The Chris Connor Bio-Discography:
Bethlehem Period
by Iván Santiago Mercado

Generated on Nov 7, 2014


Bio-Discographical Note: Chris Connor At Bethlehem Records (1953-1955)

For an overview of Chris Connor's year and a half with the Bethlehem record company (a brief but mutually beneficial period), see this page's final note. Also notice the blue arrowheads periodically found through this page; click on them if you want to see a longer list of albums containing any given Chris Connor performance.


Date: December 17-18, 1953
Location: New York
Label: BETHLEHEM

Chris Connor (ldr), Sy Oliver (pdr, con), The Sy Oliver Orchestra (acc), Sid Cooper, Milt Yaner (as), Boomie Richman, Sam Taylor (ts), Dave McRae (bar), Jim Bright, Jimmy Nottingham, Red Solomon (t), Vernon "Vern" Friley, Frank Saracco, Ward Silloway, Kai Winding (tb), Sid Block (b), Dave Martin (p), Jimmy Crawford (d), Chris Connor (v)

a.    Master Blue Silhouette - 2:43  (Murray Semos, Jack Val, Jimmy Dale) / arr: Sy Oliver
     BETHLEHEM 78 & 45: B 1291 — {Miser's Serenade / Blue Silhouette}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-114 — Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
b.    Master Miser's Serenade (Mad Miser Man) - 2:44  (Fred Patrick, Claude Reese, Marvin Fisher, Jack Val) / arr: Sy Oliver
     BETHLEHEM 78 & 45: B 1291 — {Miser's Serenade / Blue Silhouette}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-114 — Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
London (10") LP: (England) Hb N 1074 — Chris   (1957)
c. alt   Alternate Take Miser's Serenade (Mad Miser Man) - 2:52  (Fred Patrick, Claude Reese, Marvin Fisher, Jack Val) / arr: Sy Oliver
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
d.    Master Ask Me - 2:44  (Woody Hinderling, Pollard) / arr: Sy Oliver
     BETHLEHEM 78: 1293 — {Chiquita From Chi-Wah-Wah / Ask Me}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-114 — Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
e.    Alternate Take Ask Me - 2:44  (Woody Hinderling, Pollard) / arr: Sy Oliver
     BETHLEHEM©Columbia's Nippon CD: COCY-78661 (Japan) — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1995)
f.    Master Chiquita From Chi-Wah-Wah - 2:46  (Bennie Bonacio, Jimmie La Marge, Jimmie Franklin) / arr: Sy Oliver
     BETHLEHEM 78: 1293 — {Chiquita From Chi-Wah-Wah / Ask Me}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-114 — Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
g.    Master Ev'rything I Love - 2:16  (Cole Porter) / arr: Sy Oliver
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-127 — Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     London (10") LP: (England) Hb N 1074 — Chris   (1957)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
h. alt   Alternate Take Ev'rything I Love - 2:24  (Cole Porter) / arr: Sy Oliver
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
i.    Master Indian Summer - 2:54  (Al Dubin, Victor Herbert) / arr: Sy Oliver
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-130 — Chris {Part 3}   (1955)
     London (10") LP: (England) Hb N 1074 — Chris   (1957)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
j. alt   Alternate Take Indian Summer - 3:01  (Al Dubin, Victor Herbert) / arr: Sy Oliver
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)

Dating & Masters

1. "Everything I Love"
2. "Indian Summer"
Readers should consider the dating of these two Bethlehem masters (Ev'rything I Love" and "Indian Summer") tentative rather than definitive. The task of correctly dating them has proved somewhat difficult. The various discographical texts and relevant sheets at hand offer different alternatives. One source places both masters under Connor's last sessions for Bethlehem (April 1955). Another source lists "Ev'rything I Love" under her earliest date (December 1953) but assigns "Indian Summer" to one of the 1955 sessions. Still another text places "Ev'rything I Love" under both sets of already-mentioned sessions (i.e., December 17-18, 1953; April 1955), thereby giving the odd impression that Connor re-recorded the song, for the same label, two years after she had first done so.

I have chosen to follow none of the sources to which I have referred above. Instead, I am trusting documentation that places both performances under Connor's debut session. The documentation in question is the earliest and the more reliable of the alternatives at my reach. In addition to that documentation, I have given credence to the liner notes of original Bethlehem LP BCP 56 (1957). In them, liner annotator Joseph P. Muranyi mentions "Ev'rything I Love" among the various songs which were recorded by Connor during her first date for Bethlehem.

There is one more reason for my belief that both masters come from Connor's debut solo date: my own listening of the two performances. They sport a brassy, big band feel, thereby sounding closer to Connor's other 1953 masters (known to have been backed by The Sy Oliver Orchestra) than to her 1955 numbers (small combo performances featuring just one piece of brass, played by Herbie Mann, and arrangements by pianist Ralph Sharon). In the Sharon-arranged numbers, the piano is heard with a regularity that is nowhere to be found in "Ev'rything I Love" and "Indian Summer."


Personnel

1. Sy Oliver
At this point in time, Sy Oliver, the session's arranger and conductor, was also the general musical director and A&R man for the East Coast operations of Bethlehem Records.

2. The Jim Bright Orchestra
In Bethlehem 78 rpm disc B 1291, the accompaniment is identified as the Jim Bright Orchestra. Discographies and later albums calls it instead The Sy Oliver Orchestra.


Songs

1. "The Miser Serenade"
Sometimes sub-titled "Mad Miser Man," this novelty is also known as "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme." In fact, Bethlehem 78 rpm disc B 1291 labels it "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (The Miser's Serenade)." Most subsequent releases just call it "The Miser's Serenade."


Issues & Collectors' Corner

1. The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor
This Bethlehem LP (BCP 56) was actually issued under two titles: Chris and The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor. The two versions contain the same tracks and feature the same Burt Goldblatt photo as front cover. But there are a few minor differences between them. Most notably, the cover of The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor lists the album's twelve tracks and identifies the accompaniment as "Sy Oliver and others." On the other hand, the cover of Chris lists neither tracks nor accompaniment.

For another Bethlehem album that was (re)pressed in twin versions, see next session, under Collectors' Corner.

2. Carmen McRae Vs. Chris Connor
Carmen McRae's entire output for Bethlehem Records can be found on side A of this Japanese LP (#MP 2378), released on the Polydor label. Side B features, on the other hand, Connor's entire December 17-18, 1953 session. Chosen for the album's front cover was the same artwork that graces Carmen's only original Bethlehem LP (i.e., Burt Goldblatt's memorable gallery of shots of McRae's red-lipstick mouth, in the act of singing). Polydor's only significant alterations of the original album's cover was the necessary change of the catalogue number and the addition of the words Vs. Chris Connor to the title. My thanks to Brian Yordnoff for directing me to a site that showed this cover, and to Keizo Takada for identifying Connor's tracks in the LP.

3. Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland [1995 Nippon CD Edition]
4. "Ask Me" [alternate take]
The album Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland has been issued on CD in Japan numerous times, often with the inclusion of one or two alternate takes as bonus tracks. In the case of the 1995 Japanese reissue (Nippon Columbia COCY-78661) of the album, "Ask Me" was one of the two alternate takes that were included.

5. Chris [London 10" LP]
This album appears to be an 8-song, 10" LP version of the 12-song, 12" LP Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor).


Date: August 9-11, 1954
Location: Fulton Recording Studios, 80 West 40th St., New York, New York
Label: BETHLEHEM

Chris Connor (ldr), Creed Taylor (pdr), The Ellis Larkins Trio (acc), Everett Barksdale (g), Beverly Peer (b), Ellis Larkins (p), Chris Connor (v), Bob Garrity (spk)

a.    Master What Is There To Say? - 2:51  (Vernon Duke, Erwin 'Yip' Harburg)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
b.    Master I Hear Music - 2:18  (Burton Lane, Frank Loesser)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
London (10") LP: (England) Hb N 1074 — Chris   (1957)
c. alt   Alternate Take I Hear Music - 2:19  (Burton Lane, Frank Loesser)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
d.    Master Come Back To Sorrento - 2:43  (Claude Aveling, Ernesto DeCurtis)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
e. alt   Alternate Take Come Back To Sorrento - 2:43  (Claude Aveling, Ernesto DeCurtis)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
f.    Master Why Shouldn't I? - 2:42  (Cole Porter)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
g. alt   Alternate Take Why Shouldn't I? - 2:54  (Cole Porter)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-3005-2 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1992)
     BETHLEHEM©Columbia's Nippon CD: COCY-78661 (Japan) — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1995)
     CAPITOL©Toshiba-EMI CD: TOCJ-62016 (Japan) — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1999)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 79851 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (2000)
h.    Master Try A Little Tenderness - 3:02  (Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, Harry Woods)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
London EP: (England) Ez N19010 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Jazz Series)   (1956)
i.    Master Lullaby Of Birdland - 2:22  (George Shearing, George David Weiss)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
London EP: (England) Ez N19010 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Jazz Series)   (1956)
j.    Master All About Ronnie - 2:57  (Joe Greene)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
London EP: (England) Ez N19010 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Jazz Series)   (1956)
k. alt   Alternate Take All About Ronnie - 2:57  (Joe Greene)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
l.    Master Spring Is Here - 2:54  (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-101B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1001 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1954)
London EP: (England) Ez N19010 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Jazz Series)   (1956)

Songs And Songwriters

1. "Come Back To Sorrento" (Authorship)
This number is an American version of a well-known Italian number ("Torna A Surriento") which has been recorded by numerous singers, many of them of Italian-American background. Various lyricists have penned different sets of English lyrics for the melody. Most issues credit Averling and DeCurtis as the authors of the set sung by Chris Connor. However, Avenue Jazz R2 759 credits instead a songwriter whose last name is given as "Little." Additionally, Avenue Jazz R2 759 specifies that the arranger of the number was Ellis Larkins. Yet another completely different answer is provided by ASCAP, which lists Eddie Safranski as the author of the versions by Connor. In the absence of more conclusive information, I have decided to trust the credit found in most Connor issues.

2. "All About Ronnie"
This ballad became a radio hit for Chris Connor (though a non-charting one) and remains the song that is most frequently associated with her. Not surprisingly, it is also the tune with the highest number of versions in this discography. To see details about versions recorded before the one from this date, consult sessions dated April 8 and May 25, 1953 in the page dedicated to her Big Band Singer Period. As for versions sung later than the one which is part of this session, most of them come from concerts; see, for instance, the session dated September 13, 1959 in the page for Concert, Radio & Television Dates.

