Jay Black, who was born into an Orthodox Jewish family as David Blatt hails from Belle Harbor, NY, a town that I only recall from having spent the weekend at Shayne Gottlieb’s Sweet 16 party which I haven’t thought about in 40 years. Jay’s group had some incredible hits: She Cried and Only in America (1963); Come a Little Bit Closer (1964); Let’s Lock the Door, Cara Mia, and Some Enchanted Evening (1965); This Magic Moment (1969). Cara Mia was Jay’s signature song showcasing his impressive vocal range.
This came to mind when I received an email last night from my pen pal, Dr. Irving Bennett. Irving sends me the best Jewish trivia/nostalgia, and this gem was no exception. It’s amazing to think that just a year after Cara Mia, Jay persuaded his record company to let him record a magnificent Yiddish-English bilingual song as an ode to loss during the Holocaust, “Vi Iz Dus Geseleh?”, or “Where is the Village?” I’m not sure which of his three 1966 albums the song appeared on, but clearly he recorded it at the height of his popularity. Purportedly the song was arranged by Artie Butler who has an impressive music pedigree in his own right.