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

Kurtis Blow: The Breaks Part 1 (1980)

Kurtis Blow: The Breaks Part 1 (1980)

It seems a curious thing that in hip-hop -- which often brags about how much it respects its past -- the briefly famous Kurtis Blow should have disappeared from the landscape. But The Breaks... > Read more

Ma Rainey: Toad Frog Blues (1924)

Ma Rainey: Toad Frog Blues (1924)

Few would have described Ma Rainey (1886 - 1939) as one of God's finest creations. Her pianist Thomas A. Dorsey said charitably "I couldn't say that she was a good looking woman". In... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Angela's Low-fat Moist Cake which serves 12!

Angela's Low-fat Moist Cake which serves 12!

This is Angela's recipe under the very enticing (and somewhat healthy) title, and one which she says is a New Zealand adaption -- or is that "adaptation"? I've got into this discussion... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: ZZ Top; The Very Best of ZZ Top; Rancho Texicano

THE BARGAIN BUY: ZZ Top; The Very Best of ZZ Top; Rancho Texicano

In a few weeks -- perhaps far too soon for many -- the first 10 ZZ Top albums are being reissued in a box set. That's a whole lotta Top -- perhaps far too much for many -- but, if we might be... > Read more