Saturday, December 29, 2007

New From SSJ

Diane's third CD, "You Inspire Me," re-issued in Japan! With a new cover, AND a new bonus track featuring the singer, with the great seven-string-guitarist Howard Alden - that makes EIGHT guitarists playing on this wonderful CD. Other players include: Gene Bertoncini, Paul Bollenback, John Hart, Romero Lubambo, Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola, Jack Wilkins.

Titles include Frankie duetting with himself, thanks to overdubs, on "Adios" -- plus "Hello Young Lovers", "Impossible", "Next Time", "So In Love", "Speak Low", "The Only One", "A Wonderful Day Like Today", and "The Rules Of The Road". CD also features the bonus track "Samantha" -- dedicated to the lead character in Bewitched! All arranged and conducted by jazz great Marty Paich.


From Dick Noel, a singer who scored big early in his career while working for the Ray Anthony band, but then eventually disappeared into a quiet life of singing radio jingles while living in Chicago! This 1980s album was done in collaboration with pianist Larry Novak. The mixture of vocals and piano is handled wonderfully in the production -- spare and spacious enough to let Noel's maturing vocals find just the right approach on this batch of well-chosen tunes. Titles include "Once Upon A Summertime", "Why Did I Choose You", "My Own Space", "Emily", "A Time For Love", "Send In The Clowns", and "Here's That Rainy Day". Linder notes by Mel Torme.


The only full album ever recorded by Flo Bennett, a singer who started in Denver, moved to LA in the 1950s, and carved out a successful career as a demo singer for songwriters. This is her only commercial recording. Arranged by Ernie Freeman, and featuring such jazz notables as Plas Johnson, and Irving Ashby. A mix of standards (“You Turned the Tables on Me” etc.) and never-before-recorded Bennett song discoveries.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Greetings from SSJ Artist, Pinky Winters

SSJ sales on line

Add Eastwind Import to the list of cyber sellers now stocking CDs from SSJ.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pinky Sings!

Last December 15 in Tokyo, SSJ artist Pinky Winters performed at the city's TUC Club. The recorded results of that occasion were released on her 2007 CD World on a String: Pinky Winters Sings Sinatra Live in Tokyo. Several tracks, however, were not included on the album, namely---given the December performance date--- those of a seasonal holiday nature. Here is one of those songs, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Swing Journal September 2007 review


English translation forthcoming


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Review from Record Collectors magazine (Japan) November 2007

The lone album of Carole Creveling, a so-called "one shot wonder" singer who was carried away by the undertow of rock and roll in the late 50s and early 60s, has been bartered in the rare record market at very high prices. Further, interest in her has been accelerated greatly due to the fact that there isn't much information concerning her. That mystery is written about both interestingly and amusingly by Bill Reed in his liner notes which detail his struggles to research her.

Here, Carole sings mainly standards with the background of a quartet that includes guitarist Jimmy Wyble.

Just like the picture on the jacket in which she appears to be emerging from the ocean, her voice sounds as if the salt air has brought a slight huskiness to it. And a quite fascinating voice it is. Also, we are blessed with two sides of an extremely rare single added as bonus tracks. The best added cut, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, also happens to be the only one on which pianist Lou Levy is heard.

--- Keizo Takada (trans. by J.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"The Talk of the Town"

The following appeared in the Mainichi Shinbun 9/10/07 Tokyo Evening Edition (translation follows)




米のマイナーレーベル「ユーターピアン」原盤で、このアルバムの12曲と今回SSJが追加収録したシングル2曲しか録音していない。ルイジアナ出身という以外、生死の情報もないという超のつく幻度。1950年代半ばの西海岸モダンに乗って素直にスイングする歌唱は好ましい。にしても、マニアはLPを探すのだろうが。【川崎浩】 毎日新聞 2007年9月10日 東京夕刊

This Week's Reporter's Choice is This! A Reprinted CD of an Extremely Rare Phantom Singer
by Hiroshi Kawasaki, Mainichi Shinbun 9/10/07 Tokyo Evening Edition (translated from the Japanese by J.)

