Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Shelby Flint: Liquid Silk Angel

Shelby Flint still has an angel on her shoulder, and she may have a slew of lucky pennies and four leaf clovers, but her greatest charm of all is that she possesses a voice of liquid silk.

Born September 17, 1939, in North Hollywood, California, Flint, whose name may not be household common, is as seminal a part of the world music scene as Alicia Keys, U2, The Beatles, or The Rolling Stones. Superstar folk-singer Joni Mitchell paid homage to Flint in a recent Mirabella Magazine interview by stating simply, "I started off copying a girl named Shelby Flint." Mitchell was referring to Flint's 1961 pop hit Angel On My Shoulder, an ethereally soft, lilting tune which displays the naïve-yet-alluring idealities of a young woman who saves lucky pennies, four-leaf clovers, and who wants "a love that lingers and is stronger through and through."

Renowned Jazz critic Leonard Feather describes Flint as a "technically flawless performer with a pure sound and a wide range." As testimony to this statement, a review of Flint's career-to-date shows that she has recorded albums in the folk, pop, disco, and jazz genres and has performed with musicians ranging from Chick Corea and Al Jarreau to jazz purists like Tim Weston and Gregg Karukas.

When Flint began her recording career on the Valiant record label as a teenager, she had already mastered classical piano and acoustic guitar, having studied both since the age of six. Her lyrical balladry on the song House of the Rising Sun in 1963 preceded the rock hit version by the British group The Animals by one year.

Flint's foray into the world of film yielded a voice-acting stint as "Laine" in the 1978 television special Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas In July, as well as theme songstress for 1973's The Borrowers, 1977's The Rescuers, and 1978's The Islander. Flint has also stretched the angel wings of her talent as a set dresser on the 1994 feature film Payback.

In 1981, Flint's work in the areas of jazz, latin, and R & B music won her a NARAS "Most Valuable Player" nomination and opened the door to an on-going focus upon jazz. In 1982 Flint released an album entitled You've Been On Mind upon which she demonstrated her skills as a vocalist and instrumentalist, accompanying herself on her Fender-Rhodes guitar.

Flint's most personal work has been in collaboration with Producer/Guitarist Tim Weston. Their 1992 Jazz album Providence features tracks such as The Lady Weeps a sweetly passionate cry for the end of racial tension in Los Angeles. Interestingly, Lady incorporates a paraphrasing of Flint's earliest work Angel On My Shoulder in the lines "Angels we have heard, angels we have known." The angels in this instance refer to victims of hate crimes.

Currently Flint tours on the Jazz circuit, appearing in festivals in areas as diverse as Monterey, Maui, Florida, Catalina Island, Delaware, and Europe. Truly this musical icon has become the angel on contemporary music's shoulder.


Blogger Michael said...

It's criminal that "You've been on my mind" has never been released on CD. I believe Shelby said she has the master tapes, just needs a producer. This is one of the greatest Jazz albums ever recorded, in my view. C'mon Jazz producers, step up!

5:37 PM  
Blogger vinyle tourist said...

I have always been more drawn to cross-over/fusion, in particular Jazz-Funk fusion.

The stand-out track on this LP catering to my tastes is undoubtedly "Touch of Love"

Straight up funk that never strays from it's jazz origins. Phenomenal!!!

How did this song and this LP get lost in time? Only a matter of time before it's rediscovered. If you come across a copy on vinyl, grab it. You won't be disappointed.

9:18 PM  
Blogger waldorf teacher said...

Did Shelby have a song called "Aura" on any of her recordings? I heard it only once, live, and thought it was great.

10:56 PM  
Blogger waldorf teacher said...

Can also tell you that Shelby and I were acquaintances at Valley College in the Valley (where else?). At that time she had just finished writing music for our Spring Sing;something called 'Awake

10:59 PM  
Blogger James McOmber said...

Can someone provide me with contact info for Shelby Flint, or at least her agent or label? I want to thank her for her beautiful music and find out when and where she might play live next.

1:59 AM  
Blogger James McOmber said...

If anyone has a way for me to contact her, shoot me an e-mail at shuckslbj@gmail.com and I'll love you forever. Thank you!

2:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

In recent years, she's mainly toured and recorded with Greg Karukas. You might be able to get in touch with her through his website.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Lawrence said...

I was wondering if Shelby ever recorded 'Periwinkle Blue'. I seem to remember hearing it on the radio in the late fifties. It doesn't appear in her discographies.

9:52 AM  
Blogger waldorf teacher said...

Where is Shelby appearing these days?
I'd love to see/hear her again.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Shelby just did a small series of concerts with Gregg Karukas reprising their awesome "Home for the Holidays" recording. Best source for Shelby info currently is probably the Shelby Flint fan club page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=93458174895&ref=ts

8:25 PM  
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7:57 PM  
Blogger Frank Blau said...

I found some old recordings and interviews with Shelby Flint from Skip Weshner's radio show, circa 1968 or so.

Email if you are interested in hearing them!


6:09 PM  
Blogger Gregg K said...

Frank, please get in touch with me.

Check this out.

3:47 PM  

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