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Monday, March 19, 2018

Slightly Baroque - The Anita Kerr Singers

Slightly Baroque
The Anita Kerr Singers
Vocal and Orchestral Arrangements by Anita Kerr
Produced by Dick Glasser
Conductor: Dick Marx
Engineer: Eddie Brackett
Art Directions: Ed Thrasher
Warner Bros. Records, Inc. WS 1665

Available from online vendors so I will not be posting a sample. Presented here to share the cover art and the following Billboard article.

From Billboard - December 17, 1976: Anita Kerr's key to success is singing softly. This soft sound is the trademark of the Anita Kerr Singers, the current version working in local studios after blazing a path in Nashville.

A resident of Southern California for the past year, Miss Kerr formed a new singing group in November and recently signed with Warner Bros. Records as an artist.

"It's harder to sing softly because of arrangements, but once you get used to it, it's easier on your voice," she said, "and ballads sound better when you move in on the mike and sing softly."

"With Anita," added her producer Dick Glasser, "you have to instruct everybody to play softer to accommodate the voices. The trick is to keep everything down."

Turns Up Controls

Commenting on the differences between recording in Nashville and L.A., Miss Kerr noted that California singers stand farther back from their microphones. A&R man Glasser says this forces the engineer to turn up the controls on their mikes, allowing instruments to leak into their mikes.

Because she came here with hardly any contacts, Miss Kerr had to seek out the right singers for her quartet. Her current group consists of B. J. Baker, alto; Gene Merlino, tenor, and Bob Tebow, bass-high baritone and the leader, with a vocal mixture of alto-soprano.

Until singing with WB, the Anita Kerr Singers were tied to RCA. "I got a release from the contract," she explained, "so I could do independent arranging. I wanted to work for different groups."

She has worked for Brook Benton, the Living Voices, Lorne Greene, Pete Jolly, Molly Bee and Johnny Sea. She recalls that on some dates, male musicians have given her some trouble. She credits this to their unfamiliarity with female arrangers.

Own Arranger

As vocal group leader, she writes all the arrangements to fit her soft sound. As an independent packager, she came up with the Mexicali Singers which WB releases. This is a large vocal sound, imitating instruments and propelled by a heavier beat than usual for a Kerr Group.

There have been three albums by this group, "The Mexicali Singers," "The Anita Kerr Orchestra" and "Further Adventures of the Mexicali Singers." The first LP promoting the Kerr Singers is the new "Slightly Baroque."

When arranging, Miss Kerr decides on a tempo and then thinks about what she wants the voices to do. "I hear their parts in my head," she explains. She rehearsed the new group three months before recording the baroque LP to establish the correct vocal blend.

Miss Kerr is considering developing a nightclub act for the group. "We've always been thought of as a background group (primarily through her Nashville sessions). But I would like the group to have a fore-ground identity.

From Billboard - November 26, 1966: The touch of baroque set to pop hits combined with the superb blend of the Kerr Singers, adds up to a giant package. Marking the Warner Bros. debut of the group, producer Dick Glasser has made a wise choice of material from "Mona Lisa" to "Just Say Goodbye" and the infectious "One Note Samba."

Mona Lisa
My Prayer
It's Not Unusual
Just Say Goodbye
My Love
Love At Last You Found Me
One Note Samba
How Insensitive
Answer Me My Love
Cast Your Fate To The Wind
If Ever I Would Leave You
Love Lies

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