Jay and the Americans: Tomorrow (1962)

 |   |  1 min read

Jay and the Americans: Tomorrow (1962)

Although they hit their peak when the American bands fought back against the British Invasion in the mid Sixties, Jay and the Americans always seemed like a band from an earlier era with their big ballad hit Cara Mia. 

In fact they were, they'd been around since the late Fifites in some form or other and their sound was rooted in Italian ballads and the close harmony style of the Four Freshmen. They'd had a hit in '62 with the big weepy She Cried (which was later covered to equally overwrought effect by PJ Proby).

It was a couple years before they stormed the charts again with Come a Little Bit Closer written by Boyce and Hart (later to write for the Monkees) and Wes Farrell who wrote Boys and Hang on Sloopy. Then Cara Mia (which was co-written by Mantovani).

In '68 when the world was going day-glo and psychedelic Jay and the Americans recorded an album of old favourites like This Magic Moment, My Prayer and Mean Woman Blues.

So Jay and the Americans (Jay being John Traynor who, when the group split in '73, contunued to perform under the band name) were never cutting edge . . . although in an interesting footnote those admirers of older styles of songwriting and jazz Donald Fagen and Walter Becker (of Steely Dan) were in their touring band at the start of the Seventies.

713iDfkCVYL._SX425_This track -- full of their signature strings, harmony vocals, melodrama and Jay's confident voice -- appeared on the excellent album Saint Etienne Present Songs for the Carnegie Deli, a  24-song collection of oddities and oldies compiled by SE's Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley (on Ace, through Border in New Zealand).

Jay and the Americans are alongside Irma Thomas, Chuck Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Chiffons, Lesley Gore and many others, some of whom are forgotten greats.

The Etienne's Stanley says his first encounter of New York was the Brill Building and the Carnegie Deli where he fancied what kind of music must have played there back when the singers, songwriters and song pluggers ate their motza ball soup and sipped coffee.

These may well have been on the Deli's jukebox. 

For more one-offs, songs with an interesting backstory or just plain odd things see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

The Pretty Things: Don't Bring Me Down (1964)

The Pretty Things: Don't Bring Me Down (1964)

Most people lie about their school days: no one wants to admit they were ordinary. Better to say you hung around behind the bike shed, that teachers and kids hated you for your music, clothes or... > Read more

Lucille Bogan: Shave 'Em Dry II (1935)

Lucille Bogan: Shave 'Em Dry II (1935)

In these days of earnestly crotch-thrusting young women on video clips you long for something which has that long forgotten ingredient: wit. Old time blues is ripe with innuendo, downhome... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND; VANISHING POINT (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND; VANISHING POINT (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

Although this 90 minute film of the career of the Velvet Underground leaps in when Lou Reed met John Cale --as if nothing of consequence had happened in each of their lives prior to that -- what... > Read more

Richard Nunns and Mark Lockett: Redaction (Rattle)

Richard Nunns and Mark Lockett: Redaction (Rattle)

The background to this recording -- conceived as spontaneous improvisations between taonga puoro master Richard Nunns and percussionist Mark Lockett in conjunction with an audio-visual installation... > Read more