Sunday, May 29, 2005

While we're on the subject of . . .

. . .lesser known jazz singers, like Beverly Kenney, whose voices were suddenly stilled while they were still at the peak of their powers, take a look at the site---near the bottom of the page--- of the sister of fifties baritone Ronnie Deauville. He was another of those singers, like Kenney, who I once fretted over as to what exactly caused them to suddenly fall below show biz radar. Ronnie Deauville is such an obviously gifted singer that not even the mid-fifties coming of rock and roll is sufficient to explain the sudden demise of his career.

Eventually, I had some nice phone conversations with Sheryl Deauville. One thing that I learned is that she---a lifelong Los Angelino--- and I had most likely been in the same room/hall/space/venue on any number of occasions.

Of all that Sheryl told me, perhaps the most interesting fact was that her brother's singing voice was not really taken from him. Though he was paralyzed from the neck down, due to a 1956 auto accident, for a while he continued to perform: a Steve Allen TV appearance, gigs in "A" list clubs, etc. But in those pre-handicap access days, it was all just too much for him and so he packed it in for good somewhere around the late-1950s.

Sheryl Deauville is totally aware---it is obvious from her web site---of how great an artist was lost when her brother's singing voice was more or less silenced. I was happy to learn from her that Ronnie was still able to live a relatively good life, finally settling down in Florida with his wife and four children. He died in Florida in 1990. The last time Sheryl saw her brother, not long before his passing, he gave an impromptu concert for her, and his singing voice, she said, was as strong and rich as it had ever been.

1 comment:

Mark Miller said...

What a beautiful voice! So mellow and rich. I hear that sound, and it always makes me wish I was a baritone. (Johnny Hartman makes me feel the same...)