Sunday, 13 June 2010

Spirit of Las Vegas

While at the theatre in Croydon for Stepping Out on Friday, I spotted among the flyers and posters for tribute bands, comedy nights, faux Proms, stage versions of Hi de Hi and Fireman Sam and the touring production of Joseph, a poster for an evening with Buddy Greco and his Swinging Las Vegas Show!

To me the Fairfield Halls seems a slightly incongruous venue for such a legendary figure in swing music - it being, as we discussed on the evening, a sort of combination of old NHS hospital, cross-channel ferry and regional airport lounge.

For Snr Greco was one of the many musicians who played with the Rat Pack back in their heyday, and hob-nobbed with the greats such as Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and Shirley MacLaine. Indeed none other than Frank Sinatra took Buddy under his (considerably influential) wing back in the 50s, got him a recording contract and supported his career as a band-leader and singer. He even had a major hit with a version of Frank's standard The Lady Is A Tramp.

Buddy Greco is a rare thing these days - alongside the likes of Tony Bennett - a genuine survivor of those heady days of US post-war musical decadence among the glittering lights and Mafia-influenced casinos of Las Vegas. His musical career spans seven decades, with hundreds of hits and awards to show for it. It is fab to find that at the age of 84 he is still performing (even if it is in Croydon) - and in the true spirit of "Sunday Music", Viva Buddy Greco!

Buddy Greco website

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