3. "Why Shouldn't I?" (Alternate Take)
Most of the Chris Connor tracks identified by certain reissuing companies as "alternate takes" from the Bethlehem catalogue are merely edits of the master takes. Such appears to be the case for the so-called alternates of "All About Ronnie," "Out Of This World," and others. An exception to the norm is the above-listed alternate take of "Why Shouldn't I?": close listening makes evident that this vocal is not the same one heard in the master.


Issues & Collectors' Corner

1. Chris Connor With Ellis Larkins Trio [LP]
Found in various sources is a mysterious, otherwise unlisted issue, simply titIed "Chris Connor with Ellis Larkins Trio." The mystery has been solved: this album is actually the 10" LP Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland, identified only by the names of the singer and her accompaniment.

2. Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Jazz Series) [London EP]
This EP From London Records is actually the British edition of the USA Bethlehem EP Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (Part 2). (So far, I have found no evidence of a British edition of Part 1.) To some eyes, the front cover of the London EP might look somewhat different from that of the American original: like a drawing of the photo that graces the Bethlehem EP's cover. There is no such difference, however. Both EP pressings feature the same photo on their respective covers. The false impression of a difference stems from the typical use of lamination for British covers.

3. Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland [Bethlehem 10" LP]
This issue starts out with a brief spoken introduction by Bob Garrity, the announcer who used to broadcast jazz concerts from the Birdland Club in New York City. The following is a transcription, courtesy of Chris Connor fan and collector Jason Perry:

"Hi, this is Bob Garrity of the Birdland Show. I'm very proud to welcome you to an album of songs by a girl we first heard in Birdland with The Stan Kenton Orchestra. Since that time, she made her solo debut in the club and, well, we feel this young gal is headed right for the top. She's picked eight wonderful compositions and three great musicians to accompany her. Ellis Larkins at the piano; Everett Barksdale, guitar and Beverly Peer on bass. It's our pleasure to present The Lullabys of Birdland with Chris Connor."

The concert announcer utters these words while the tune of "Lullaby Of Birdland" plays behind him. Presumably, the inclusion of Garrity's intro was a means to the end of establishing the album's credentials as a jazz date. More specifically, the album must have been conceived as a recreation of Connor's successful engagement at Birdland -- and as a cross-promotional tool. (n. b.: Garrity's contribution is not included in the 12" LP version.)

4. Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland [Bethlehem 12" LP]
This 12" LP (#BCP 6004) came out with two slightly different front covers. On display in these covers are separate shots from the same photo session, which captured Connor in the act of singing. She is wearing a yellow shirt, and both shots show the singer from her shoulders up. In the most widely disseminated cover, the singer's mouth is wide open and her eyes are closed. In the rarer cover, her mouth is barely open (showing just her upper teeth) and her eyes are open. Otherwise, cover and artwork are essentially identical, and the tracks are the same in both versions.

It is also worth noting that, contrary to what would be logical to assume, this 12" LP is not a straight reissue of the 10" LP that bears the same title. For further specifics on this matter, see this page's notes about Connor's original Bethlehem albums, under session dated December 17-18, 1953.

Also, for another Bethlehem album released with two partially different front covers, see the Issues & Collectors' Corner notes under previous session.

5. Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland [Toshiba CD TOCJ-9381]
Whereas the 12" LP version of Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland has been transferred to CD many times, this Toshiba disc is the one and only digital version of the 10" LP. The packaging of the original 10" issue is reproduced in full: front cover and back cover (the latter filled with extensive liner notes and with photos which, to my knowledge, have not been reproduced anywhere else).

6. Lullaby Of Birdland [King CD, catalogue number unknown, released in 2003]
Despite its deceptive title, this CD does not contain Bethlehem material. See notes under studio session dated April 2002 in the Post-Atlantic page.


Date: August 21,1954
Location: New York
Label: BETHLEHEM

Chris Connor (ldr), Creed Taylor (pdr), The Vinnie Burke Quartet (acc), Ronnie Odrich (f, cl), Joe Cinderella (g), Vinnie Burke (b), Don Burns (pac), Art Mardigan (d), Chris Connor (v)

a.    Master Out Of This World - 2:54  (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
b. alt   Alternate Take Out Of This World - 2:54  (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
c.    Master Lush Life - 2:53  (Billy Strayhorn)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6006 — Bethlehem's Girl Friends {Chris Connor, Julie London, Carmen McRae}   (1956)
d. alt   Alternate Take Lush Life - 2:53  (Billy Strayhorn)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
e.    Master A Cottage For Sale - 2:37  (Larry Conley, Willard Robison)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
f.    Master How Long Has This Been Going On? - 2:32  (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102A — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 1}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
g.    Master Goodbye - 2:32  (Gordon Jenkins)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
h.    Master Stella By Starlight - 2:26  (Ned Washington, Victor Popular Young)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
i. alt   Alternate Take Stella By Starlight - 2:28  (Ned Washington, Victor Popular Young)
     CAPITOL©Toshiba-EMI CD: TOCJ-62016 (Japan) — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1999)
j.    Master Gone With The Wind - 2:19  (Herb Magidson, Allie Wrubel)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)
k.    Master He's Coming Home - 2:42  (Charles DeForest)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-102B — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers {Part 2}   (1954)
     BETHLEHEM (10") LP: BCP-1002 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers   (1954)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6004 — Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland   (1957)

Songs

1. "Lush Life"
When Chris Connor was asked in 1995 which of the songs previously recorded by her were her favorites, Connor singled out "All About Ronnie" and "Lush Life." She added: 'One of the hardest songs to sing is "Lush Life," but I like to give myself a challenge.'

