Surrounded by original MYSTICS, second tenor, George Galfo (left) and lead singer, Phil Cracolici (right)
On a beautiful day in June 1959 George Snedden, Don Marino, Graham Carnegie, Tim Lewis and I were celebrating the fact that we had just completed seventh grade. Has there ever been a better day in a young boy’s life than the first day of summer vacation?
We were hanging out with a transistor radio in the parking lot across the street from George’s apartment on William Street in East Orange, NJ, when a beautiful lilting melody with amazing harmonies came out of the radio. “That was ‘Hushabye’,” by the Mystics, a group from Brooklyn, NY,” the DJ announced.
I was transfixed.
Many who know me find my musical tastes strange. If someone gave me two front row tickets to a Rolling Stones concert down the street, I would pass them up in favor of third balcony seats at full price to hear a good doo wop performance. Credit my wife Vickie, a classical music fan, for putting up with my idiosyncratic preferences.
Credit her also for not refusing when I suggested a few weeks ago that we take a three hour drive to Coral Springs on a Thursday night to hear the Mystics in concert.
Like almost every doo wop group from the fifties, the Mystics have gone through a number of personnel changes, but when I learned that two of the five “originals,” lead voice Phil Cracolici and second tenor George Galfo would be performing, I bought our tickets.
The sold out show was wonderful. We sat at a table with some very nice people who marveled at the fact that we drove three hours to be there. Vickie, who honestly expected to barely tolerate the concert, enjoyed it thoroughly.
The new voices in the Mystics did a great job on a wonderful array of doo wop and some post doo wop numbers, but Phil and George were the reason I was there.
After 61 years “Hushabye” remains one of my all time favorite songs.
Life in those 61 years has certainly had its ups and downs, but “Hushabye” represents for me a precious idyllic vision of how God wants the world to be.
Some 2500 years ago, the biblical Prophet Micah envisioned a word where: Everyone would lie down under their vines and fig tress with none to make them afraid (Micah 4:4)
“Hushabye” represents that world, a world where children lie down at night in peace and security and “Guardian angels up above take care of the one I love.”
Micah’s words were just as eloquent, but he didn’t have Phil Crocolici’s beautifully understated voice and the Mystics impeccable harmonies.