Mr. Herb Jeffries
The Bronze Buckaroo!
Great stories, great music, and the Great Herb Jeffries who has been delighting audiences with his talents since 1931. A special presenation we will always be greatful for. Enjoy!
Enjoy this great 2 hour special presentation from 3/21/10
Sadly we lost Mr. Jeffries 5/25/14. Here is the Big Band Broadcast from 6/21/14 with his wife Savannah.
Short Biography for Herb Jeffries
Born Herbert Jeffrey, he is the son of Umberto Balentino, a pianist of African-American and Sicilan descent and his wife, Mildred, who was of Irish descent. The family lived in a rented home on 224 Watson Street in Detroit's third ward. A jazz musician of Ethiopian-French Canadian and Italian-Irish descent, Jeffries is noted for his singing cowboy roles in several all-black Western films in which he sang his own western compositions. Jeffries got the financing for the first black western film and hired Spencer Williams to appear with him. In addition to starring in the film, Jeffries sang and performed his own stunts as the cowboy character "Bob Blake."
Jeffries, a deep baritone, sang with Duke Ellington in the 1940s. His most famous song, "Flamingo", sold over 50 million copies.
Through a series of low-budget westerns, in which he played a singing cowboy, he soon became known as the "Bronze Buckaroo" by fans who flocked to his films. In a time of American racial segregation these films played only in theaters catering to African Americans audiences, though Jeffries was/is not African-American. The films can be found on video and are titled, "The Bronze Buckaroo", "Harlem Rides the Range", "Two Gun Man from Harlem", and "Harlem on the Prairie".
In 1995, at age eighty-one, Herb Jeffries recorded a Nashville album of songs on the Warner Western label titled The Bronze Buckaroo (Rides Again).
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Herb Jeffries has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6672 Hollywood Blvd.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
In 2007, while assembling materials for the producers of a documentary film about him, "A Colored Life," Herb ran across his birth certificate, which reminded him that he actually had been born in 1913—not 1911—but that he had fibbed about his age after he left home as a youngster looking for a job. So, he's now had two age-95 birthday celebrations.
Jeffries lives in the Southern California mountains with his wife, Savannah. He is the father of five children, and his family tree includes numerous grand children, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, including a granddaughter with autism.
"Mr. Flamingo" is still singing today (2012). He regularly appears at jazz festivals and events that benefit Autism and other childhood causes that involve developmental delays. He also lectures at colleges and universities across America.