Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Reasons to be cheerful pt 1


With ass hats like Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr hanging around claiming to be loungers and smooth jazz crooners it’s kind of hard sometimes to get people to listen to the real thing, to realise what real crooning is but I got Mr. B in my collection and I do know even if they don’t.  My old man loved his Billy Eckstine songs, even though mum found them depressing and wouldn’t let him play them when she was around.  He played ‘em for me though, the original 78s from the 40s and 50s and then later on when technology and the old boy met up, he got Billy on CD, including the 1970 album Stormy on the STAX label no less with Isaac Hayes producing!  Now that is lounging, lemme fuggin’ tell ya.  The deep smooth baritone voice of Mr. B, once called a “sepia Sinatra” when really it shoulda been the other way around, Frankie stole Billy’s thing, Frankie was a “white Mr. B” but no matter, Eckstine didn’t hold it against the racist industry of the 50s and 60s, the music scene scared of a black, smooth ass operator, one of the first teeny bop idols to have the girls screaming at him, white girls at that!! A man who dressed too sharp, had his own style and grace, a man who could hold his own in any room, he wasn’t going to get the breaks in a time still fearful of the black man, fearful of their own manhood so  Billy just kept doing what he did best, a man who had once had Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in his band, a man who knew a thing or two about music and the industry and life.  He just kept moving on, playing his songs, that velvet voice crooning and dancing around your head, making the girls swoon, the boys jealous but in that way that you just can’t help to admire him cos damn he was smooth, he was liquid chocolate, he was aged bourbon in a clean glass, how could you dislike him? He did the vegas thing, he did the big ballads, sold millions, he waited vainly for the movie breaks his white compatriots were getting but they never came so he just continued on, singing and living and moving forward.  And when he and Isaac got together, well that was just about perfect… songs that rolled off his tongue, smothered in Isaac Hayes hot buttery soul and served up steaming hot but cool if you know what I mean.  And I think you do.  I once got to dj in a trendy little bar courtesy of my links to a local record shop and let me tell you the highlight of the evening was getting a couple of the ‘too cool for you’ kinda girls up on the dance floor to Billy’s version of Cherie Amour.  Woulda made my old man proud if he’d still been alive to see it, spreading the Billy love every chance I get.  Eckstine was the smoothest son of a bitch on the planet from the day he was born ‘til the day he died – 78 years of hot buttery smooth, lounging, swinging, singing and doing what he did best, making the ladies swoon.  Kinda like my old man only Billy could sing! My old man, he was smooth, he was lounging, he was swinging and he was the sweetest, most down to earth man I ever knew and ever will know.  A hard act to follow, lemme tell you.  I’ve still got a long way to go but Billy’s there to help me along the way.

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