What's more fun than discovering a great new jazz voice? Nothing except the rare thrill of unearthing buried vocal treasures. Such is certainly the case with Yes, Indeed! (Delmark), a welcome compilation of 20 tracks, eight previously unissued, from the various canaries who recorded jazz, blues and gospel for Leonard Allen's ambitious United label throughout the early '50s.
The name you'll recognize is Della Reese, who, her first time inside a professional recording studio, delivers two sizzling versions of the title track and an impressively assured "There Will Never Be Another You." More interesting, though, are the obscure likes of former Billy Eckstine cohort Betty Mays (contributing a boppin' "Old Mill Stream" alongside J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding), one-time Basie vocalist Bixie Crawford (with a torch-lit "I'm Still in Love With You"), St. Louis sensation Jewel Belle, utterly mysterious Vanita Smythe, Ellington girl singer Debbie Andrews (purring a velvety "When Your Lover Has Gone") and, the most prolific of the bunch after Reese, Cleveland-born Terri Timmons, who leveraged a stint with Memphis Slim's Houserockers into several years of moderately successful recording and here delivers a distinctly Kay Starr-esque "I Can't Forget."
In a lifetime of collecting jazz vocals, I've never come across any of these talented ladies save Reese and Timmons, and doubt I ever will again, which makes Yes, Indeed! as historically valuable as it is compelling.