Arthur Prysock

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Arthur Prysock
Birth name Arthur Prysock Jr.
Born (1924-01-01)January 1, 1924
Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States
Died June 14, 1997(1997-06-14) (aged 73)
Hamilton, Bermuda
Genres Jazz, R&B, easy listening, disco
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1944–1990
Labels Decca, Old Town, Verve

Arthur Prysock Jr. (January 1, 1924[1][2] or 1929[3][4] – June 14, 1997) was an American jazz and R&B singer best known for his live shows and his baritone, influenced by Billy Eckstine.[5] According to his New York Times obituary, "his heavy, deep voice projected a calm, reassuring virility."[6]

Life and career[edit]

Prysock was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina.[4] Many sources give his birth year as 1929, but researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc state 1924 on the basis of official records.[1] He moved to North Carolina as a young child,[4] and then to Hartford, Connecticut to work in the aircraft industry during World War II, singing with small bands in the evenings. In 1944 bandleader Buddy Johnson signed him as a vocalist, and Prysock became a mainstay of the live performance circuits.[7] Prysock sang on several of Johnson’s hits on Decca Records including "They All Say I'm the Biggest Fool" (1946), "Jet My Love" (1947) and "I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone" 1948), and later on Mercury Records ("Because", 1950).

In 1952 Prysock went solo.[5] He signed with Decca, who marketed him as a younger rival to Billy Eckstine, and recorded the #5 R&B hit, "I Didn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night", with Sy Oliver's orchestra.[8] Over the years Prysock gained a reputation as an emotive balladeer and as one of the most popular acts on the chitlin' circuit.[9] He recorded R&B classics such as Roy Brown's "Good Rocking Tonight". In the 1960s, Prysock joined Old Town Records and did an R&B cover of Ray Noble's ballad "The Very Thought of You" (1960) and a pop hit "It’s Too Late Baby, It’s Too Late" (1965). For Verve Records he recorded Arthur Prysock and Count Basie (12, 13, 14, 20 and 21 December 1965, at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey), and A Working Man's Prayer (1968). He read verses from Walter Benton's book of poems against a jazz instrumental backdrop on his 1968 album, This is My Beloved.[10] Between 1960 and 1988, he released over 30 LPs. He also briefly had his own television show in the 1960s.[9]

In the 1970s, Prysock mainly played cabaret engagements, but – responding to his teenage daughter's affection for the film Saturday Night Fever[8] – had a surprise disco hit with the Gamble and Huff song "When Love Is New" (Old Town, 1977). In 1985, he recorded his first new album in almost a decade, A Rockin' Good Way (Milestone). He gained further attention for his tender, soulful singing on a beer commercial, "Tonight, tonight, let it be Löwenbräu." The selection whose lyrics were revised for the Löwenbräu Beer jingle was originally titled "Here's To Good Friends."[citation needed] In 1987 he received a Grammy nomination for "Teach Me Tonight," a duet with Betty Joplin, and the following year received another nomination for This Guy's in Love With You.[6] His brother, Wilbur "Red" Prysock, was a noted tenor sax player who appeared on many of Arthur's later records.[4]

Prysock received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1995. In later years he lived in Bermuda.[6] He died after several years' illness from an aneurysm at King Edward Hospital, Hamilton, Bermuda, in 1997.[9][2]

Discography[edit]

Chart singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
US Pop[11] US
R&B
[3]
1946 "They All Say I'm the Biggest Fool"
with Buddy Johnson Orchestra
- 5
1950 "Because"
with Buddy Johnson Orchestra
- 8
1952 "I Didn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" - 5
1960 "The Very Thought of You" - 19
1961 "One More Time" - 30
1965 "It's Too Late, Baby Too Late" 56 11
1968 "A Working Man's Prayer" 74 -
1973 "In the Rain" - 36
1976 "When Love Is New" 64 10
1977 "I Wantcha Baby" - 43
"You Can Do It" - 33

Albums[edit]

  • I Worry About You (1960)
  • Sings Only For You (1962)
  • Coast to Coast (1963)
  • A Portrait Of Arthur Prysock (1963)
  • Mr. Arthur Prysock And Guest (1964)
  • In a Mood With Arthur Prysock (1964)
  • Everlasting Songs For Everlasting Lovers (1964)
  • Intimately Yours (1964)
  • A Double Header With Arthur Prysock (1965)
  • Arthur Prysock and Count Basie (1965)
  • Strictly Sentimental (1965)
  • Art & Soul (1966)
  • Love Me (1967)
  • Mister Prysock (1967)
  • Funny Thing (1968)
  • I Must Be Doing Something Right (1968)
  • To Love or Not to Love (1968)
  • This Is My Beloved (1968)
  • Where the Soul Trees Grow (1969)
  • The Country Side of Arthur Prysock (1970)
  • Fly My Love (1970)
  • Unforgettable (1970)
  • Arthur Prysock '74 (1974)
  • Love Makes It Right (1974)
  • All My Life (1976)
  • Does It Again! (1977)
  • Here's to Good Friends (1978)
  • A Rockin' Good Way (1985)
  • This Guy's in Love With You (1987)
  • Today's Love Songs, Tomorrow's Blues (1988)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 288. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  2. ^ a b Arthur Prysock, FindaGrave.com. Retrieved 30 October 2016
  3. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 360. 
  4. ^ a b c d Benjamin Franklin, Jazz & Blues Musicians of South Carolina, Univ of South Carolina Press, 2008, pp.40-46
  5. ^ a b Allmusic
  6. ^ a b c Stephen Holden, "Arthur Prysock, 68, a Rhythm-and-Blues Singer", New York Times, June 25, 1997. Retrieved 31 October 2016
  7. ^ J C Marion, "Walk 'Em : The Buddy Johnson Story", 2004
  8. ^ a b Spencer Leigh, "Obituary: Arthur Prysock", The Independent, 22 August 1997. Retrieved 31 October 2016
  9. ^ a b c Ron Wynn, "Arthur Prysock", in Encyclopedia of the Blues, Psychology Press, 2006, p.787
  10. ^ "This is My Beloved". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 567. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.