Frankie Laine / Buck Clayton: Until the Real Thing Comes Along


Until the Real Thing Comes Along


Frankie Laine (vocals) and Buck Clayton (trumpet)


Frankie Laine with Buck Clayton: Jazz Spectacular (Sony 65507)

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Frankie Laine (vocals), Buck Clayton (trumpet), Dicky Wells (trombone), Hilton Jefferson (alto sax), Budd Johnson (tenor sax), Milt Hinton (bass),

Ray Copeland (trumpet), Al Sears (tenor sax), Dave McRae (baritone sax), Al Lerner (piano), Skeeter Best (guitar), Bobby Donaldson (drums)


Composed by Sammy Cahn, Saul Chaplin, L.E. Freeman, Mann Holiner & Alberta Nichols. Arranged by Buck Clayton


Recorded: New York, October 26, 1955


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

If you remember Frankie Laine, you're definitely on AARP's mailing list. During the 1950s, Old Leather Lungs, as the manly baritone was affectionately known, regularly occupied both the Hit Parade and Western-themed film soundtracks. Indeed, in the latter capacity, Mr. Steel Tonsils might be vaguely familiar even to youngsters, given his manly rendering of the whip-lashing title song to Mel Brooks's manliest movie, Blazing Saddles (1974).

So what, you ask impatiently, does any of this have to do with jazz? Well, if you're going to get snooty about it, nothing. We're just trying to give you a measure of the man so you can appreciate the cosmic unlikelihood of his co-leading an LP called Jazz Spectacular.

Yet in the '50s, anything could happen. And sure, enough, here's that manly singer of Rawhide, the CBS-TV series (1959-1966) that launched Clint Eastwood's own manly career, teamed with heart-throb handsome trumpeter Buck Clayton. (Come to think of it, "Buck Clayton" does sound like a rough-ridin' straight-shootin' Western hero.)

On this genial standard from 1936, abetted by Basie veteran Clayton's relaxed 1930s Basie-style arrangement and the distinctive soloing of trombonist Dicky Wells, Mr. Steel Tonsils displays surprisingly agreeable phrasing for a pop vocalist. Perhaps Will Friedwald, in his book Jazz Singing (1992), too harshly dismissed Frankie Laine as a talentless hack. Judging by this track, Old Leather Lungs will do "Until the Real Thing Comes Along."

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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  • 1 Mark Gallagher // May 27, 2008 at 03:48 AM
    If you would go back a little farther you would have discovered that Frankie started out as a jazz singer. His first recording was pure jazz. He also had several hits with it too. It wasn't till Mitch Miller came to Mercury records in 1948 and talked Frankie into doing more modern and manly numbers. Then he had three #1 records in a row. Frankie always thought of himself as a jazz singer from Chicago.
  • 2 Elijah Ledimo // Nov 08, 2008 at 06:31 PM
    May I know if a CD of: Jam Session, and/or The Hucklebuck featuring Buck Clayton is available. Kind regards, Elijah