2. "Goodbye"
For a televised version of "Goodbye" that features the same arrangement as the version on this session, see notes under the September 13, 1962 entry of this discography's Concert, Radio & Television page.


Issues & Collectors' Corner

1. Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland [Nippon, Toshiba and Victor CD Editions]
2. "Stella By Starlight" [alternate take]
3. "Why Shouldn't I?" [alternate take]
4. "Ask Me" [alternate take]

In 1992, the American record label Evidence released CD editions of Chris Connor's three original Bethlehem LPs, all of them remastered. In the case of Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland, an alternate take of "Why Shouldn't I?" was added as a bonus track.

Since 1995, Japanese CD editions of the album Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland have also incorporated that alternate bonus track. Furthermore, many of the Japanese editions have included a second alternate track, too. Here is a listing of the (post-Evidence) Japanese editions and their alternates:

1995 Nippon Columbia CD #COCY-78661: two alternate takes ("Why Shouldn't I?," "Ask Me")
1999 EMI Toshiba CD #TOCJ-62016: two alternate takes ("Why Shouldn't I?," "Stella By Starlight")
2001 EMI Toshiba CD #TOCP-9307: one alternate take ("Why Shouldn't I?")
2005 EMI Toshiba CD #TOCJ-6342: two alternate tracks ("Why Shouldn't I?," "Stella By Starlight")
2007 Victor CD #VICJ-61452: two alternate tracks ("Why Shouldn't I?," "Stella By Starlight")
2010 Victor CD #VICJ-61633: two alternate tracks ("Why Shouldn't I?," "Stella By Starlight")

Readers should be aware that, since I do not own any of these Japanese editions, I have not been able to visually verify the above-given details. I have gathered the data mostly from online sites, with no verification found anywhere else. During the pursuit of details about the third and fourth of the listed editions, I also counted with the kind asistance of Stephen Platt, who fully corroborated the accuracy of the information.

5. Chris Connor {Chris / This Is Chris} [Japanese CD]
Domestically, Chris Connor's three albums for Bethlehem have been released separately, never as a twofer or a threefer. Therefore, the Japanese twofer CD under scrutiny (Nippon Columbia 33CY-1641) qualifies as a collectors' item among Connorphiles.

Since I have never seen a physical copy of this CD issue, I would appreciate receiving a description of its front cover artwork. The limited amount of information at my reach points toward the use of the same cover as the Bethlehem album Chris (BCP-56). The CD's title remains unclear to me, too. It might be Chris Connor or it might simply be Chris. I would also appreciate receiving any other worthwhile details that owners of CD copies might find suitable for the present discographical notes.

6. Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers [Toshiba CD TOCJ-9382]
This Japanese disc is another collectible: a CD facsimile of the 10-inch LP of the same title. Before the releaise of this Toshiba disc, the 10" LP had never been issued on CD. The facsimile reproduces both the front and back covers of the 10" LP. Incidentally, that back cover contain an informative set of liner notes, as well as two rare photos. (As for the tracks themselves, they can be found in many domestic releases, of course. The packaging is what makes this item a collectible.)

7. A Technical Note About "Foreign" Or Non-Domestic Issues
This technical note replicates an explanation found both in an endnote below and in a separate page that is dedicated to Technical Notes And Discographical Policies. I am repeating the explanation herein as a courtesy to discographically-oriented readers who might feel momentarily confused about the omission of any foreign items in the LP and CD listings that are found above, under each of Connor's songs (or confused about the comments on those very items in in the preceding notes).

For non-domestic releases, my Chris Connor sessionography adheres to the following policies.

a) Non-domestic releases are included only when they contain bonus tracks that are not found in the original domestic issue.

b) Such non-domestic releases are listed only under said bonus tracks -- not under the regular tracks that are shared with the domestic original.

c) If a given non-domestic issue (with bonus tracks) has been pressed again, or has been reissued in its foreign country (as is often the case with Japanese CDs), and if that issue meets the criteria described in (a) & (b) above, the Chris Connor sessionography shows only the earliest pressing or reissue. For instance, the present session lists the earliest Japanese pressing of Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland to contain an alternate take of "Stella By Starlight" (EMI Toshiba TOCJ-62016). Subsequent Japanese editions of the same CD are not listed, however. Furthermore, EMI Toshiba TOCJ-62016 is listed only under the alternate take, not under the tracks that it shares with the original American issue.

d) Whereas Japanese reissue editions have been excluded from the session log, I have still made an effort to incorporate commentary about them in pertinent notes. For a list that includes pre-1995 Japanese editions of Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland (thus a list more extensive than the one in note #4 above), consult the notes in the Issues Index, right under the original 1957 LP. Similar lists of foreign issues can be found in that same page, under the original American albums.


