THE MYSTICS, THE MUSIC & THE MOB
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About The Book
An original founding member of the Mystics, author Al Contrera tells the true story of how five Brooklyn teenagers went from singing on street corners to fame in the fifties with their first hit song, “Hushabye.” Contrera provides vivid and detailed accounts of the trials and adventures of forming a rock & roll vocal group in a neighborhood controlled by the mob. He narrates the story of the group’s formation, their recording and touring career set against the backdrop of 1950s Brooklyn with harmony pouring from every street corner.
The book tells of their successes and heartbreaks, including the story of when the Mystics’ lead singer was arrested and wrongfully incarcerated for 2 years at the peak of their success. Replacements included Paul Simon, who fronted the group on 3 recordings, and Jay Traynor (who went on to fame as the first lead singer of Jay & the Americans). Never again would the group find the chart success of their debut hit, but both Al and the Mystics are still performing on doo wop shows around the country to this day.
It tells the story of walking the fine line between the music and the mob and how peer pressure and the temptations of fame changed their lives.
“This was like reading a movie. It all happened in that pivotal year of 1959. In one day, they’re in the studio with mob money, score a manager and sign with the best doo wop label on the planet. They have a big hit; the world is their oyster and then… Murder! Cops! Courts! Jail! All that great music, mid-century America, Brooklyn, Coney Island… I smell Oscar.
Better than Jersey Boys… Brooklyn Brothers!”
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Meet the author.
Al Contrera is an original member of the Mystics and continues to entertain audiences with the Classics, the Mystics and the Brooklyn Reunion. Al’s singing career has taken him on national tours with the top rock and roll stars of the day, into the recording studio with Paul Simon and Connie Francis, on every TV show from American Bandstand on down and, performing live on stages from Maine to Miami and from New York to L.A. “Hushabye: The Mystics, the Music and the Mob” is his first book.