AULD ACQUAINTANCE by Guy & Jack Altshul Lombardo


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Guy Lombardo and his brothers Carmen and Lebert (Victor came later) broke into the big time in Cleveland, Ohio, just as radio was beginning to spread its tentacles, and like so many other now-legendary bands, the Royal Canadians hit the air waves at just the right time, moving into network radio and from small to famous night spots. Once the Canadians broke in, there doesn't seem to have been much that troubled the Lombardo band, which, if one reads between the lines, was and is ruled by a baton of iron. Big Brother seems to have controlled the other siblings--laying down the law to Carmen, who was writing songs for just anybody, or refusing a raise to Victor who left and returned repentant. As for the music, the formula seems simple to Guy--from Whiteman, the symphonic sound, then the slower rhythm for dancing, no change in the ""bump-pah bump-pah"" beat, and ""distinctive, almost discarded songs"" that would be identified with the band. Favorite brother Carmen gets (deservedly) considerable credit for his songs (Boo Hoo, Little Coquette) his sax and his singing, described by one wit as that of a man vocalizing while sitting on a keg of ice. But Carmen's vibrato, that reliable beat and velvet (some say offkey) style, weathered the fads and Lombardo is a New Year's Eve fixture. As for Guy, he's a cool entrepreneur who plays it close to the chest, so except for a moving closing tribute to Carmen who died of cancer, this is hardly a candid confession, and Altshul has done nothing to lift the prissy chill (words like ""unparalleled heights"" and ""annual hegira"" abound). However, this will undoubtedly appeal to those who still take a glass near Times Square and remember with Guy--now 73--the days of the Varsity Drag.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1975
Publisher: Doubleday