People not into jazz can't even begin to grasp certain aspects of that world. They might understand the ordinary collector who tracks down and collects objects in which they're interested, but the jazz fan's pursuit is very different in both quality and volume. It is very common for these people to possess many recordings, with intense studying of the musicians involved and the labels being a part of the process. Also it's not rare for these people to own audio equipment costing many thousands of dollars. Among this group, it is a very usual practice to seek out rare albums and/or first issue or first printings of albums. They may even make a trip to the U.S. in search of such records. Among those rare albums, fans have especially targeted “Here Comes Carole Creveling,” which has just been released on CD by the Sinatra Society of Japan and has quickly become the talk of the town.

The recording was originally released in the U.S. on the minor label, Euterpean. The original album consisted of twelve songs. The CD also contains one single that Creveling recorded. How phantom she is (or was) can be illustrated by the fact that the only known information about her is that she hails from Louisiana [sic]*. Beyond that, there is no information, not even whether she is dead or alive.

Creveling sings in a modern, mid-fifties West Coast style that is very likeable. Despite this CD release, are music maniacs still trying to find that original LP? I wonder.

* This was incorrectly remembered by one of the surviving musicians on the singer's record date. Also, since the 9/10/07 publication of this article, Carole Creveling has at last surfaced and is no long the phantom singer that she once was. (see below)

update: For a limited time only, the Dusty Groove site now has copies of "Here Comes" in stock AND at a reasonable price.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A phone call from Carole Creveling!

Carole Creveling is a woman of her word. Just as she promised her sister (see previous post), singer Creveling (not her last name nowadays) called me this morning. And make that "erstwhile singer," for her 1955 LP "Here Comes Carole Creveling vol. 1"---there was never a v.2--- and a 45 from the next year mark just about the only professional entertainment activity for Carole, who was still a teenager when she recorded the album. Along with "Whatever Happened To CC," the other question mark hanging over my head for the past year-or-so is how the making of the disc came to pass, i.e. an unknown singer on a one-off record label emanating from a sleepy Southern California beach resort (she continues to reside in SoCal) that still managed to receive a major and favorable review in the bigtime music mag Down Beat.

Carole explained to me that the album was the brainchild of a couple who owned a music store in Laguna Beach, where Carole lived, and sensed that she not only possessed great potential as a singer but also realized that at age eighteen she was quite ready for a trip into the recording studio. As to exactly what studio it was in L.A. where the album was recorded is lost in the dim recesses of time and Carole's memory. My guess is the historic Radio Recorders. But she was more-or-less aware that the musicians who accompanied her were important studio players, especially Jimmy Wyble and Bill Baker from the album session and Lou Levy, Chuck Flores and Max Bennett on the followup single. She knew, for example, that Levy was an accompanist for major singers in addition to his career as a solo artist.

Meanwhile, she is deeply flattered at all the attention her recording is finally receiving. All in due time, I suppose, is the moral here. One surmises that she still sings around the house, but much like Jo Stafford told me one time, Carole said she wouldn't dream of singing again in public without a great deal of woodshedding (not that she's even contemplating doing so). Stafford also left the business in favor of home and family. In Creveling's case, however, she'd barely got her feet wet in the entertainment profession before walking away from it.

Talking with this very pleasant and charming woman on the phone this morning was just like chatting with someone I've known all my life. She could not have been more charming and accommodating.
---Bill Reed

Listen to "Now We Know" from "Here Comes Carole Creveling" now available on SSJ Records (Japan)


September 2007 SSJ Records releases

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This just in. . .

"Detective Bill Reed" (see previous post) has finally tracked down jazz singer Carole Creveling after more than a year of searching for her!

I was first attracted to Carole when I became aware of the huge amounts that record collectors were paying for the ultra-scarce 1955 LP, "Here Comes Carole Creveling." But the album, when I finally was able to hear it, turned out to be uncommonly good and I have spent many hours since then trying to learn more details about the genesis of this vinyl wonder. I even went so far as to shepherd the release of this LP as a CD in Japan. It came out only this week in that country and has already garnered several highly favorable reviews.

Last week I finally unearthed a party who was undoubtedly a relation of Carole's. It turned out to be her sister.

How I finally found Carole Creveling's sister is a story best left for some other long night around the camp fire. (But I do need to acknowledge the Watson-like advice of Page Cavanaugh Fan Number One, Larry Canova.) Today I have had two phone conversations with Creveling's sibling. She assures me that this near-legendary phantom singer will phone me this weekend to fill me in on all the details about her brief but fascinating career. I can hardly wait. It should be added that Carole has gone about her daily activities, which include a full-time job, entirely unaware of the steadily increasing interest in her half-century-old one-off.

