Betty Blake (April 9, 1937 - September 19, 2001) American vocalist, made one fine recording for Bethlehem Records in 1960, Betty Blake Sings in a Tender Mood. On the strength of it, she deserved more opportunities and exposure.
Betty Ann Blake was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 9, 1937 née: Elizabeth Ann Baldrige (or Baldrich) Betty began her career at 16 with local bands and then was vocalist with the bands of Ernie Rudy (1954- 56) and Buddy Morrow (1956-58).
As Morrows featured vocalist she attracted the attention of Golden Crest Records. Offered work as guest singer on two songs on an album by trumpeter John Plonskys modern jazz quintet, this in turn led to the recording of a single accompanied by Jack Zimmermans orchestra.
Her band experience took her to clubs around the country, and after four years she returned to Cincinnati to join a vocal group for a time. When in 1961 vibes player and producer Teddy Charles approached her to do an album for Bethlehem Records featuring five Alec Wilder ballads, she decided to drop the Ann from her name.
For this release, “Betty Blake Sings in a Tender Mood”, top flight jazzmen like Mal Waldron, Zoot Sims, Kenny Burrell, Roland Alexander and Charles furnished her with an ideal background. She had a touching ballad style, and swung well on medium and up-tempo tunes, always approaching her material in a direct, un-gimmicky fashion and faithfully serving the sense of the lyric.
After her Bethlehem effort, nothing is known of any other professional activity until her death of cancer at age 63 on September 19, 2001. Something of a mystery, for the Blake’s lone album is a good one and received some nice reviews. Betty Blake is not alone in being a singer people hear for the first time and wonder why she wasn’t a major star, but in her case the question is doubly bedevilling because she so clearly had it all.
Her complete recordings from 1957 to 1961 have been released in 2014 on a Fresh Sounds CD which contains a large number of Alec Wilder songs and both sides of a 45 Blake made for the Golden Crest label:- “The Lady Sings the Blues and the pop tune “Jersey Boy” which simply jumps off the disc by dint of its adult yearnings couched in an arrangement suitable for early 60s female teen pop icons on the order of Lesley Gore or Joanie Sommers—clearly way ahead of its time.
Twelve pages into a Google search produces nothing save press release boilerplate about her album reissue.
(Info various mainly edited from Confetta & antirockblog)