The Bronze Buckaroo Rides Into the Sunset (probably)
May 27, 2014 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Herb Jeffries, 'The Bronze Buckaroo' and cowboy crooner, has died. So it totally depends on the source, but he was somewhere between 100-111 years old; he was born in Detroit, or maybe Chicago. He was African-American, Sicilian-American, Irish-Sicilian, 'part Ethiopian' or something else. He grew up with both parents and a younger brother, or his father died before he was born and he was raised in the boardinghouse his mother owned --- or was it a bordello? He was married either four or five times, including once to exotic dancer Tempest Storm. He is survived by at least three daughters and two sons. Herb Jeffries was a jazz singer with both Duke Ellington's and Earl "Fatha" Hines' bands, the first black 'cowboy crooner' on so-called 'Negro Circuit' films (including starring with Mantan Moreland in Harlem on the Prairie), a 'luscious' tenor and/or a 'smooth, warm' baritone, and the owner of jazz nightclubs in Paris and the south of France.
posted by easily confused (5 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Good stuff in the NYT obit as well, including this quote from Jeffries:

‘I just knew that my life would be more interesting as a black guy. If I’d chosen to live my life passing as white, I’d have never been able to sing with Duke Ellington.’

Here's the original recording of his "Flamingo" with the Ellington Orchestra. It's gorgeous.
posted by neroli at 11:45 AM on May 27, 2014

Also known as Buckaroo Bronzai.
posted by miyabo at 12:07 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

The NPR coverage is worth listening to, as it features a lively interview with a guy who was Jefferies' friend for the last 70 years, celebrity biographer Raymond Strait.

("For the last 70 years, Raymond Strait counted Jeffries among his friends and worked with him on his memoir." I assume that means that they were friends for 70 years and recently collaborated on his memoirs, not that they worked on the book for seven decades. But who knows!)
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:28 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2014

RIP Mr Jeffries.
posted by On the Corner at 2:17 AM on May 28, 2014

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