45 Friday: FRANKIE NESTRO – My Love


By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon

Todays post could be called “Filling In The Gaps on Frankie Nestro”, or “I really don’t have much to say this week”!

I found the the notes from interview with Frankie and realized I’d missed a few interesting things.

On Frankie’s first record (as The Del-Tones), the backing band was The Premiers, who issued a spiffy rockin’ instrumental of their own on around the same time on local one-off label Squire. The Premiers included a young Tommy Calandra. Carl La Macchia, later to become a local studio owner and producer, wrote the songs on the Squire record and may have been a member. Frankie remembers the sax on his record was by Nick Salamone, so I assume he was a member of The Premiers as well.

A second, mysterious record came out a couple years later on the Lawn label, reissuing the Premiers’ “Shawnee” track, now credited to The Nite-Niks. The new B-side was “Horn Shakin”, which naturally featured a sax. I wonder of we can credit this to Mr. Salamone? Some believe this B-side to be Kathy Lynn & The Playboys in disguise,

Anyway, as a DJ, Frankie got his start when he took over for Lucky Pierre at The Dellwood, a famous downtown night spot for the young set. But his longest-lived local gig was at The Three Coins on Niagara Falls Blvd, where he worked along nine years. But that’s dwarfed by his amazing 30+ years with Royal Caribbean cruise lines!

Frankie’s TV career consists of two shows, the Frankie Nestro Music Hour on Channel 29, and a 13-week music trivia show on Channel 2 which was co-hosted by DJ Lenny Rico. Lenny is the brother of the famous local jazz DJ Joe Rico – who was so loved by jazz musicians he’s been immortalized in several music tributes, included Illinois Jaquet’s “Port Of Rico”.

Todays’ track is from Frankie’s fifth release, Fran-Co 1003. “My Love” has a confusing history. It basically the same song and arrangement as another record, “Need You” by Johnny Jack. “Need You” used the same soprano-type counterpoint backing vocal. Johnny Jack (John A. Greco AKA Johnny Greco) was a Pittsburg singer, and the backing on HIS record is often credited to Janet Vogel of the Skyliners – but just as often to Lou Christie!

In any case, the writer credit on “Need You” is to Buddy Wheeler while “My Love” is credited to Nestro-Wheeler. So which came first? They both seem to have come out in early 1962. Further complicating things, Donnie Owens also cut “Need You” and actually placed on the charts with it. Donnie doesn’t sound similar but Frankie’ and Johnny Jack’s are VERY similar. Usually the Donnie Owens record is called a cover of Johnny Jack’s but some people place it the other way around, and nobody seems to know where Frankie’s fits in!

But the song is highly-regarded anyway. George Goodman & The Headliners rerecorded in 1966 (on Val) using the same instrumental track from Johnny Jack’s version. And recently Kenny Vance – a legend in doo wop circles – has been performing it in is shows, as can be found on YouTube.


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