10 January 2014

Discovering Gene McDaniels

After expressing my intense dislike of  Frank Sinatra over a pre-Christmas dinner, I was asked who my favorite "Crooner" was. Was it Mel Torme? "No," I said while thinking Mel was more obnoxious than Frank.  "Tony Bennett?" I shook my head and added, "Only if it's Alec Baldwin doing Bennett." "Well…who then?"  I thought for a moment and finally blurted, "Harry Nilsson." My dinner companions feigned an ersatz, "Hmmm, interesting…" and returned to their Welsh Rarebit appetizer.

If I had only seen Gene McDaniels.

Hidden away in the white watusi world of Dixieland Jazz and Brit Pop that is, "It's Trad Dad," which I do love, is the elegant performance of Gene McDaniels lending soul to an equally white watusi Bacharach and David standard, "Another Tear Falls." It's timeless, smokey and sadly too short -- McDaniel's creamy but blasting vocal gives me goosebumps.

My cynicism was not at all surprised when I discovered Gene McDaniel's singing career never took off the way it should have.  But Gene wrote the hit, "Compared to What" for Les McCann and in this video shortly before his death in 2011, he goes into fascinating detail about his struggles and his eventual success as songwriter and music producer.

I'm just beginning to discover Gene and have no business writing about his career or music.  But if you, like me, never heard of Gene and are as moved by "Another Tear" as I am, then you'll have an answer when asked who your favorite crooner is.

Eugene McDaniels Website


Dallas said...

happy new year.

musical discoveries are the best. eddie hinton, terry reid and steve marriott are all worth the digging.

Kathy said...

You had me at Harry Nilsson.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy this ,what a find! I do like Sinatra's early ( 1930's into the 1940's) work, his ability to draw out a note was rare, almost trombone-like phrasing. Past that, the one recording that might interest you is Watertown. It is fairly twisted, co written by Jake "Dazed & Confused, Be all you can be" Holmes and worth a spin. However the whole ring a ding swinging creep who spit out his lyrics and seemed to hold his audiences in contempt -no thanks. Ever read Dom Dunne's The Way We lived Then? Sinatra was poorly behaved. Oh and Eddie Hinton's Very Extremely Dangerous? Find it. It is a great lost soul record.It is approved by this non-trad reader.For what that is worth.

TRVS said...

Caution: Do Not Drink Alcohol while listening to this product. A regretful late night call could result. After affects unknown.

Smitty said...

Good call Tintin. Loved the video and his very likable personality. What a life....and to go in his sleep, he would probably say, "Man, it doesn't get much better than that."

If your readers don't have "Swiss Movement" in their music collections, now's the time to get "Compared To What" and a host of other great songs on that album!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you weren't kidding about Gene McDaniels, Tintin.


Main Line Sportsman said...

Mel Carter clone…..
But he does have some pipes!

Anonymous said...

His 70's soul LPs are classics!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Check out Bobby Cole. Hard to find but you won't be disappointed.


tintin said...

Thanks for the heads up. Interesting guy. He sounds a lot like Bobby Short but with an edge.