Monday, October 27, 2008

Pat Suzuki - Looking At You (1960)

Pat Suzuki was the first
Japanese American singer signed to a recording contract to a major label in the U.S.

It's a shameful state of affairs when just about all of her classic albums are currently

Take a listen to Ms. Suzuki's voice on this LP, accompanied by Ralph Burns and his orchestra (including Doc Severinsen and Milt Hinton), and you'll likely agree.

Pat Suzuki was born in 1934 in California's Central Valley, in the farming community of Cressey, where she sang in church and at community events as a child.

Born second-generation Japanese American, she and her family were relocated to the
Amache internment camp near Granada, Colorado during World War II.

Following the war, her family returned to California, where Pat graduated from San Jose State University in 1954.

During a return to San Jose State for postgraduate work in education, Pat sang at local jazz clubs.
Members of the teaching credential committee disapproved, and Pat was denied her teaching certification.

She soon moved to New York, where she began an acting career.

While appearing in the play 'Tea House of the August Moon', the touring company she was with traveled to Seattle, Washington.

Following one evening's show, the cast wound up at The Colony, a popular jazz club in Seattle.
After an impromptu performance on their stage, Pat was offered a regular gig by the club's manager, Norm Bobrow.

Pat Suzuki soon became a staple of Seattle's nightclub scene, and the story goes that it was while singing at The Colony in 1957 that she was 'discovered' by Bing Crosby, who helped her obtain a recording contract with RCA Victor, beginning with it's Vik subsidiary label.

Suzuki had her Broadway debut in Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'Flower Drum Song', which opened in December of 1958 and ran for 600 performances.

During the show's initial stage run and on the original cast album, she popularized the song 'I Enjoy Being A Girl' (though, unlike her co-star Miyoshi Umeki, she did not appear in the 1961 film version).

From the Pat Suzuki LP
'Looking At You'
(RCA Victor Records, 1960),
Listen to:

Looking At You
Small World
Cheek To Cheek
He's My Guy
My Funny Valentine
You Better Go Now
You Brought A New Kind of Love To Me
I See Your Face Before Me
I Didn't Know About You
Easy Living
Don't Look At Me That Way
Let Me Love You

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 12 tracks in one 50.4 Mb zipfile.

- Click on link to read the album's back cover liner notes

See also:
- From the December 22nd, 1958 issue of TIME magazine, read
'The Girls on Grant Avenue', an article about the stage production of 'Flower Drum Song' and its cast, including Miyoshi Umeki and Pat Suzuki.
A biography of Pat Suzuki begins on page 5 of the story.

- A 'Miss Ponytail' post at Schadenfreudian Therapy


Preston said...

I totally love your blog. I want to subscribe to it. Do you have an RSS feed?

The In Crowd said...

Hey Preston - -

Thanks, glad you're enjoying visiting.

I've just added that Blogger subscription link gadget to my blog's sidebar (just like on your blog).

Will that be sufficient for you?

Just don't ask me if I understand any of it...

DJWildBill said...

There's a problem with two of the tracks on this posting. "Easy Living" & "Don't Look At Me That Way" both cut out about half way through the song. I have a feeling your ripper program didn't successfully capture the tracks. Could you please re-rip these two and re-up them?

I've staggered by Pat Suzuki's vocals. She sounds like a blending of Rosemary Clooney, Judy Garland, and Diana Krall. Were she to come along today, her talent would sell out shows all over the US and around the world. Too bad she appeared so early in our history...

The In Crowd said...

Hey DJ - -

Thanks for your note, but I'm not yet clear on the problem.

Both of those tracks seem to play just fine for me.

Are you talking about problems in playing or downloading?

Is there anyone else out there experiencing the same problem??

Ravel said...

I agree for the fact that it's great a shame that her records are OP. And her reprint CD sells for a lot! Ouch.

rita said...

hi! i've been a long-time lurker and first time poster. i admire your blog. it's so awesome!!! thank you so much for all the effort in putting all these together for all of us to enjoy. this gives us the chance to walk down the memory lane. keep up the fantastic job!

pat suzuki's voice is astonishing! i agree on the other posters that she can, easily, perform along with the other legends. what an incredible voice and talent!

The In Crowd said...

Hey: DJ WildBill - -

Try it now...

DJWildBill said...

Jim, it still didn't work for me but I tried something else and that worked perfectly. I opened the files in GOM Viewer and used the audio capture function to create WAV format files of each song then I converted those back into MP3s in Sound Force 8.0. Now we have files without the glitch and they can be burned onto disc without errors. Take the above link to my site and you can download the two cleaned files (now at 320K) then upload them back onto your blog for your audience.

Thanks for sharing Pat Suzuki's voice with this century and thanks again for allowing teamwork!


Sarah said...

I just want to say that towards the end of his life Norm Bobrow was a really close friend of my family's - and I've been following this blog for a while, on and off, and it's really touching to see him get a mention. As soon as I saw Pat Suzuki, he was the first thing that came to mind. Thank you! I'm glad people are still remembering him.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

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