:: Here it is, zipped ::
The cover is enough to make any self respecting collector of goofy records silently scream, "SCORE!", upon finding it in the used bin. For one thing, it's Gordon Jenkins, who among orchestral arrangers of the 40s & 50s known for working with the likes of Judy Garland, Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra, set himself apart by being a bit... strange. Secondly, who knew he was married to a blues singer? And thirdly, who would ever guess this nice looking old white lady could sing the blues?
And here's the news: This nice old white lady can sing the blues, and this is a pretty good record. Although this sounds pretty white to my ears, it's not without soul or real emotion.
Prior to becoming Mrs. Jenkins in the mid-1940s, Beverly Mahr had spent years singing in various vocal groups on stage and radio all over the US and Canada. Mr. J used her talents in his somewhat overwrought magnum opus "Manhattan Tower" in 1946, and again later in "Seven Dreams", but mostly after marrying Gordon, she settled down in Malibu and raised kids. (She did make an appearance on Jenkins' somewhat bizarre contribution to Sinatra's Trilogy album in 1979.)
One might think that this album then was a bit of a lark for the two of them, and I'm sure it was, but given a lineup of crack jazz session men like Eddie Miller on tenor sax, Al Hendrickson on guitar, Jack Sperling on drums and Ray Sherman on piano, it's not to be taken lightly. Gordon Jenkins spares us his heavy handed arrangements this time around, with an approach closer to The Weavers (whom Jenkins championed in their early years) than to "September of My Years" for example.
The liner notes mention that the Jenkins had one of the largest collection of blues records in the world. What a wonderful estate sale that must've been.