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 "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 (Old Town LP-102, 1960)
  • Arthur Prysock Sings Only For You (Old Town LP-2004, 1962)
  • Coast To Coast (Old Town LP-2005, 1963)
  • A Portrait of Arthur Prysock (Old Town LP-2006, 1963; reissue: Verve V6-5012, 1967)
  • Everlasting Songs For Everlasting Lovers (Old Town LP-2007, 1964)
  • Intimately Yours (Old Town LP-2008, 1964)
  • A Double Header With Arthur Prysock (Old Town LP-2009, 1965)
  • In A Mood With Arthur Prysock (Old Town LP-2010, 1965)
  • Strictly Sentimental (Decca DL-4581, 1965) compilation of material recorded 1951–1953.
  • Arthur Prysock Showcase: Songs That Made Him Famous (Decca DL-4628, 1965) compilation of early material featuring Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra.
  • Arthur Prysock and Count Basie (Verve V6-8646, 1965 [rel. 1966])
  • Mr. Arthur Prysock and Guest (Old Town LP-2011, 1966) 3 tracks with Count Basie, plus 8 tracks released on singles.
  • Art & Soul (Verve V6-5009, 1966)
  • Mister Prysock (Verve V6-5014, 1967) reissue of Sings Only For You, plus 2 tracks from Intimately Yours.
  • Love Me (Verve V6-5029, 1967)
  • To Love Or Not To Love (Verve V6-5048, 1968)
  • I Must Be Doing Something Right (Verve V6-5059, 1968)
  • This Is My Beloved (Verve V6-5070, 1968 [rel. 1969])
  • Funny Thing (MGM SE-4694, 1968 [rel. 1970])
  • The Country Side of Arthur Prysock (King KSD-1064, 1969)
  • Where The Soul Trees Grow (King KSD-1066, 1969)
  • The Lord Is My Shepherd (King KSD-1067, 1969)
  • Fly My Love (King KSD-1088, 1970)
  • Unforgettable (King KSD-1134, 1971)
  • Arthur Prysock '74 (Old Town 12-001, 1973)
  • Love Makes It Right (Old Town 12-002, 1974)
  • All My Life (Old Town 12-004, 1976)
  • Does It Again (Old Town 12-005, 1977)
  • Here's To Good Friends (MCA 3061, 1978)
  • A Rockin' Good Way (Milestone 9139, 1985)
  • This Guy's In Love With You (Milestone 9146, 1986)
  • Today's Love Songs, Tomorrow's Blues (Milestone 9157, 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.