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Mitchell Torok

b. 28 October 1929, Houston, Texas, USA. A singer-songwriter, Torok played guitar at the age of 12. In 1953, while Torok was still at college, he saw Jim Reeves’ Abbott recording of a song he had written, called ‘Mexican Joe’, become a smash hit number 1 on all charts (Torok, who at the time did not know anything about Jim Reeves, had hoped that Hank Snow would be given the song - his wish came true the following year when his song ‘My Arabian Baby’ appeared as the b-side of Snow’s hit ‘I Don’t Hurt Anymore’). Torok was himself signed to the Abbott label and later that year, he had a number 1 in both the Billboard country and juke-box charts with his song ‘Caribbean’. The song, which remained in the country charts for 24 weeks, also became a Top 5 hit in both the Best Sellers and Jockey charts. He became a member of The Louisiana Hayride on KWKH Shreveport. In 1954, Torok gained a number 9 country hit with the ridiculous-sounding ‘Hootchy Kootchy Henry (From Hawaii)’, and in 1956/7, he even had success in the UK pop charts with his songs ‘When Mexico Gave Up The Rhumba’ and ‘Red Light, Green Light’. This success led to him touring in the UK in 1957. Torok made further recordings for Mercury, RCA, and Starday, and his last US chart entry was ‘Instant Love’, for the Reprise label in 1967. He continued to write songs, usually working in partnership with his wife (she has used both Gayle Jones and Ramona Redd as pseudonyms), and some have been recorded by top artists including Skeeter Davis, Kitty Wells, Glen Campbell and even Dean Martin. Hank Snow recorded ‘The Mysterious Lady From Martinique’ on one of his last RCA albums and ‘Redneck’ was a Top 20 hit for Vernon Oxford in 1976. Torok joined Cedarwood Music in the late 70s and worked on a recording project telling the history of Nashville from 1780 to 1980. He is also a talented painter and painted a mural on display in the Elvis Presley Museum in Nashville.
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Caribbean

1. Caribbean

2. A Rose Covered Garden

3. Pink Chiffon

4. What You Don't Know (Won't Hurt You)

5. Little Hoo Wee

6. When The Stars Get In Your Eyes

7. I Want To Know Everything

8. Guardian Angel

9. Johnny's Gone Away To College

10. You Are The One

11. Rig-A-Jig-A-Boom

12. Mexican Joe

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