Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Joe

(photo of my brother in law Brian flanked by Joe and his son Joe)

Happy Birthday, Joe. My brother, Joe's birthday is today, June 1. If you know him, give him a call and wish him a good one! Joe is one of the finest guys I know. He is one of those go-to guys. I know I can call him anytime, for anything. I got a flat tire on the George Washington bridge - I called Joe. Needed someone to talk to a guy and straighten him out when we were in high school - Joe's the man. It has been many years since those days. Joe has kids in elementary school through college. My girls are both in their 20s. But we still laugh about the same stuff and the same phrases crack us up.

There are also many differences between us but those are mostly his many talents and abilities. When we were 15 and 16, respectively, our folks got us voice lessons for Christmas. I took my lesson first. I have a pretty good voice, but not professional. Then I sat back and Joe took his lesson next. He was so amazing that I gave up my lessons and got a reality check about both my talent (okay) and his (abundant and amazing.) He has sung professionally for many years and continues to do so occasionally, when the spirit moves him, usually in a Manhattan club. Joe has always gone by the stage name, Joe Francis, but since the Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild phase (someone utterly different than my brother), it is hard to find my brother among the unfortunate mess of the other Joe Francis, especially on the web. I'll keep you posted on future events.

A recent article about Joe:
"Born in Connecticut, USA, Joe Francis learned his craft with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and studied voice under such renowned coaches as Vera Mazel and Maria Farnworth. ...Joe's professional singing career began in 1982, when among other engagements he opened for the famed comedian Henny Youngman.His rich and flexible baritone voice led him to tour extensively, performing throughout the US, Europe and Japan, sometimes playing in front of audiences of up to 40,000. In 1986 Joe decided to leave the Glenn Miller Orchestra and concentrate on developing a solo career, immediately earning praise from such celebrities as Jack Jones, Larry Hagman, and Miss Rosemary Clooney...."Joe Francis is that rare breed - a singer with a voice that is good to the ear....Later in the decade Joe was championed in the UK by the Sinatra Music Society.Award-winning producer Ken Barnes (who worked with some of the best, including Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby and Jack Jones) was brought in to work with Joe....Joe just doesn't sing a song he tells a story."...Drawing on the Great American Songbook, Francis has a distinctive intonation and impeccable delivery.Following the success of "Every Step of the Way" Francis enjoyed great success both sides of the Atlantic appearing on BBC Television with the BBC Big Band (conducted by Jack Parnell)....He was such a lyrical saxophonist whose knowledge of songs was staggering" Francis commented at the time. ...With a young family to support Francis kept his regular work to the local vicinity of New York/New Jersey such as gigs with the highly respected Tony Corbiscello orchestra, doing regular stints including New York's prestigious Rainbow Room. ...In late 2004 Francis signed with a new international management team, Damone Management Group, Inc. headed by Perry Damone, son of legendary singer Vic Damone....Recently Francis did a tribute to another Francis, one Francis Albert Sinatra, at the Bardavon Opera House in New York.Then, following a very successful UK tour in early 2005 and a successful new CD release "Easy to Remember", Francis is currently being considered for a leading role in one of UK's top West End musicals. At last, a new CD from Joe Francis, one of the all time great singers…." source

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