Verrill Keene

An Afternoon Affair

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Bob Keane, the owner and president of Del-Fi Records, appears here in the guise of a musical Hugh Hefner named Verrill Keene for this album of quirky cocktail jazz. The album is highly inventive, with arrangements that mix together fuzz-tone guitar, strings, and a vocal chorus. For his version of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood," Keene and arranger Gene Page (who arranged the charts for four songs here) tripled the clarinets in thirds (copying Herb Alpert's arrangement with two trumpets playing in thirds) and added an electric harpsichord doubling the clarinets in a very low register. "Velvet Waters" (formerly a number one hit in Australia by a clarinetist named William Plunkett) uses doubled clarinets punctuated with trombones in the bottom register and gives the arrangement a Latin feel. "Adios, Marquita Linda" (a number one hit for Artie Shaw in the '40s, here arranged by Paul Moer) is done as a Latin shuffle, with voices following the doubled clarinets. Barry White (then an A&R man for Keane's Bronco label) plays drums on two tracks. An Afternoon Affair was released on Showtown, a label distributed by Capitol, in the fall of 1966. Years before Austin Powers was invented by comedian/actor Mike Myers, Keane depicted Verrill Keene as a "swinger," showing him seated on the bedroom floor in front of two scantily dressed young models. More models were used for the album's back cover, which featured liner notes by comedy TV writer Will Davenport (of Mr. Ed and Hogan's Heroes fame), who hilariously claimed that Verrill Keene's album is music for any hour. He blends the dream of tomorrow's romance with the memory of all the good yesterdays. Here is the heartbeat of lovers. Here is the "any hour music" that makes any time, any occasion, anywhere An Afternoon Affair. Unfortunately, the album -- released years after the bachelor pad boom -- didn't sell very well and went quickly out of print. In 1996, 30 years later, Keane's Del-Fi reissued the album for the first time on compact disc, adding "Lilly's Back," a single from April 1967, and changing two song titles. The liner notes, written by Garrick H.S. Brown, claimed Keene was Bob Keane's "mysterious twin image" and included a fabricated interview with Keene -- supposedly done by Brown in 1966 -- shortly before Keene is said to have "disappeared." Keane continued to use the Verrill Keene persona to promote subsequent various-artist releases by Del-Fi in the late '90s, including Del-Fi Beach Party, Del-Fi Pool Party, and Jungle Jive.

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