What I have learned thus far is that Carole recorded the album---believe it or not---when she was only 18 years old. She sounds years more mature on "Here Comes Carole Creveling." How it came to be made is something I have yet to learn. However, I now know this much: Carole is alive and well and still living in Southern California. And. . .she turns out to be not nearly as advanced in years as I might have assumed judging from the mature sound of her voice on the 1955 album.

To cut to the chase, by the time Carole was twenty she had married, and had left (so to speak) the business. One that she was barely a part of to begin with. Soon she was a full-time mother and wife and apparently never gave much more thought to a professional singing career. Motherhood's gain was jazzdom's loss.

I look forward to hearing from Carole herself this weekend.


In addition to an article in the September issue of Swing Journal (Japan) and coverage in a recent Mainichi Shinbun, here is a nice entry about SSJ's Carole Creveling CD that has just appeared on the Japanese blog of distinguished jazz critic Makoto Gotoh . It is followed by an English translation.

音楽的な興味に加えて、将来の養老年金のためにも是非1枚入手したい(ビル・リード)  たった1枚のレコードを残して消息を絶った女性歌手。その消息を探す旅というのは、マニアにとってワクワクするような企画だ。ライナーを書いたビル・リードは、アマゾン秘境を探検する川口浩か、埋蔵金を求め巨大ブルドーザーであちこちを掘削し続ける糸井重里のように、可能な限りの証言と資料を求めて放浪するが、結局、彼女の居場所はつかめない。《それは、才能的にトップクラスとはいえなくとも(実際にはかなり上手いシンガーだったが)、彼女のアルバム“Here Comes Carole Creveling”がコレクター市場に出ると相当の値段になるからである。タイトルには“Volume One”とついているが、続編は作られなかったはずだ。もし存在するなら、音楽的な興味に加えて、将来の養老年金のためにも是非1枚入手したいところだ。(中略)現地の公立図書館へ行き、1955年ごろの電話帳にCarole Crevelingを見つけた。そして同じ住所にGeorge W. and Florine Creveling。キャロルの両親だろうか? しかしその住所にCreveling姓の家は存在しなかった。アルバム・カバーのように、キャロルが海から現れることを半分期待していたが、願いは見事に打ち砕かれてしまった》 1955年に録音された唯一?のアルバムに、その翌年発表されたシングル用の2曲を追加しての復刻。当時売り出し中のクリス・コナー(ほどではないが)を思わせる、ほどよくハスキーな声質、素朴な歌唱がどこか愛おしい。 こういう作品が復刻されることは、同じ名盤だけが何度も繰り返して復刻される状況よりも、少なからず意義深い。この再発で彼女に対する認識が高まり、リードも調べられなかった新事実が判明するかもしれない。リード探偵の活躍に幸多かれ。2007年8月22日発売。XQAM-1021

"Besides the Musical Interest, I Would Love to Find a Copy [of v.2] for My Retirement Plan”

By: Makoto Gotoh

Finding the whereabouts of a female vocalist who vanished completely after leaving one record behind can prove a real challenge for an otokichi [Japanese slang for a sound maniac]. Bill Reed, who wrote the liner notes for this CD, like [actor and explorer] Hiroshi Kawaguchi, who explores deep in the Amazon or [notable essayist and ad copy writer] Shigesato Itoi, who uses a gigantic bulldozer in his attempts to hit a jackpot of buried treasures here and there, Reed meanders hither and yon in pursuit of witnesses and materials relating to singer Carole Creveling. Nevertheless, he was finally unable to find her.

Reed writes that Creveling is of interest: “If not by dint of talent (although she‘s quite good), then by virtue of the relatively large sums of money that her lone LP, Here Comes Carole Creveling, from 1955, have fetched in recent times on the collectors’market. . . The album jacket bore the legend “Volume One,” implying that a sequel was forthcoming. But there was never, to the best of my knowledge, a volume two. If there was, I’d love to have a copy, not only for its intrinsic musical value, but also for the nice addition to my retirement fund its eventual sale would unquestionably provide.“

Reed visited a local public library: “ First off, I checked old phone books (circa 1955) in the public library. Sure enough, not only was there a Carole Creveling listed (without question the dame---to employ a bit of Chandlerian argot---I was looking for), but there also resided at the same address George W. and Florine Creveling. Daughter, father and mother? Today, however, there is no longer a sign of any resident bearing that family name in Laguna Beach. (I’ll confess that I half expected her to come wading out of the Pacific Ocean a la the cover of “Here Comes. . .“).

