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Verrill Keene

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Biography

Verrill Keene was actually Bob Keane, owner and president of Del-Fi Records, who began his career in the music industry back in the forties as a clarinetist and big band jazz bandleader. In 1966, Keane (still spelling his name Keene at the time) decided to record a new album of contemporary jazz arrangements, mixing big band and rock n' roll elements, and blending fuzz-tone guitar with strings and vocal chorus. Keane contacted producer/arranger Gene Page, who arranged the charts for four songs: "Norwegian Wood", "Velvet Waters", "Night Scene" and "An Afternoon Affair". Gene Page's father, Lawrence Page, had written these last two songs, and Barry White (then an A&R man for Keane's Bronco label) played drums on both. "Norwegian Wood" was later released as the first single on the Lighthouse label, under the name "The Verrill Keene Orchestra." (Verrill is actually Keane's middle name). Keane was then introduced to Jack Stern, a songwriter who provided four additional tracks for Verrill to record: "Hideaway"(arranged by Paul Moer), "Peas and Corn", "Salt Water Taffy" and "Heartbreak". Keane also recorded a jazz standard, "Adios, Marquita Linda". Keane finally issued a second single —"Hideaway" b/w "Peas and Corn"— on his own Mustang label. All of these tracks were later assembled for a full-length album, An Afternoon Affair, which was released on Showtown, a label distributed and financed by Capitol, in the fall of 1966. The photo of Keane on the album cover depicted Verrill as a "swinger", showing him seated on the bedroom floor in front of a bed where two scantily-dressed young models could be seen lounging. More models were used for the album's back cover. The album didn't sell very well, unfortunately, as 1966 was a few years past the prime "bachelor pad" era. It quickly went out of print. In 1996, thirty years later, Keane's Del-Fi was back in business as a reissue label, and the album was reissued for the first time on compact disc. The CD added "Lilly's Back", a single from April 1967. Two song titles were changed: "Hot Pink" was the new name for "Peas and Corn" and "Hideaway" was re-named "Chanelle's Theme" for Keane's young daughter. Liner notes, written by Garrick H.S. Brown, claimed that Verrill Keene was Bob Keane's "mysterious twin image", and claimed that Verrill had kick-started the "Sensualist" movement in jazz with something called a "Libidotron," which was described as an instrument that brings on a heightened state of sexual euphoria. Keane continued to use the Verrill Keene persona to promote subsequent various artist releases by Del-Fi in the late nineties, including Del-Fi Beach Party, Del-Fi Pool Party and Jungle Jive.

Genre
Years Active:

'90s