Date: April 1955, Earlier Date
Location: New York
Label: BETHLEHEM

Chris Connor (ldr), Creed Taylor (pdr), The Ralph Sharon Group (acc), Herbie Mann (f, ts), Joe Puma (g), Milt Hinton (b), Ralph Sharon (p), Osie Johnson (d), Chris Connor (v)

a.    Master Blame It On My Youth - 2:37  (Oscar Levant, Edward Heyman)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-129 — This Is Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM 45: 11005 — {Come Back To Sorrento / Blame It On My Youth}   (1958)
BETHLEHEM LP: EXLP-6 — [Various Artists] Bethlehem's Best ("Extra Deluxe Series")   (1958)
b.    Master Ridin' High - 4:13  (Cole Porter)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-129 — This Is Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: 2BP-1001 — The Finest Of Chris Connor   (1975)
     Charly's Affinity Public Domain CS/LP: AFF122 (England) — Out Of This World   (1984)
     Charly Public Domain CD: (England) — [Various Artists] Songs For Sophisticats   (1998)
     FiveFour/Cherry Red Public Domain CD: 13 — All About Chris   (2006)
     Armed Forces Radio Service Transcription Disc: P 4436 — Basic Music Library [4 songs from LP This Is Chris]   
c.    Master It's All Right With Me - 2:26  (Cole Porter)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-126 — This Is Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6006 — Bethlehem's Girl Friends {Chris Connor, Julie London, Carmen McRae}   (1956)
BETHLEHEM©London EP: RE-N 1093 (England) — London's Girl Friends, No. 2   (1957)
d.    Master All Dressed Up With A Broken Heart - 1:48  (Fred Patrick, Claude Reese, Jack Val)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-126 — This Is Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: 2BP-1001 — The Finest Of Chris Connor   (1975)
Charly's Affinity Public Domain CS/LP: AFF122 (England) — Out Of This World   (1984)
e.    Master Trouble Is A Man - 2:51  (Alec Wilder)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-130 — Chris {Part 3}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: 2BP-1001 — The Finest Of Chris Connor   (1975)
     Charly's Affinity Public Domain CS/LP: AFF122 (England) — Out Of This World   (1984)
     FiveFour/Cherry Red Public Domain CD: 13 — All About Chris   (2006)
     Stateside ?Licensed LP: SR 7055 (Japan) — The Best Of Chris Conner   
     Armed Forces Radio Service Transcription Disc: P 4435 — Basic Music Library [4 songs from LP This Is Chris]   
f.    Master All This And Heaven Too - 3:26  (Ed DeLange, Jimmy Van Heusen)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-130 — Chris {Part 3}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6006 — Bethlehem's Girl Friends {Chris Connor, Julie London, Carmen McRae}   (1956)
BETHLEHEM©London EP: RE-N 1093 (England) — London's Girl Friends, No. 2   (1957)
 
All titles on:      BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-20 — This Is Chris   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-5017 — This Is Chris   (1958)
BETHLEHEM LP: 6010 — Cocktails And Dusk   (1978)

Dating

The likelihood that Chris Connor recorded 8 songs in one single session is very low. Though listed together in my sources, these songs are likelier to have been recorded over at least two sessions, conducted either on the same day or over various days in April 1955.


Issues

1. This Is Chris [12" LP]
Of the various Chris Connor 12" LPs ever released by Bethlehem, this one (BCP 20) is the only one whose songs were recorded and conceived for the express purpose of making a 12" album. It is also the only 12" LP released before the singer left the record company. All her other 12" Bethlehem albums were released after Connor's departure from the label and are either expansions of the earlier EPs and 10" LPs or, otherwise, compilations and reissues.

2. This Is Chris [The London LP, In Australia And England]
In England, the 12" LP This Is Chris was released by London Records with catalogue number LZ-N-14036. In Australia, it was released as LZ-NA-14036; notice the addition of an A in the second prefix. Furthermore, the Australian pressing was a 10" LP. Otherwise, the Australian issue was identical to its American and British counterparts (i.e., same title, same artwork, and same 10 tracks). My thanks to Stephen Platt for supplying the details about both of these non-domestic pressings.


Collectors' Corner / A Note On EP Albums

From the outset of this note, I must clarify that I do not own copies of Chris Connor's EPs on Bethlehem. My information about them comes mostly from print and online sources, not from visual inspection of the physical issues. As part of an effort to fill gaps in the information at my reach, I have occasionally resorted to logical inferences.

In the United States, Bethlehem released 9 Chris Connor EPs, which I have itemized below:

1) #114
Curiously, there are two different Bethlehem EPs that bear this catalogue number. One is by Chris Connor, the other by Helen Carr (also a vocalist under Bethlehem contract in the mid-1950s). Presumably, this use of the same catalogue number for two different EPs is a mistake on Bethlehem's part. I should also clarify that I have never seen the Helen Carr EP. My claim about the Carr EP number is based on my inspection of another issue's back cover (BEP-126), in which a partial listing of Bethlehem's EP catalogue has been printed. In that listing, EP #114 is identified as Helen Carr's, not Chris Connor's. Other miscellaneous sources have backed the accuracy of the claim, but I have yet to see the EP itself. Worth considering: the possibility that the intended number for the Connor EP was BEP-128, yet Bethlehem erroneously gave it instead the number BEP-114. (Catalogue number BEP-128 is further discussed below.)

