11 November 2009

Emmy Oro - fantastic rockin' girl

It was the song "Fish House Function" by Emmy Oro that blew my mind. It starts off kind of slow, then speeds up a little, halfway the music goes wilder and at the end, that fantastic part sung in Italian and rolling piano, it rocks like mad.
What was this song about, who was this fantastic rockin' girl??

When Bob Dylan played the song in his Theme Time Radio Hour, he commented: "we play an artist that confuses us totally: I know nothing about Emmy Oro, except that she recorded this song, and by the end of it, she starts talking a language that I can't understand. A song that raises more questions than it answers. First time I heard it, was on a hot summer day, I thought I was hallucinating!"
So Bob, read below who Emmy Oro was!

The artist is Emmy Oro & her Rhythm Escorts. Composer credits were: words Mel Howard (ps. for Neville T. G. Hall), music Emily Orofino. The song was recorded late 1960 for the Chelsea label. That New York label was formed in November 1960 by Frank Allen, and Michael and Richard Orofino. Emmy Oro was born as Emilia Gramaldi in 1919 in Queens, New York. She was married to Michael J. Orofino.
On the other side of the record was another Howard/ Orofino composition Is it a sin?, a good doowop ballad.
So after all, 'savage rockin' girl' Emmy Oro was in fact over 40 years of age when she recorded her great sides.

I contacted Paul Orofino, who was very helpful in giving information about his aunt Emmy. He wrote:
"Aunt Emmy was an amazing person, and my favorite aunt. Chelsea Records was formed by my older brother, Richard, my Uncle Michael (Emmy's Husband). He is the voice you hear on Fish House Function as the Judge ("Now tell ME what was going on"). Believe it or not, Fish House Function was recorded in my house with me on the piano, and then mixed at a small studio.
Emmy was an amateur singer as a very young woman but gave it all up to have a family. Then, when her children became older, she and my uncle Mike decided to do a record together. This was the start of Chelsea Records. She did record one other record on Chelsea: her rendition of Sophie Tucker's great "Some of these Days". This is an amazing record with full orchestra.
Emmy Oro passed away in 1982 from Cancer. I love the fact that you are interested in her and enjoyed her record "Cross Eyed Cat Named Sam". She loved singing the part in Italian."



Chelsea discography, first 10 releases:

1001 (1960/61): Emmy Oro & her Rhythm Escorts
Is it a sin? / Fish House Function (for a cross eyed cat named Sam)

1002 (Jul. 1961): The Keytones
Don't Tell William / Parking Field 4

1003: ? (Some people list Emmy Oro & Grp "Is it a sin" as Chelsea 1003. Correct?)

1004: The Keytones
I Was A Teenage Monster / I Don't Care

1005 (1962): Emmy Oro with Billy Costa & Orch.
Some Of These Days / Is it a sin?

1006 (Mar. 1962): Jimmy Wilde (=Paul Orofino)
Crazy eyes for you / Bonnie Bonnie

1007 (Jun. 1962): Vito Columbo
This Time It's Really Goodbye / Jezebel

1008: ?

1009 (Jun. 1962): El Domingos
Made In Heaven / Lucky Me, I'm In Love