What we have here is the only album (?) recorded in 1955 along with two sides of a 45 that came out the next year and have been re-discovered. Her style reminds us of Chris Connor (but not quite), nevertheless the husky voice, not overwhelmingly so, is quite lovely and subdued.

Unlike the classic albums that keep getting re-issued over and over again, such works being re-printed have great significance. With Carole Creveling’s release, we may see more interest in her and may find out some new facts Reed could not uncover. I wish Detective Reed the best.

translated from the Japanese by J.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thursday, June 7, 2007

In August of this year, SSJ Records (Japan) will be releasing a CD version of a much-sought-after jazz vocal recording, "Here Comes Carole Creveling." In my capacity as a release producer for the label, it is my responsibility to write liner notes for the issue. But as should be obvious from the following, this has not been an easy task.
--- Bill Reed
In recent months, fifties jazz singer Carole Creveling has become an obsession for me; a “Rosebud“; a conundrum wrapped in a riddle. A post-bop Dark Lady of the Sonnets, if you will. Let me explain.

In December 2006 I gave a talk before the Tokyo Vocal Jazz Appreciation Society dealing with the subject of (for the most part) perfectly fine U.S. jazz and jazz-oriented singers who cut one album (circa 1955-1965) and then more-or-less fell through the cracks of phonographic history never to be heard from again. The complicating factor being, of course, the tsunami of rock and roll that, beginning in the mid-1950s, roared across the landscape of popular music sweeping away almost everything non-rock in its path. The “victims” included some 265 (and still counting) singers that I have thus far isolated on my master list of “One Shot Wonders,” the title---by the way---of my TVJAS presentation.

Afterward, some of us adjourned to Cafe Albert
The roster of OSW names begins with: Adams, India (movie “ghost singer” for Cyd Charisse) - Comfort Me With Apples - RCA (1959), and concludes with Yancy, Emily - Yancy - Mainstream (1965), with stops along the way, in between, for such long-forgotten and (in some instances) deceased singers as Deno Kannes (d. 2004), Betty Blake (d. 2001), et al. The one thing that nearly all on this roll call have in common is that they started out with an eye on the prize of being the next Frank or Ella, but instead ended up---if lucky---working the hotel lounge circuit. And. . . never to record again.

If my list were not strictly alphabetical, there’s no question that Carole Creveling would be at the very top. If not by dint of talent (although she’s quite good), then by virtue of the relatively large sums of money that her lone LP, Here Comes Carole Creveling, from 1955, have fetched in recent times on the collectors’market. Even for copies that appear as though they might have been run over by a Mack truck and then left out in the sun all day for thermal reconfiguration. The album jacket bore the legend “Volume One,” implying that a sequel was forthcoming. But there was never, to the best of my knowledge, a volume two. If there was, I’d love to have a copy, not only for its intrinsic musical value, but also for the nice addition to my retirement fund its eventual sale would unquestionably provide.

One of the reasons for the upwards of a thousand dollars for which “Here Comes…” has sold in recent times is its sheer scarcity. Very few copies are known to exist. It also helps that one of the players in the group backing the singer is the wonderful and widely-respected guitarist Jimmy Wyble. The Texas-born player began his career in the mid-1940s with no less than Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and never looked back throughout the coming years, appearing and touring with the varied likes of Benny Goodman, Spade Cooley, Red Norvo, and. . .Frank Sinatra (he can be heard on FS‘s “Live in Australia, 1959“).

The skimpy liner notes on the back of the LP ask “Who is Carole Creveling?“ but then as Nat Hentoff, one of the most esteemed jazz critics of the era, complains in his review of the recording in the 1/25/56 issue of Down Beat magazine, “the totally inadequate notes tell us nothing” about a singer who he goes on to praise for a “warmly promising beginning.” Thus, the skyrocketing cost of the original LP perhaps also arises not just from its scarcity, but also, perhaps, the mystery surrounding the recording. Who is Carole Creveling, indeed? More than a half-century later, it is a question that continues to cry out for an answer.