2) #101A
3) #101B
4) #102A
5) #102B
These four EPs are part of Chris Connor's Lullabys series, which also includes two 10" LPs. (These LPs are documented in the couple of August 1954 sessions that are found above.) The LPs and the Eps use the same two photos in their respective covers. The photos can be seen in this discography's Main Index page. The contents of the LP Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers is distributed between two of the EPs, which also bear the same title as the EP. The same kind of distribution applies to the other LP/EPs. The Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers EPs differ from one another in the tint used to color each photo: yellowish in 102A, blue-greenish in 102B. As for the covers of the Lullabys Of Birdland EPs, the coloring of 101B seems to be darker than on 101A. (Caveat: I must stress that I'm relying on pictures found online, not on any sight and inspection of the physical EPs.) Finally, it is worth noting that the vinyl itself might not have title; instead, these EP discs might just identify singer and accompaniment ("Chris Connor acc. by Vinnie Burke Quartet") where the title should have been positioned.

6) #126
7) #127
8) #129
9) #130
0) [and non-existent? #128]
This quartet of EPs contain material from the singers' other original 12" LPs on Bethlehem, which are This Is Chris and Chris. Tracks from This Is Chris can be found in EPs #126, #129, #130. Tracks from Chris are also part of EP #127. (Caveat: I do not own copies of any of these EPs, and I have seen photos of some of them only. I am relying on online information.)

If the information found online is correct, then EPs #126 and #129 are both entitled This Is Chris and feature the same photo as the 12" LP of the same title. The coloring of #126 is reddish, just as in the LP, whereas the cover of #129 has been tinted yellow. In order to differentiate between the two EPs in this discography, I have taken the liberty of adding the sub-title Part 1 to the EP with the lower number, and the sub-title Part 2 to the EP with the higher number.

My sources give the title Chris to EPs #127, #130, and #114. All three EPs use the photo found in the 12" LP of the same title. Once again, coloring differentiates them: red (#114), yellow (#127), blue (#130).

Somewhat oddly, EP #130 contains 3 songs, rather than the standard 4. There is a logical reason: those are the only 3 songs not included in the other Connor EPs discussed above. In other words, it is an album of leftovers. Two of its three numbers are from the This Is Chris sessions, whereas the remaining title ("Indian Summer") is from Connor's Bethlehem debut session.

Given the close numerical sequence of these 4 items (126, 127, 129, 130), it would be logical to infer that BEP #128 is also a Chris Connor issue. However, I have yet to find any verification that BEP 128 was ever produced, much less released. (Furthermore, the other nine EPs include Connor's entire output for Bethlehem. A 10th EP would thus have to re-use tracks found in the other extended play discs.) On a different note, it's worth mentioning here that some online sellers occasionally claim to be selling a Chris Connor EP whose catalogue number is 1028. Judging from the cases which I have been able to doublecheck, the sellers are confusing the number 8 with the letter B: the EP in question is #102B, already mentioned above.


10) The London EP
11) The Parlophone EP
Also listed in this discography are two British EP which have no American equivalents and which feature their own original covers. Chris Connor Meets J. And Kai (GEP 8767) shows a drawing of Chris Connor (face and shoulders), and of J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, playing trombones. The photo on the cover of London's Girlfriends, Volume 2 (RE-N 1093) is another shot from the photo session that also generated the artwork of the 12" LP Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland. Connor is wearing a yellow shirt, and her hair calls some attention for its blondness. The EP's shot was taken from the distance -- unlike the shot used for the 12" LP, which shows Connor's face at close range. For that reason, the EP's photograph reveals a detail not visible in the LP's image: Connor is actually standing near a tree.


Date: April 1955, Later Date
Location: New York
Label: BETHLEHEM

Chris Connor (ldr), Creed Taylor (pdr), The Ralph Sharon Group (acc), Herbie Mann (f, ts), J. J. Johnson, Kai Winding (tb), Joe Puma (g), Milt Hinton (b), Ralph Sharon (p), Osie Johnson (d), Chris Connor (v)

a.    Master From This Moment On - 2:28  (Cole Porter)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-126 — This Is Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-20 — This Is Chris   (1955)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
b. alt   Alternate Take From This Moment On - 2:29  (Cole Porter)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
c.    Master The Thrill Is Gone - 2:45  (Lew Brown, Ray Henderson)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-126 — This Is Chris {Part 1}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-20 — This Is Chris   (1955)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-6006 — Bethlehem's Girl Friends {Chris Connor, Julie London, Carmen McRae}   (1956)
d.    Master Someone To Watch Over Me - 3:09  (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-129 — This Is Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-20 — This Is Chris   (1955)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-5017 — This Is Chris   (1958)
e.    Master I Concentrate On You - 3:28  (Cole Porter)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-129 — This Is Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-20 — This Is Chris   (1955)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-5017 — This Is Chris   (1958)
f.    Master Don't Wait Up For Me - 2:33  (Charles DeForest)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-127 — Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     London (10") LP: (England) Hb N 1074 — Chris   (1957)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
g. alt   Alternate Take Don't Wait Up For Me - 2:41  (Charles DeForest)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
h.    Master A Good Man Is A Seldom Thing - 3:23  (Charles DeForest)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-127 — Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     London (10") LP: (England) Hb N 1074 — Chris   (1957)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
i. alt   Alternate Take A Good Man Is A Seldom Thing - 3:30  (Charles DeForest)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)
j.    Master Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) - 3:06  (Bart Howard)
     BETHLEHEM EP: BEP-127 — Chris {Part 2}   (1955)
     London (10") LP: (England) Hb N 1074 — Chris   (1957)
BETHLEHEM LP: BCP-56 — Chris (aka The Rich Sound Of Chris Connor)   (1957)
k. alt   Alternate Take Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) - 3:06  (Bart Howard)
     EVIDENCE CD: 20-4011-2 — Chris ("Bethlehem Jazz Classic Series")   (1994)
     Avenue Jazz Licensed CD: R2 75988 — Chris   (2000)

Dating

The likelihood that Chris Connor recorded 8 songs in one single session is very low. Though listed together in my sources, these songs are likelier to have been recorded over at least two sessions, conducted either on the same day or over various days in April 1955. (Notice also that only the first four songs were included in the album This Is Chris. This fact, though by no means conclusive in and of itself, encourages the assumption that those 4 songs might constitute one session.)


