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Tony Drake


Tony Drake

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Sunday, May 17, 2009



The Next Teen Heart-Throb
In April 1969, record industry organs scrambled to find enough superlatives for a new single, “Let’s Play House,” released on the New York City-based Musicor label. Billboard shown its Special Merit Spotlight on the platter, trumpeting it as a “strong vocal workout on an equally strong and driving blues ballad that should make quite a dent in both the pop and R&B charts. ” Cashbox raved that the “sparkling ballad opens strong and maintains the narrative impact all the way through.” Four stars were awarded by Record World, which went on to note that the vocalist “sings his heart out on this winning ballad like the teen heart throb he could easily become.”
How could the crystal balls of all three publications have been so off the mark, without Billboard‘s prophecy of a “dent” in the charts even causing a ripple? Why is it that, more than thirty years later, R&B aficionados around the world have come to recognize “Let’s Play House” as the classic it has deservedly become? What prevented all those teenage hearts from throbbing at the mere sound of the name Tony Drake?
“I really don‘t feel too bad because the record company wasn’t equipped for such a success,” noted an introspective Drake in a recent interview. “They just didn‘t know what to do with the record.


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