“Carole just sings,” continues Hentoff. “She doesn’t need or use gimmicks. She has taste, generally good phrasing, and a pleasant lightly husky sound.” He goes on to single out good-enough-for-Sinatra guitarist Jimmy Wyble for praise. Significantly, this is the only review of the recording, or even mention of Creveling, that I have been able to uncover in any publication of the era. I did not include the singer in my Tokyo talk. For what is there left to say about her except that. . . there is nothing to say! Thus it was that, in early 2007, returned from my latest trip to Japan, I set about, Lupin-like, to solve the puzzle of this Phantom Singer (as one Japanese blogger deems Creveling).

My first act was to ring up one-off Creveling sideman Wyble, Surely, he could help me crack the case. But with a career stretching back over hundreds of studio sessions over more than half-a-century, Wyble could remember next-to-nothing. Only that---underscoring the oftentimes ironic aspect of selective memory---“She wore glasses, came to the recording session with her mother, and hailed originally---I think---from Louisiana.” Considering that much studio time has passed under the bridge since he worked with the singer in ‘55, it is an understandable long term memory lapse.

Still, Wyble’s slight recollections were better than two of the equally highly-employed sidemen of the era, bassist Max Bennett and drummer Chuck Flores, who were part of the trio (along with pianist Lou Levy who died in 2001) heard backing the singer on her lone 45 rpm, released immediately subsequent to the LP. Unlike Wyble, they could remember nothing, not even that she might have worn a red dress to the date. My deerstalker cap knocked only slightly askew place, I forged on.

With such an obscure last name---there are only 317 Crevelings (Dutch origin Grevelink) in the U.S. phone book--- tracking down at least something about Carole would surely prove a piece of cake. I even found an address for an actual “Carole Creveling”. . . and in California, yet! But a letter to her went unanswered. And dozens and dozens of emails and phone calls to various other Crevelings around the country yielded nothing. Not even the semi-official genealogist of the family could help. And as for that “Carole Creveling” who didn’t answer my letter. No matter. “That’s my sister,“ the genealogist told me. It turns out that: “She's a school teacher, not a singer. In fact, she can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

And those letters and emails marked only the very beginning of my quest, which also included trips to various research facilities, and attempts to contact other musicians and songwriters connected with the Creveling LP. All proved dead-ends. As for the internet. Forget about it. There’s next to nothing there.

Next, I would try to find out something about Euterpean Records (Euterpe, for those of you out of the loop, was the Greek muse of music), the label that had released “Here Comes. . ..“

Creveling’s recording---with its ETP 101 catalogue number---was most likely the label‘s first release (was there ever an ETP 102?). From the back of the LP, I learned that Euterpean had operated out of Laguna Beach, California, located some 25 miles south of Los Angeles. Doubtlessly this was the only record label ever located there. In early May 2007, I took a drive down to the laid back coastal artists’ colony.

First off, I checked old phone books (circa 1955) in the public library. Sure enough, not only was there a Carole Creveling listed (without question the dame---to employ a bit of Chandlerian argot---I was looking for), but there also resided at the same address George W. and Florien Creveling. Daughter, father and mother? Today, however, there is no longer a sign of any resident bearing that family name in Laguna Beach. (I’ll confess that I half expected her to come wading out of the Pacific Ocean a la the cover of “Here Comes. . .“).

Most likely, then, Euterpean Records was a short-lived mom-and-pop operation, with Here Comes Carole Creveling the label’s lone release. That was all that I gleaned from my first---but unlikely to be my last---expedition to Laguna Beach.

Former Creveling house in Laguna Beach

Former Euterpean Records “headquarters”
Even if Carole Creveling but dipped her toe in the waters of show biz (did she ever appear “live” anywhere?), decided that it wasn't for her after all, got married, moved to the midwest and taught high school music for the rest of her professional life?, still I am interested in her story. It can’t help but shed a bit more light on the subject of the jazz life of the late fifties and early sixties.

Carole Creveling would at least be in her mid-seventies today. I hope I can find her. Talk about falling below radar!

For future developments and updates on The Case of the Phantom Jazzette, check back here on a regular basis. And if you have any thoughts regarding Creveling's whereabouts, mo or cv, please let me know.

Link to Japanese CC site #1 (with mp3)
Link to Japanese CC site #2
Advance orders here


SSJ Releases June 2007

Barbara Lea: A Woman in Love + 2
Carl Saunders: Blues on the Side
Perry Como: In Italy
For all your SSJ needs, try Dusty Groove or All Music Services