Wednesday, 18 May 2011
MY GALLERY OF SMALL SAINTS 2: EARL BOSTIC
When I was about fourteen this "small saint" arrived in my life courtesy of my father.
Dad was still, in the early sixties, a reservist in the Royal Air Force, having reached the rank of Squadron Leader. The big house where his unit was stationed was due to be sold off and the unit disbanded and, consequently, the contents of the Officer's Mess were shared out amongst Dad and his fellow officers.
He managed to lay claim to a good clutch of L.P.'s to aded to our collection at home. Ray Conniff and His Singers did not do much for my fourteen year old sensibilities but, oh, how Earl did!
As much as I liked contemporary popular music, his music was so much deeper, richer and more exotic.
The songs he recorded like Ebb Tide, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing and The Autumn Leaves were the songs of my parents' generation but I did not mind that at all for there was something very different about the musical "palette" that he employed to anything else I was listening to.
It was the first time that I had been made fully aware of the quality of "wistfulness" in music, or anywhere else for that matter. If you ever hear his version of "The Autumn Leaves" you will know just what I mean.
Earl's music was probably the first time I had made any real connection with the gems from the thirties, forties and fifties.
Connection? I nearly wore out that copy of "Sweet Tunes Of The Fabulous Fifties" The family's little Dansette record player was practically begging for mercy.
Ironically, Earl Bostic's signature tune, Flamingo, wasn't on that record. I only discovered it through the internet about a year ago and I think it is now my favourite track of all Earl's tracks - the ones that I have heard that is. It achieves the almost impossible feat of being wistful, boisterous and joyous at one and the same time.............. and entirely thrilling!
Born 25/4/13 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Joined Terence Holder's Band at the age of 18.
Made his first recording in 1942 and formed his own band in 1945.
Recorded his signature tune, Flamingo, in 1951.
Died of a heart attack while performing wit his band in Rochester, New York in 1965.
He wrote arrangements for, among others, Paul Whiteman, Louis Prima, and Lionel Hampton. His song writing hits include "Let Me Off Uptown" recorded by Anita O'Day.