With sparkling productions and smooth, soothing harmonies, this white doo-wop group from Brooklyn created an array of classics. Here are 16: their 1959 hit Don't Take the Stars and their definitive Hushabye plus Blue Star; Again; Adam and Eve; So Tenderly; Over the Rainbow , and more!
The doo-wop quintet of lead Phil Cracolici, baritone Albee Cracolici, first tenor Bob Ferrante, second tenor George Galfo and bass Al Contrera, were one of the few such groups from the area to escape the clutches of producer Hy Weiss and his Old Town label. Instead their manager, Jim Gribble, hooked The Mystics up with Laurie Records of New York, run by Gene Schwartz and Allan I. Sussel.
At their first sessions late in 1958, the group cut a cover of Wimoweh, the 1952 hit by Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra & The Weavers, and something called Adam And Eve (not the same song as the later Paul Anka minor hit). Feeling these weren't worthy of release, Schwartz and Sussel had the song-writing team of Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus write something new and suitable for group harmony, but when they came up with A Teenager In Love that was, instead, turned over to THE premier Laurie group, Dion & The Belmonts.
Back to the drawing board, the writers then produced Hushabye which was rehearsed, recorded and distributed as Laurie 3028 in the early spring of 1959 b/w Adam And Eve, and everyone marvelled as it rose to 20 Billboard Pop Hot 100 by June. Indeed, the ill-fated and renowned DJ/promoter Alan Freed liked it so much he began using it as his closing theme for his Big Beat Show. Unfortunately, that big hit was the apex of their recording career as the follow-up Don't Take The Stars could only manage a weak # 98 Hot 100 in October b/w So Tenderly on Laurie 3038.
It was around this time that Phil left the group and so, to maintain it as a quintet, Gribble added a 19-year-old named Paul Simon - destined for much greater things - for the sessions producing All Through The Night and (I Began) To Think Of You Again which, with no distinct lead, came out on Laurie 3049 early in 1960. Without impact on the charts. Then Simon left, and his replacement was John "Jay" Traynor - himself destined to have a huge hit in a couple of years as lead for Jay & The Americans - for the recording of The White Cliffs Of Dover and Blue Star, coupled on Laurie 3058 later in 1960. Again, with no chart success.
The Mystics - 16 Golden Hits
Label: Collectables Records 1991