Diane Courtney

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The vocalist Diane Courtney can be remembered for her versatility, the remnants of which might unfortunately require a spyglass to locate. A fan of vintage radio, as in the '40s, might act as something…
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Artist Biography by

The vocalist Diane Courtney can be remembered for her versatility, the remnants of which might unfortunately require a spyglass to locate. A fan of vintage radio, as in the '40s, might act as something of a guide into the wilderness of collectible material from this era. In the second half of that decade, Courtney was a regular on the Alan Young Show along with Jim Backus and Ed Begley, but her tenure on the radio went back to at least 1940 and a program with the fascinating title of The No Doubt World Renowned Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street.

As a singer she had the misfortune to come from an era when a "stand-up vocalist" meant something specific, as in the opposite of what it implies. It is true that Courtney took advantage of the opportunity to tour with jazz big bands, yet a great deal of a typical set by an employer such as Nat Brandwynn would require her presence as a chair warmer in the wings. It would take the second World War recording ban for singers to seize control of the set list, by which time this artist seems to have been much less active.

On disc her 1948 collaboration with Marshall Young was one of the few sides producer Joe Davis allowed out on his Beacon label during a time when he kept blabbing about leaving the record business. Half a century later, collectors seem to come across copies of her 78 entitled "Bill", indicating busy pressing plants and some degree of subsequent movement through commerce. The nifty red vinyl might have been the real attraction, however. A single she released on MGM is often classified as country or hillbilly, perhaps because the subject of one of the songs is dear old mother.