Article and photos by Jake Katel
The marriage of Anita Boyer and Bobby Dukoff, and their life in Miami, was one of pioneering musical entrepreneurship that should never be forgotten.
Anita Boyer was a big band swing vocalist who also recorded more sessions than any other artist with the King Cole Trio, the earliest iteration of personnel in Nat King Cole’s voluminous recorded output.
Bobby Dukoff was a hit record sax player who doubled as an engineer, and also invented the world’s most popular saxophone mouthpiece.
Deedra Boyer is the couple’s daughter, and she recently visited Andrew “DJ LeSpam’s” City of Progress Studios in North Miami to convert some of her family’s heirloom history from analog to digital and also to share some photos and stories from her youth.
Deedra brought some amazing 16″ platters from the C.P. MacGregor radio transcription company of California, one with a handwritten label bearing Nat Cole and a stark underline. This recording has never before been released commercially.
Deedra says, “My dad’s first studio that he opened in Miami was on Miami Beach. On Bay Road. That’s where I met Duke Ellington, Barbara McNair, and Little Richard.”
“After that, he opened a studio on NW 7th Ave in the back of an old Food Fair Market that was turned into a teen dance club where they held “The Hops.” This was where he did all of Henry Stone’s records, all his boy bands.”
“I never appreciated my mom’s voice when I was growing up. What a friggin talent! She had such a great ear. My mother in so many ways was the bigger talent than my dad. But she gave everything up to propel him.”
“She was the prettiest woman.”
“When she was on her deathbed her last words were, “I guess I had a pretty good life. I played with some good bands.”
“She was a big deal.”
“Her favorite band to play with was Artie Shaw.”
“When we first moved to Miami, my dad had this huge hit record but couldn’t find work as a musician. It was tough. I remember all the clothes I had were one skirt, two blouses, and a pair of shoes.”
“Life as a musician was hard. But Dad also loved recording. He didn’t care for rock and roll, but he recorded a lot of it.”
“My parents also did a lot of radio jingles. My mom wrote most of them. And she sang the first Burger King radio commercial. You know Burger King Started in Miami?”
“Andrew (DJ Le Spam Yeomanson) is amazing. I mean, really, this is history.”
And with that, the session was over. There are plenty of amazing materials on their way from the private collection of Deedra Boyer preserving and restoring the historic legacy of Anita Boyer and Bobby Dukoff on Miami, LA, and global music history. Stay tuned as DJ Le Spam brings it to life, and HenryStoneMusic documents the process.
From 1946 to 2014, Henry Stone ruled the Florida music industry with an iron fist, a brick of cash, and a warehouse full of vinyl. HSM is the last of over one hundred record labels he personally founded. This record label includes works from every decade in his sixty-five year career right up until today. Licensing available for film, samples, advertising, movies, video games, and more. Family owned and operated.