Friday, January 15, 2016
Queen Bey Comin' Thru Beystring Productions 1987
Beyonce ain't got nothing on Kansas City, we had the original Queen Bey. Nice, right?
Queen Bey was a Kansas City blues and jazz singer active in a Kansas City scene that was popping out local LPs and compilations throughout the 80s. She's now in Los Angeles apparently or was, either way, it appears she still performing. This specific recording was recorded in Los Angeles and credited to Beystring Productions in Overland Park, KS. It can be assumed that Beystring was the Queen's own private label.
During her time in KC, she is reported to have started singing at an early age in the 1950's. Her bio indicates she started to become a significant member of the local jazz and blues scene in the 80's and is officially recognized as an Ambassador of Jazz for Kansas City. In addition to her singing career, she's also been featured as an actor in television, screen and on Broadway. So, a pretty substantial career.
This 5 song EP is a throwback sound, the backside notes it was recorded live with no mixing, editing or overdubs on a two tracks, so no plastic, canned garbage to be found here. It was recorded digitally, which was still fairly new in the 80s, so the sound is very sharp and loud, maybe too much, but that's a minor issue. It's an enjoyable set of songs with a throwback style. It certainly doesn't sound as if its a product of the 80's. However, someone could mistake for a 70's lounge act very easily if they weren't paying much attention. However, the arrangements done by Joe Cartwright and Greg Eicher (both Kansas City area guys) sound authentic to a time when jazz was king. Overall, it's a solid set of tunes.
Queen Bey Live, 2011 in KC