The Lost Crooner
Tommy Mara | J-Bird Records

  Excerpts by Dave Nathan

  Tommy Mara's 1998/1999 comeback album is divided into two parts. The first three tracks are from the present where Mara is backed by some outstanding New York musicians. Back in the 1950's, Tommy Mara had a burgeoning career complete with top-40 presence and a growing fan club. He then disappeared from the scene until now, reemerging with this album. The initial three cuts show that Mara still possesses a smooth baritone voice, albeit more mature. The remainder of the tracks feature a considerably younger Mara singing in a big band setting with some good arrangements such as "I Cried for You", as well as in some fairly Lawrence Welk like corny settings including "Marie". But even these are fun The play list is similarly divided. There's the classic standards such as "Fools Rush In" and "I Get a Kick out of You". An earlier Mara version with big band for "I Get a Kick out of You" is also on the play list... Then there are some of the pop tunes from the 1950's - There is a big band backed  "I Cried for You" which makes one understand the reasons Mara's former popularity. For a blast from the past with a nod to the present, this album is recommended.

 

By Scott H. Thompson

"My first break was when I was only thirteen, 1947, when Vic Damone asked me back on stage to sing his hit record, 'I Have But One Heart.' Of course, Vic was always my favorite after that." When Tommy was fourteen, he won the "King of the Baritones" contest at the Miss Connecticut pageant, winning out over the older pros to get a spot on the beauty pageant on the Boardwalk. "Now that's a tour. Too bad I was still a baby. I don't know how many times I heard, 'If only you were a few years...' from the most beautiful girls in Connecticut !"

In a scene straight out of the slick '50's...shark skin suits surround 'The Lost Crooner' at a collector's record shop deep in 1997 New York City . "You're the Tommy Mara?!" They stare in disbelief. Tommy is a legend with the swing kids.

In the '50's, Tommy Mara had a 100,000-base fan club, top-40 records getting national airplay...and then...he just split the scene. Some say organized crime muscled him out...Tommy says it was the death of his father in 1961. Tommy lost his will to swing. We are blessed to have him back on the bandstand. And the hip swing kids stare in awe at 'The Lost Crooner' from New Haven , Connecticut .

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