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A great melody first, then lyrics,(only) THEN 'vocals'

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  • On second thought, I have three favorite

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    • Hey Mark B of the Frozen North-

      Just dropped by to say "Hi-dee-ho". It's me Laurie from amazon.

      This is a fabulous post and blog, you have going here. Is this a blog? It's my first time participating in one.

       

      I will only admit to being old enough to remember SOME of that stuff!

      But I will tell you that I was actually named for the song "Laura" - my real name.

      Loved the Mercer interview. I will read more as time permits.

      Stay warm,

      L

       

       

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      • Thanks, Laurie. Good to "see" you here at the 'world's biggest website for musicians.' That Johnny Mercer interview means as much to me now as when I posted it at the start of this 'thread' ("Call it a blog, Mark!") three years and 400,000 "views" ago. No one (me included) would have the time to read more than 60 pages of postings since then.  But hope you enjoy this one -- composed a moment ago as satellite radio played Sinatra's INDIAN SUMMER.

        ----

        Somewhere in my childhood home in Ottawa Canada, there's a photo signed by Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges

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        • Trav'lin'Light
          Trav'lin'Light commented
          Editing a comment

          What a beautiful memory. Thanks so much for sharing that - I truly enjoyed it. That was a fabulous recording as well.

          My first memory of The Duke Ellington Orchestra, is not as personal - I remember being allowed to stay up and watch him, New Year's Eve. Must have been around 1960. It was many years later before I truly appreciated him.

          You probably already know of this, but here is my favorite jazz and blues station:

          http://www.jazzandblues.org/index.aspx

          all music all the time - except when they do their pledge drives.  If you haven't already,check it out sometime.

          Take care, and don't ever lose that photo!

          L

           

           

           

           

           

           


      • It's been 30 years since

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        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          The Tierney Sutton Band. "Without a Song," written by Vincent Youmans (music) and Yip Harburg (lyric).


      • Thanks LCK for taking time to post those old tunes.  Would you believe that's the very first time I have ever heard that second of two songs from "Allegro" -- from the pen of my favorite Broadway composer.  Then again, I've never heard the complete score for that overlooked Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.

        ----

        Our Winnipeg Free Press has just announced the lineup for this year's Winnipeg Jazz Festival. It includes one of my life-long heroes, the greatest 'flat pick' jazz guitarist that I've ever seen "live" in person -- George Benson.  Like me he's on his way to 70 years of age. (Which train of thought led me to Google and Wiki for some other old musical heroes:

        ----

        You know you're getting old when some of your favorite blues singer/songwriter/guitarists are in their mid-70s:  J.J. Cale turns 75 this year, according to his modest entry at the

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        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          Hey Mark,

          Have you posted this song before? It was a #1 hit in 1937!


      • Thanks, Laurie! (for both the

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        • Mark Blackburn
          Mark Blackburn commented
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          The world will always welcome lovers

          as time goes by . . .

           

          A check with her website determines that Jane Monheit will be appearing in a few days (April 24) at the


        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          Mark Blackburn wrote:

          Ms Monheit selected


      • That's a good question, Lee. It's kind of like (the legalistic definition of) pornography: I couldn't say what it is but I know it when I see it. Same with a great song!  But for starters, you have to have a memorable tune (to interest me).  No song was ever great to my ears, without a strong melody.

        But then, what constitutes a

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        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          I could listen to this tune all day...


      • Funny that you should post that (Frank Loesser) song, Lee -- by my all-time favorite female singer. (If I didn't know better I'd say, What a coincidence!) I'd just been thinking of what a terrific lyricist Peggy was.  After that

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        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          Mark Blackburn wrote:  the most important criterion for lyrical greatness is "instant memorability" that stays with you a lifetime.

          I see. We have a different set of criteria then.

          Mine would have to include an ability to write surprising yet always perfect rhymes, to show a flair for clever wordplay (without being a show off), to paint a picture or tell a story by providing only the necessary brush strokes to do so, to lift the listener up and carry him or her along with the feeling of the melody and the story, and all the while to make the whole thing sound extemporaneous and not "written" at all.

          Here's a perfect example of that:

          Here's another:

          And this.

          Anyway, that's how I see it...

           


      • A thoughtful list, Lee. But I would apply your criteria to other examples. [I'm at a loss to know how any of this applies to the song you could

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        • oldgitplayer
          oldgitplayer commented
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          I love it - a quibble over what constitutes a great lyric.......

          Ezra Pound and T.S.Eliot, fighting in the Captain's tower.......

          Bob Dylan


        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          Mark Blackburn wrote:


      • A friend recently wrote a balanced review (a

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        • Mark Blackburn
          Mark Blackburn commented
          Editing a comment

          Just watched the elder President Bush, at the televised official opening of his son's Presidential Library & Museum . . . and thought back to the "musical days at the White House" decades earlier, when President George H.W. Bush presented Ella Fitzgerald with the Medal of Freedom.  (Today would have been Ella's 96th birthday; she left us in the summer of '96.)

           

          Come to think of it, few entertainers are thought of on a 'first name' basis . . . the way


        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          Mark Blackburn wrote:

          Mandel's great melodies inspired some other great lyricists


      • Charlie Chaplin wrote three great tunes -- melodies so strong I only needed to hear them once or twice to be able to hum them the rest of my life.  The last of the three Chaplin composed in the mid-60s -- for a beautiful English compatriot, Petula Clark --

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        • Mark Blackburn
          Mark Blackburn commented
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          Call it the latter day Great American Songbook -- the strongest melodies written in the second half of the 20th century. My youngest son Ben concurs:


      • Question:  What's the most popular word with which to start a song title? (Hint: it consists of a single letter.) It's the opening word in the title of 964 songs in my big

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        • Mark Blackburn
          Mark Blackburn commented
          Editing a comment

          Ever wonder how good those forensic sketch artists are? Or can be, when provided with good descriptions. Always in search of good tunes in need of lyrics I was guided a moment ago to click on a YouTube commercial (preceding a Paul McCartney "live" performance of "I'm Looking Through You"). You may have seen the commercial -- the one that opens with one such police sketch artist, seen in profile . . .  pretty music in the background (in the unusual key of E-flat); and suddenly I'm wishing I could write a lyric to it!

          In finally watching this intelligent, heartfelt (3 minute) commercial I joined 37,595,550 viewers before me


      • As I type this, satellite radio channel 71 is playing Dionne Warwick's recent version of SOME OTHER TIME

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        • LCK
          LCK commented
          Editing a comment

          It's nice, but I absolutely love this tune with the same title (the one by Bernstein).

          And just a spelling note: the word in Cahn's lyric should be spelled "faze" not "phase." It's a common mistake. (Did you transcribe the lyric yourself or download it from the internet?)


      • Oh, let us turn our thoughts today

        to Martin Luther King . . .

         

        Though wasn't written

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        • "I want you to vacuum the WHOLE house," says my wife. 

          "In a minute," I said. "This is more important."  (A rainy day ramble on Dylan, The Beatles, Sinatra and Jerome Kern.)

          ---- 

          Which songwriter(s) are the most quoted by lawyers and judges (including supreme court justices)? If you guess The Beatles . . . you're almost right. They are at No. 2 on the judicial quotation chart.  No. 1 is Bob Dylan

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          • Mark Blackburn
            Mark Blackburn commented
            Editing a comment

            Want no 'silver threads among the gold' . . .

            Want some 'action' instead . . . 

             

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