; Linda Keene, vocals (#10,11,14 & 16).
Recorded in New York, December 7 (#10-12), 1939; and February 20 (#13-16), 1940
Tracks #17-18: TONY PASTOR Orchestra
Probable personnel:Max Kaminsky, Irving Berger, Bill Robbins, Charles Trotta, trumpets; Henry Singer, Bill Abel, Ray Noonan, trombones; Hank Freeman, Johnny McAfee, clarinets, alto saxes, vocals; Tony Pastor, tenor sax, vocal, director; Stuart Anderson, tenor sax; Les Burness, piano; Al Avola, guitar; Marvin Wittstein, bass; Johnny Morris, drums; Linda Keene (#18), Dorsey Anderson (#17 & 18), vocals.
Recorded in New York, February 18, 1941
Tracks #19-22: LINDA KEENE with HENRY LEVINE and His STRICTLY FROM DIXIE JAZZ BAND
Henry “Hot Lips” Levine, trumpet, leader; Al Philburn, trombone; Alfie Evans, clarinet; Rudolph Adler, tenor sax; Mario Janarro, piano; Tony Colucci, guitar; Harry Patent, bass; Nat Levine, drums; Linda Keene, vocals (#20-22).
Recorded in New York, February 2, 1942
Personnel on CD 2
Tracks #1-4: LINDA KEENE with HENRY LEVINE and His STRICTLY FROM DIXIE JAZZ BAND
Henry “Hot Lips” Levine, trumpet, leader; Al Philburn, trombone; Alfie Evans, clarinet; Rudolph Adler, tenor sax; Mario Janarro, piano; Tony Colucci, guitar; Harry Patent, bass; Nat Levine, drums; Linda Keene, vocals (#1,2, & 4).
Recorded in New York, February 4, 1942
Tracks #5-7: LINDA KEENE with HENRY LEVINE and His STRICTLY FROM DIXIE JAZZ BAND
Henry “Hot Lips” Levine, trumpet, leader; Al Philburn, trombone; Alfie Evans, clarinet; Rudolph Adler, tenor sax; Mario Janarro, piano; Tony Colucci, guitar; Harry Patent, bass; Nat Levine, drums; Linda Keene, vocals.
Recorded at Minoco Productions, New York, RCA Studios, January 19, 1942
Tracks #8-13: LINDA KEENE with JOE MARSALA and His ORCHESTRA
JoeMarsala, clarinet; Joe Thomas, trumpet; Charlie Queener (out #11), Leonard Feather, piano (#11, solo only #12); Chuck Wayne, guitar; Irving Lang, bass; Buddy Christian, drums; Adele Girard, harp (#8-10); Linda Keene, vocals (#11 & 12).
Recorded in New York, November 29, 1944
Tracks #14-17: LINDA KEENE with CHARLIE SHAVERS
Charlie Shavers, trumpet; Aaron Sachs, clarinet; Red Norvo (#15), vibes; Joe Springer, piano; Remo Palmieri, guitar; Clyde Lombardi, bass; Eddie Dell, drums; Linda Keene, vocals.
Recorded in New York, February 16, 1945
Tracks #18-19: LINDA KEENE
Linda Keene, vocals; unknown piano, guitar.
Recorded at Gold Star Recording Studio, Hollywood, early 1950s
Discography by James Harrod
Liner notes by Scott Henderson
Produced by James Harrod and Jordi Pujol
© 2022 by Fresh Sound Records
Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas S.L.
"Just when you think you’ve heard every canary from the big band era like Helen Ward, Helen Forrest or Martha Tilton, Fresh Sound Records digs up the virtually unknown Linda Keene, who was the vocalist for bands including Jack Teagarden, Tony Pastor, Bobby Hackett and Lennie Hayton before teaming up with Henry Levine’s Strictly From Dixie Jazz Band.
As you can tell, for the most part Keene was associated with “traditional” sounding bands, aka “Chicago” or “New Orleans”, but, hey, this was the Big Band Era, so everything recorded had a swing feel to it. Keene has a tone in the warm school of Forrest and Tilton, easy on the ears for “Blue and Disillusioned” with Hackett (along with Pee Wee Russell/cl and Eddie Condon/g) and sounding comfy with Teagarden’s band on a fun “Yankee Doodle” and “Tears From My Inkwell”. Hayton’s Orchestra, including guitarist Dave Barbour, has Keene in uptown swing form on “At The Starlight Hour” and the Ellingtonian “I Love You Much Too Much”. In 1941 she fronts Tony Pastor’s band, sharing the vocals with Dorsey Anderson on cozy “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”
She spent a couple of years with Levine’s Dixie Jazz Band, giving an impressive read of “Georgia On My Mind” and sounding believable on “Someone to Watch Over Me”. A bluesy meeting with Joe Marsala’s Orchestra, which included Leonard Feather/p, Joe Thomas/tp and Chuck Wayne/g along with the clarinet leader, having Keene tap into her inner Peggy Lee on “Unlucky Woman” and “Blues in the Storm”. Most fun and modern is her stint with trumpeter Charlie Shavers in a smaller unit, and Keene sounding delightful on “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” and a drenched “Blues On My Weary Mind”. A spartan early 50s session with guitar and piano has her in a rowdy mood for “Muddy Water” and out Sinatra-ing on “One For My Baby”. Included are all of the session notes, and a great 52-page booklet giving you some background on this lady. How did we miss this?"
—George W. Harris (June 16, 2022)