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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Jennie Smith born 13 November 1938

Jennie Smith was born on November 13, 1938 in Burnwell, West Virginia, USA as Jo Ann Callison.
Jennie Smith was a young vocalist who emerged briefly in the late '50s as a would-be Polly Bergen, or a potential rival to Patti Page as a pop singer. Born Jo Ann Kristof in Burnwell, WV, in 1938, she started singing at a very early age and by age six was doing solos in church.

She was fortunate to have a connection to the entertainment business through her father, John Kristof, who was working at a radio station. She made her professional debut at 14 with the Al Waslohn band and later came to the attention of Charleston, WV, DJ Hugh McPherson, with whose help she secured better gigs, starting with Lionel Hampton, and later including bands led by Billy May and Johnny Long.
A stylist with a sound well beyond her years, at 19 Smith made her recording debut on RCA Victor with the backing of arranger/conductor Ray Ellis, releasing her own album that year. Steve Allen, who had an NBC Sunday night television show, heard one of the tracks on her album and invited her to do a guest shot on his show. That was Jennie’s first national television performance.
Smith was significant enough in her time to rate a featurette in Look magazine. She went on to release one more LP with Ellis, entitled Love Among the Young, at Columbia Records, in 1959, where she cut two more LPs. Her singles included "(I Won't) Go Away Little Boy" on the Canadian American label.

 Steve Allen moved his television show from N.Y. to Los Angeles, and was syndicated five nights a week. His show kept asking Smith out to L.A. to perform and finally he hired her to work on his show as a regular. She moved from New York to L.A. and this was one of the happiest periods of her life. It was exciting meeting all the stars that guested on the show, and the musicians on the show were absolutely top notch and a pleasure to work with. Sometimes the entire show worked other places around the country doing concert dates.
After being on Steve's show for about two years, she started doing more nightclub dates, working with Red Skelton at the Sands in Vegas, Joey Bishop at Harrahs in Tahoe, the Smothers Brothers at the Flamingo in Vegas, Mickey Rooney at the Fairmont in Vegas, then touring with Buddy Hackett. She also toured with Pat Boone and his musicians in Japan. Also, around 1968, Smith was lucky enough to land the national Chevy TV and radio commercials on with Frankie Randall and I sang together. It was exciting and fun. (She was "Miss Chevrolet" to his "Mr. Chevrolet").
According to journalist and long-time fan Bill Reed, she subsequently retired from performing.  She grew weary of the travel and got a job as a secretary which she held for over 30 years. She has been married to Arthur Brown since 1978.
Her debut album, Jennie, which compares favourably to the work of both Julie London and Chris Connor, was re-released by BMG in Japan on CD in the late '90s, and proved quite successful in that format.
(Info edited from All Music &


boppinbob said...

For “Jennie Smith - Jennie (1957) & Love Among The Young (1959)” go here:

Jennie 1. Jennie Smith - My Very Good Friend In The Looking Glass (3:45) 2. Jennie Smith - Sometimes I'm Happy (3:08) 3. Jennie Smith - I'm A Fool To Want You (4:38) 4. Jennie Smith - We'll Be Together Again (3:15) 5. Jennie Smith - He's My Guy (2:06) 6. Jennie Smith - (You May Not Be An Angel, But) I'll String Along With You (3:24) 7. Jennie Smith - You Do Something To Me (3:13) 8. Jennie Smith - All My Life (3:00) 9. Jennie Smith - Three Little Words (2:08) 10. Jennie Smith - No Such Luck (3:29) 11. Jennie Smith - I Hear Music (2:16) 12. Jennie Smith - When I Fall In Love (3:30)

Love Among The Young 1. Jennie Smith - A Fine Romance (2:25) 2. Jennie Smith - A Very Special Love (2:40) 3. Jennie Smith - All I Do Is Dream Of You (2:21) 4. Jennie Smith - Cross Your Heart (2:09) 5. Jennie Smith - Impossible (3:34) 6. Jennie Smith - Love Among The Young (3:08) 7. Jennie Smith - 's Wonderful (2:27) 8. Jennie Smith - Take Me In Your Arms (4:25) 9. Jennie Smith - Teacher, Teacher (2:22) 10. Jennie Smith - There Will Never Be Another Yo (2:17) 11. Jennie Smith - While We're Young (2:59) 12. Jennie Smith - Young And Foolish (3:29)
A big thank you to FredO @ the Rockin’ Bandit for original link.

Pudge said...

I hate to admit it but I don't remember her. Great post. Thank you Bob.

David Federman said...

Gradually, every artist I love has made it to your calendar. Jennie Smith is a welcome, well-deserved honoree. Thank you for this and for your entire blog.

Kevin said...

Thank You! I love to see these obscure vocalists!