A Mostly Mirthful Blog of Music and Miscellany
please o please tell us all about Nick de Frances!j.
He was the first singer-pianist at Jilly's, beginning in 1955 through approx 1959. He recorded almost not at all, which is somewhat sad because he is said to be nearly unsurpassed in his field. Knew the lyrics to every song, etc. He began performing in approximately 1940. Legend has it that singer Beverly Kenney's suicide was precipitated by that of her good friend De Frances. Probably not a romantic relationship, however, if you catch my drift. "Don't Ask" was released a few days before he did away with himself in 1960. Go figure?
Thanks for the lecture on De Frances...Did he ever made a complete album...I was somewhat "blurred", cause I listened first to the other track 'Fly Me To The Moon' and thought that "he was a she", cause that's a girl singing there!!!!! Who is that.Did de Frances ever made a full album?j.
He cut eight songs for an obscure Phila label, TuneDisk, in 1948. All original songs. Susan Van Dusen, Just for Spite, How Can I Smile, etc. One of the tracks was reissued on Columbia, In Martha's Eyes. The latter shows up on ebay from time to time.
Came across a song of Nick De Frances on YouTube entitled "If I Were A Little Boy" and his voice (that is, his speaking voice, as he speaks in the song) is similar to the voice of the interviewer from the early to mid 1950s interview with BK.Would it be plausible that he conducted the interview?
The interview you write about---if it's the one I'm thinking of ---was not conducted by the deeply mysterious De Francis but by jazz jock Art Ford. "If I Were a Little Boy" sounds, to my ears, like it could almost be the pedophile national anthem. In one of his columns Walter Wincell suggests that the death of De Francis was a murder, but I've received recent communications from someone who found the body and there is NO question in her mind that it was anything but a suicide. Every person I've communicated with considers De Francis just about the best major singer who, finally, never WAS. No wonder he was supposedly/allegedly Beverly Kenney's best friend.
Ahh OK thank you very much. I had been curious as to the man's identity.I have to admit I had the exact same thought while listening to it...he has such a splendid voice, so lyrics with such seemingly lascivious undertones make listening to that song in particular a bit uncomfortable to say the least...which is made more difficult by the fact that it's one of a very few available on the internet.Thank you for the great insight. I agree. That does sound an awful lot like BK's situation.Just quickly, how is his name spelled exactly? I've seen it spelled a few ways. Also, is there any surviving picture of him at all? I'd just like to put a face to the voice, though given this man's mysterious nature, I can imagine there isn't!
I have seen every spelling permutation possible, including small de and capital De. If forced to choose, I would go with the spelling on the Dwayne 45, i.e. "Nick de Francis." I have never seen a photo of him. He performed at Jilly's for years. Must be tons of pub photos still floating around. Believed to have worn a toupee. Also said to've have been very effeminate, i.e. spottable from outer space. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But, in those pre-liberated times,, this might have had a negative impact on his marketability. Nick's, ummmm, nelliness is said to have driven Jilly up the wall. "
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