In 1944 popular touring bandleader Buddy Johnson found Prysock in Hartford Connecticut and signed him as a vocalist. Prysock became a mainstay of the live big band performance circuit, singing on several of Buddy Johnson’s hits on Decca Records (“Jet My Love”, 1947 and “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone”, 1948) and later on Mercury Records (“Because”, 1950). Other signature tracks that Prysock recorded for Buddy Johnson’s Orchestra between 1944 and 1952 included “They All Say I’m the Biggest Fool,” and “At Last.”
He went solo in the early 1950’s, and had an R&B hit with “I Didn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night,” and was oft found performing on the road with his saxophonist brother Red Prysock. Tracks like “I Worry ‘Bout You” in 1958, “The Very Thought Of You” in 1960, and 1965’s “It’s Too Late Baby, It’s Too Late” were hits on the Old Town label. Old Town, became his home through much of the late 50’s & early 60’s and again through the 70’s after a brief late 60’s stint with Verve.
With his concert popularity building, Verve picked him up, and paired him with Count Basie for an album in 1965, and after years of one-nighters on the Chitlin circuit, he finally performed at Carnegie Hall in 1966. Many productions from the 60’s & 70’s place Prysock in baths of syrupy strings & over orchestrated arrangements that have woefully buried his voice. He remains largely under appreciated as an ‘easy listening’ artist by modern audiences, with the Verve Music Group not even bothering to provide a bio on their website, despite selling his recordings.
In the 70s, he kept recording for Old Town, and had smatterings of success like the circa ‘73 northern soul In the Rain fave and a surprise disco hit with “When Love is New”. By 1980 “I’m Never Gonna Let You Go” was recorded for Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label . In 1985, recorded his first new album in almost a decade,signing with Milestone Records in 1986. He continued recording jazz ballads & blues for Milestone, accompanied by his brother Red Prysock. His Milestone recordings were considered comebacks and “A Rockin’ Good Way,” (’85) and its follow up, “This Guy’s in Love with You,” (’86) rekindled his career, and he received 2 Grammy nomination for his latter career efforts, one a duet with Betty Joplin. His last studio effort was released in 1987, and a collection of his Milestone Recordings was re-issued in 2000 via the Concord Music Group. Prysock received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1995 and passed away in 1997 after suffering an aneurysm at age 73 in Bermuda where he had a retirement residence.
Edited by dvoodoo on 5 Nov 2011, 04:07
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