Born in San Juan (Puerto Rico) in 1933, Ralph Philip Brown, better known as Bob Destiny, was a singer-songwriter and musician. He rose to fame as a child when, at the age of six, he was tap dancing in a group called “The Five Chocolate Drops” and gained high recognition for his participation in a film with Shirley Temple!
It was about the same time Destiny found a strong passion for music and learnt to play the piano. He later worked in piano bars in New York and trained in theatre and dance. At the time racial discrimination prevented him from proceeding forward in theatre, but a break led him to an encounter with Billie Holiday, from which he accompanied her on piano! Throughout the 50’s and 60’s he played, sang and danced in various Broadway shows, as well as appearing in several Hollywood films, but it was in 1956 that he recorded his first album as a singer! Destiny really was the perfect name for this artist!
In 1969 he left the US to teach music in Algeria at the Algerian National Theatre and in 1970 he released a couple of 45s, including Wang Dang and the utterly gorgeous Mahna (Troubles); both of which were issued on the Freedom Musique label.
The first time I heard Kalenda Rock (b/w Buzz Me) I was rooted to my chair!! That voice!!! How different this sound is to his later songs! The dramatic theatrical elements are very prominent, but his vocals are so stirring and his range and fluttering tone is truly adorable! The melody is almost secondary to his powerhouse voice, but its hypnotic effect does not go unnoticed! This song was to be Bob Destiny’s very first 45 (penned by him) and was released in 1957 on LA label, Tampa Records. What a beauty!! Listen above.