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Anita Kerr is quite simply one of the great underrated talents in the harmony pantheon. Her arrangements are expert, the execution impeccable.
She’s right up there with The Beach Boys, Harper’s Bizarre, The Four Freshmen, The Association and Free Design and although she enjoyed success, notably the creation of ‘The Nashville Sound’ with Chet Atkins to the memorable “The Sea, The Earth, and The Sky’ series with Rod McKuen, a comprehensive re-evaluation of her art is long overdue. Not only was Anita a gifted singer, pianist, composer and conductor, but she was also a pioneer for women in the fields of music arranging and producing musical areas rarely touched by women of her era. Her work in all of these areas contributed substantially to Nashville¹s pre-eminence in the recording industry during the 1950¹s and beyond.
From the late fifties, through the sixties, The Anita Kerr singers recorded for Decca, RCA, Warner Brothers and Dot. Their Four Voices in Hi-Fi debut is thecentrepiece of this edition.
Anita¹s talents as a chorus director were quickly noticed by Chet Atkins, then head of the Country Music Division of RCA. He was searching for a formula which would change the face of country music and make it more acceptable to America’s pop mainstream. The finished product was known as ‘The Nashville Sound¹; country music sophisticated by the addition of strings and vocal backing.
The Anita Kerr Singers became the major vocal backing group for the new sound, featuring on hundreds of sessions and appearing almost constantly on the charts backing top country hits by Jim Reeves, Hank Snow, Floyd Cramer, Brenda Lee, Faron Young, Roy Orbison and pop records by Pat Boone, Perry Como, Bobby Vinton and many others. In 1965, the group held off competition from The Beatles’ ‘Help!’ to win a grammy (“Best Vocal Group Performance”) for their sublime ‘We Dig Mancini’.
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