No one seems to feel lukewarm about Frankie Paris & Cold Sweat. The New York blues vocalist is intense and draws intense responses. Most people rave about his voice and style, which feature his strong, tenor voice belting out soulful blues with gospel intensity. Indeed, the gospel sound was the music that most inspired him as a child, along with that of his idol, B.B. King.
Both Pat Cisarano and Jorge Ariza consider Frankie Paris to be their inspiration and a role model. But his best endorsement is his fans who return for the weekly Sweat-In at Arthur's Tavern in Greenwich Village, where the band and audience share a good time. Paris will likely call some of his friends up on-stage, such as blues harpist Big Al Rosenfeld. Paris' repertoire can range from Santana dance numbers to Sinatra ballads, as well as hard-driving blues. The lyrics are sometimes written by the singer's wife, Linda Paris.
Born in Boston, in the late '40s, Paris grew up singing gospel music in his church choir, and listening to the records of blues greats like King, Sam Cooke, and Jackie Wilson. By the age of seven, he was singing the blues; at 14, he started his own blues band. When he turned 20, Frankie Paris headed for New York, where he started singing in clubs in the '60s. He's still there today, playing clubs like The Bitter End. Paris and his group were once the house band on the Dana Carvey Show on the ABC television network. Now their regular gig is at Arthur's Tavern, in the Village.
Frankie Paris is the perfect Greenwich Village entertainer, combining his authentic blues with street-wise lyrics. His raspy voice gets its way around songs like "Any Age Can Be a Fool" and "Working for the Landlord." He has the audience in the palm of his hand when he practices his "voice trombone" and plays percussion on a nearby table, a glass, or thumps his own chest.
These songs, along with his chart-making tune, "Gonna Scratch Your Name Off My Mailbox," can be heard on the singer's 1998 CD, Right Around the Corner. On the record, he is backed by his able team of musicians: Birch Johnson on trombone; Jon Dryden on keyboards; Dave Johnson on drums; along with two vocalists, Roxy Perry and Catherine Russell. Together, they produce a sound both hot and intimate, like the clubs in which they perform. Another show-stopping number on the CD is Paris' cover of Willie Dixon's, "I Just Want to Make Love to You." The popular "Leo's Juke & Jive" is also on the play list. The listener can also hear Paris sing that tune on a blues compilation entitled Swingin' the Blues, Vol. 5. He appears as well on the 1988 CD Lost in Bass (AIM). He also released a follow-up album in 2002 entitled 10 Shades of Blue. Or check him out live in New York. He will be the one singing and playing his chest as a musical instrument.