THE BENSONHURST section
of Brooklyn, New York has been the birthplace of many popular groups
of the 1950's and 60's. The Four Evers, The Passions, The Classics
and The Mystics all grew up together and the main reason so many
groups evolved was that at any given time there were just so many
vocalists joining together for a night of corner harmonising.
It was in 1956 that Al
Contrera was asked to join a local band known as the Overons, when
their bass left the group. The other members, Al Cracolici -
baritone, Joe Stroble - lead, George Galfo - second tenor and Bob
Ferrante - first tenor were eventually joined by Al's brother Phil
Cracolici as their new lead singer after Joe's departure. In 1958
they changed their name to the Mystics, a name they agreed on after
finding it in the dictionary.
They soon were to receive their first
big break, when in the process of recording some original demos an
engineer at the studio, who liked their sound, phoned Jim Gribble,
the well-known manager, for an audition. In the winter of 1958 the Mystics not only had a personal manager but within two months they had
a record contract with Laurie Records.
The people at Laurie were not
happy with the group's potential first release, ‘Adam And Eve’
and, while waiting to find the right song, had the band do various
background vocals for single artists on their Laurie label.
Eventually the writing team of Doc Pomus and Morty Shuman were
contacted by Gribble to listen to the group and write a song that
would fit the group's soft sound. Morty was from the same
neighborhood as the fellows and took a personal interest in the
group. In the next few days Morty and Doc contacted Gene Schwartz of
Laurie and asked him to assemble the Mystics to hear the new song he
had written for them. The song was ‘Teenager In Love’, Laurie
Records realised the hit potential of the song and felt that since
Dion and The Belmonts were already established it would be to their
advantage to give the song to them and bypass the Mystics.
Both the band and writers were heartbroken. Gene suggested that the current
hit by the Elegants, ‘Little Star’ would be the perfect type of
sound for the Mystics to emulate. On this suggestion Morty and Doc
left the Laurie offices only to return the next day with ‘Hushabye'
and the rest is history.
This vinyl-record album not only includes the Mystics 6
singles (12 sides) but4 unreleased masters (3 of which have surfaced
on a Crystal Ball album) and the never before released ‘Over The
Rainbow’. This album of original Mystics material was long overdue
and the people at Ace Records have spent a lot of time and effort to
bring you this great package. ED ENGEL. Crystal Ball Records