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Monday, January 16, 2023

On Stage! - Buddy Greco


Baubles, Bangles And Beads

Buddy Greco
On Stage!
Produced by Bob Morgan
Cover Photo: Henry Parker
Buddy Greco's clothes designed by Sidney Arnold
Recorded Live at Columbia Records' 30th Street Studio, June 30, 1964
Epic Records BN 26116

From the back cover: Those who were there will think of it for some time to come as an evening at "Club Greco."

True, there was no suave, continental "maitre d'" discreetly ushering member of the large invited audience to their tables that memorable evening on June 30, 1964. But make no mistake: the atmosphere there at the recording studio on 30th Street, Manhattan, was intimate; relaxed, by expectant. After the star of the proceedings, singer Buddy Greco, appeared shortly after eight o'clock and the applause had quieted, at the signal from Epic Records' executive producer Bob Morgan who was A&R-ing the session from the engineer's control booth. Buddy opened with She Loves Me. Instantly, the air became charged with pure Greco electricity, and the usual aseptic atmosphere of the studio was transformed into the excitement of an after-hours nightclub. By the time the session – or, more accurately, the show – was over, the opener's title had assumed added significance: they loved Buddy.

Buddy's auspicious debut album for Epic Records, "My Buddy" (LN 3660/BN 557), was also a "live" affair, being recorded during a performance at the celebrated Le Bistro club in Chicago. Now the wheel comes full turn. In response to requests, here's Buddy in another audience-attended recording, after success in New York's Royal Box and Copacabana, Boston's Blinstrub's Village, Los Angeles' Cocoanut Grove, San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, Las Vegas' Sahara, Dallas' Stalter and, a recent highpoint in Buddy's career, a royal Command Performance at London's Prince of Wales Theatre. In the meantime, Buddy has also lent his skill and astute sense of showmanship to arranging nightclub acts for Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, singer-dancer Juliet Prowse and Keely Smith. Obviously, Buddy Gerco is a man of versatility as well as talent.

Three selections in On Stage – Get Me To The Church On Time, I Can't Get Started and It's Such A Happy Day, the latter an excursion into the fascinating rhythmic intricacies of bossa nova – offer Buddy as jazz pianist. Take A Little Walk, a jazz waltz, presents him as lyricist-collaborate with composer Cy Coleman. Buddy describes his version of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah as "a kind of Ray Charles spiritual"; Dreamy expresses his admiration for its composer, pianist Erroll Garner, and Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, gratitude toward his longtime friend, Frank Sinatra.

Meet the gifted men who comprised Buddy's instrumental personnel that June night. Dick Palombi, who plays piano on the nine selections that Buddy sings, conducted and provided the arrangements for he group. From New Brunswick, New Jersey, by way of Seattle, Washington, Dick recently worked in similar capacities with jazz vocalist Anita O'Day. Always on the alert for outstanding new talent, Buddy recently "discovered" drummer Bobby Bennett at the famous Pines Hotel in upstate New York. Congo player Bob Grauso was formerly with the Copacabana orchestra and now works with singer Connie Francis as well as Buddy. The mere mention that Jim Schenck played bass for Max Roach's jazz group is recommendation enough.

Buddy himself has this to say of his new album: "Of all my records, On Stage is perhaps my personal favorite. It brings together songs I've wanted to record for a long time. The musicians are nothing short of fabulous and the studio audience couldn't have thrilled me more the way they let me know I was clicking all the way."

She Loves Me
Baubles, Bangles And Beads
Take A Little Walk
Get Me To The Church On Time
The Best Man
The Best Is Yet To Come
It's Such A Happy Day
Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
I Can't Get Started
The Rules Of The Road

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