Bio-Discographical Notes: Chris Connor At Bethlehem Records (1953-1955)

I. The Arrival: Chris In Bethlehem

In June 1953, Chris Connor left behind her years as a big band singer. That month, due to exhaustion from life on the road, she quit her job as the female vocalist of The Stan Kenton Orchestra. The departure was amicable. Six months later, the former canary would make her first recording date as a solo artist.

After moving back for good to the New York-New Jersey area (where she had lived back in the late 1940s), she proceeded to acquire a manager. Monte Kay booked Connor as a solo act at the Birdland night club during the fall of 1953. After seeing one of Connor's appearances at the venue, Gus Wildi offered her a recording contract with his brand new label, Bethlehem. At that point in time, Bethlehem's catalogue consisted of a few pop singles, which had made no impact on the market. Connor says that Wildi "was looking for a star to boost his label, which was going under. On the spot he offered me a contract, and I agreed." She became the first jazz-oriented act signed to the roster. However, the singer's work for Bethlehem started not with a jazz date but with a pop session, for which she was backed by a big band ensemble (1953).

The following year, Wildi also hired Creed Taylor, who was then at the very beginning of his career as A&R man and producer. In an interview published at jazzwax.com , Taylor told Marc Myers that "in 1954, the label was on its last legs. They were still recording 78-rpms at a time when the 10-inch LP was coming in. I told them, There are 10-inch LPs out there and you guys have a singer who’s great named Chris Connor. She had already recorded for Bethlehem in December 1953 with Sy Oliver’s orchestra, but they didn't know what to do with her. In the summer of '54, I talked to Chris and found out she had vast knowledge of great songs that were hip and that she wanted to record them. I told Bethlehem to let me go in and produce the label's first 10-inch LP with her. I told them I was going to call it Lullaby of Birdland. They gave me the go ahead. Even though the company wasn’t in great shape, the owner had funds and realized it was a necessary investment."

"I told Chris," continues Taylor, "we should do her album with the Ellis Larkins’ trio. She loved the idea. So I called Ellis and booked the Fulton Recording Studios, at 80 West 40th St., across from Bryant Park. I knew Tom Dowd, the engineer there. I had met him at Birdland, and he was a very musical guy. So when Ellis and Chris came to the studio in early August, I sat in the booth with Tom and did what I do today. Chris and I had decided which songs to record in advance. The result was so terrific that a few weeks later we recorded her with the Vinnie Burke Quartet for another 10-inch LP. We also recorded an album in 1955 with Kai Winding and J.J. Johnson.

Taylor also talked at length about the promotional efforts that were made for the initial 10" album: "Once Chris recorded, I had to get the record on the radio. I listened to the radio a great deal then. So I went over to WNEW and WABC with a dub of the session and did on-air interviews. I also worked on point-of-sale efforts. When Lullabys of Birdland came out, I had a big six-foot high cutout of Chris standing in front of Birdland to promote the album. I also brought special copies to radio stations that allowed radio announcers [such as WINS' Bob Garrity] to dub in their voices, so it sounded like they were announcing her [at Birdland] ... I reached out to radio stations popular with black audiences. The disc jockeys there knew which jazz records were great and which weren't. Their audiences and other jockeys in the city knew that what they played often set the trend. I became friendly with many of these jockeys. They, in turn, were friends with jockeys who broadcast during drive-time hours, which had the largest audiences. Fortunately they thought Chris' album was very hip. I asked if they would talk to the other jockeys and get them to play the album, and they did. I had to become friendly with record distributors and store buyers and merchandisers. Through all of these combined efforts, Lullabys of Birdland became something of a hit for Bethlehem. But none of my efforts would have paid off if the album hadn’t been superb to begin with."

Thus Wildi's Bethlehem company debuted its album series with the twin releases Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland and Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers. Together, those 10" albums constituted a career-making success for both the emerging record label and the solo recording artist.

After the commercial success of the jazz-oriented Lullabys [sic] albums, Connor's other dates for the label continued to use combos (trio, quartet/quintet, septet) rather than big band accompaniment, and the repertoire was culled chiefly from the Great American Songbook.

This discographical page shows that Chris Connor recorded a total of 35 masters for Bethlehem Records. As the page also shows, they have been issued and reissued ad nauseam.

The time period that Connor spent with the Bethlehem company was a successful but short one: less than a year and a half. For general details about the termination of Connor's relationship with Bethlehem Records, see the final note on this page.


