Saturday, July 8, 2017
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISTER B
Frank Sinatra, Jersey homeboy and incredible musical artist, was always my favorite along with Nat King Cole, but "Mister B" as he was known to many of his fans, was right up there with them. The only one to give Sinatra compeition with "the bobbysocksers" as the teenage girl fans were known, was Eckstine, and this at a time when most of the USA was still living in either legal racial segregation or de facto. Just look at the photo above and imagine what that was doing to racists as the time.
The best musician in our family, my second oldest brother "Buddy" (born James and we sometimes called him Jimmy too) used to do a spot on imitation of Mister B. And I attempted it too as best I could with my little boy's soprano and then tenor voice, as opposed to Eckstine's bass sound. It always intrigues me as a devout student of cultural history when someone so prominent in his day can be so forgotten. But I'll never forget.
Here's an example of one of his radio hits that made the charts when I was a nine-year-old: