Who was/is John Buck & The Blazers ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
John Buck & The Blazers
John Buck, the subject of this first-ever complete compilation, was an orchestra leader and composer who recorded for three American labels and enjoyed an international hit in 1960 with the atmospheric instrumental, Chi Chi.
So successful in Germany was Chi Chi in fact, that when Buck wasn't able to deliver an immediate follow-up, his German label minted a counterfeit 'Buck.' In the States, the single was released – this time promoting the other side -- on a second U.S. label, as by an artist mysteriously billed as 'Kalasandro.'
But first, let's talk about Barry DeVorzon, whose career as a songwriter, singer, music publisher and label owner was far more successful.
Born 3 July, 1933 in New York City, Barry was the son of singer and violinist Jules DeVorzon. "My mother was from a very nice and affluent family in New York, who owned a resort hotel in Pennsylvania," Barry elaborates. "Jules led the orchestra there, and wound up marrying the boss's daughter. Her family wasn't impressed by her falling in love with a musician, though when he joined Rudy Vallee's orchestra as vocalist and first violinist and became famous, they liked him a lot better."
As Vallee became increasingly famous, he stepped to the front of the orchestra as featured singer, relegating the elder DeVorzon back to the violin section, contributing only occasional vocals.
Leaving the Vallee organization, DeVorzon took his duo (sometimes Trio) act to night clubs across the country. "He was a great family man," Barry recalls, "and took us with him. For him, it was great. But for my sister and me, it was like being gypsies."
As a young man, Barry was – by his own reckoning – "a terrific violinist. Enough so that my mother became terrified that I'd become a professional musician, so she and my father discontinued my lessons."
When the DeVorzons finally settled down, it was in Palm Springs, 90 miles from Los Angeles and not yet the playground of the wealthy that it would become. "My father went into real estate, and would play occasional gigs. He knew a lot of show business people -- Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor and those guys – which helped him in the real estate business.
"My parents decided it would be nice if my sister would play piano; something that proper young girls did. They bought a piano, but after a while, both my sister and the piano teacher lost interest, and the instrument just sat around as part of our living room furniture. By the time I was in high school, I started noodling around on it to where I got to be able to play my songs and some of the hits of the day. I never had any formal training."
Attending Pasadena City College, Barry and some friends appeared on disc jockey Peter Potter's television talent show. And, to their surprise, they won. "A big publisher took our song, but nothing happened. Then I went into the Navy for four years."
Anybody who's served in the armed forces could predict what happened then. "When I enlisted, they asked me what I did. I told them I was a singer and a musician... so they sent me to machinist's school. For four years, I was in the engine room of a destroyer; also in charge of refrigeration and air conditioning – I never thought about music."
Sensing that his future was in air conditioning, upon mustering out of the Navy, he enrolled in a professional school.
Music: Hot; Air Conditioning: Not So Cool
Concurrently with Barry's nautical adventure, however, his sister had gone to work for Harry Bluestone, a prominent studio violinist who sidelined as a music publisher, "and she kept pushing my songs. Finally, he agreed to publish a song called 'Look What You've Done To Me'.
"A couple of years went by, and I was attending (air conditioning) school, when my sister called me – my song was on the radio – by (veteran big band baritone) Bob Carroll on Bally Records. I called the local record store, Music City and asked if they had the record. They did. I said 'You DO?' I went down, saw my name on the record, and it was 'hello, music, goodbye air conditioning'." Though the single's other side, Butterfly, became the bigger hit, DeVorzon's song received an equal writers' royalty for every copy sold.
John Buck & The Blazers Chi Chi
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