II. The Bethlehem Record Company

The Bethlehem label has a byzantine issue history. Over the decades, multiple changes in ownership have resulted in numerous reissues and re-pressings of the catalogue. The earliest of those ownership changes took place toward the end of the 1950s. Around 1960, founder Gus Wildi had to sell the label to his distributor, Syd Nathan, who owned and managed various labels of less-than-stellar quality. (The main one was King, which concentrated on hillbilly music for a few years, before moving on to rhythm & blues, with significant success. Another one was DeLuxe, which Nathan co-owned at first, but eventually bought in its entirety. AudioLab, too. Then there were King's subsidiaries, Queen and Federal, as well as other small labels whose catalogues Nathan bought and absorbed into his main label.) Nathan moved the label's offices to his hometown (Cincinnatti), where he had his own printing press. Thereafter, all sort of cheap-looking Bethlehem LP re-pressings made appearances in the music market. Once Nathan passed away (1968), his labels were re-sold.

From a discographical standpoint, Bethlehem's catalogue numbers can be an endless source of confusion. As re-pressings and compilations kept appearing, the same catalogue numbers were re-assigned to entirely different issues. For instance, Bethlehem 6010 is the catalogue number not only of original album The Voice Of Audrey Morris (released in 1956) but also of Cocktails And Dusk (a 1978 reissue of the 1955 LP This Is Chris).

Alternate takes are problematic as well. Close listening suggests that the majority of such so-called alternates are instead edits of the previously issued masters, with bits of studio talk occasionally included. This is, however, a subject that remains up for debate. Hence, in this discography, I have dutifully given individual entries to all alleged Bethlehem takes.


III. Connor's Original Bethlehem Albums (Chronology & Statistics)

As already mentioned, Chris Connor's earliest original albums for Bethlehem were a pair of 10" LPs entitled Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland and Chris Connor Sings Lullabys For Lovers. Both were released in 1954 and both contained songs recorded in August of that year. (The songs in those 10" LPs were also issued in a quartet of EPs. Furthermore, a few of the songs were issued on singles, too. For comments about Connor's EPs, see notes under session dated April 1955, Earlier Date.)

Aside from the Lullabys items, Bethlehem's most significant Chris Connor issues were a trio of 12" LPs, which I'll briefly describe below.

This Is Chris, Connor's first twelve-inch LP, was released in 1955. It contained brand new numbers, recorded during April 1955.

Chris, the second twelve-inch LP, was released in 1956, when the singer was no longer recording for the label. It contained:

a) 4 previously unissued songs, all of them from the 1955 This Is Chris sessions.
b) 8 songs that had previously issued on EP (all eight of them) and also on 10" LP (six of them).

Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland, the third twelve-inch LP, was released in 1957. This LP contains 14 songs, which can be itemized as follows:

a) 11 songs from the singer's two 10" Lullabys albums. (Those 10" albums contained 8 songs each. Hence, 5 songs were excluded from the 12" LP.)

b) 3 songs culled from Connor's debut Bethlehem session. (All three of them had been previously issued on 78 and EP, but not on 10" or 12" LP.)

The 12" LP Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland is therefore a partial reissue of Connor's two 10" albums, missing 5 tracks out of 16. The probable reason why those 5 numbers were not included: they had already been issued on the 12" format, as part of the LP Chris.


IV. Discographical Parameters For The Three Original Bethlehem LPs (Technical Note)

Both in the United States and abroad, Chris Connor's trio of 12" LPs for Bethlehem (Chris, Chris Connor Sings Lullabys Of Birdland, This Is Chris) has been endlessly issued and reissued, pressed and re-pressed. For those three albums, I have tried to enforce the following policies:

1) In the case of LPs, I have included only the original domestic issues.

2) In the case of CDs, I have included only the two main (and, to date, last) series of domestic reissues, one series being from the Evidence label, and the other from the (Rhino-distributed) label Avenue Jazz. Any earlier domestic series may be included in upcoming updates of the discography. (Contributors' information about those earlier CD issues would be appreciated.)

3) In this discography, Japanese or European CD issues have not been included, aside from a few notable exceptions, such as Japanese CDs without US counterparts, or with alternate tracks not found in releases from the United States. (For further comments about Japanese issues, see notes in this discography's page for Discographical And Technical Policies.

The 3 above-listed policies are not extended to Connor's non-original albums -- i. e., her compilations of Bethlehem material, a category for which my aim is to list all issues (irrespective of country of origin, or resemblance to American counterparts).

Corrections and further assistance from owners of Bethlehem issue copies will be appreciated.


V. Chris Connor's Departure From Bethlehem

Chris Connor stopped recording for Bethlehem around the time when her contract was up for renewal. The singer had received another contract offer, from Atlantic Records, which she had accepted.

For its part, Bethlehem (perhaps misinformed about their artist's departure, or perhaps unhappy with her decision) sent out an unappreciative press release. The release stated that Bethlehem had let the singer go, after she had refused to do any further recordings. On the July 13, 1955 issue of Downbeat magazine, a reporter gave the following account: "Bethlehem Records suspended its leading star, Chris Connor, as of June 1. She was suspended because, the firm said, she refused to record more than the minimum number of sides guaranteed in her contract. The label says it also may add the time Chris is suspended to the length of her regular contract. Thereby, Bethlehem adds, Chris' contract, which ends this December, could be extended by the length of time she is under suspension and during that period, she could record for no other company. Monte Kay, Chris' manager, denies Bethlehem's claims and says that Chris, in fact, has recorded more than the minimum number of sides. He added further that the registered letter the label says it mailed Chris concerning the mater has not yet been received. When he is formally notified, Kay adds, he will turn the matter over to his attorney. Kay implied that in view of the company's action, it is quite unlikely that Chris will re-sign with Bethlehem when her contract is up."