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Mark Blackburn

GREAT MELODY, GREAT LYRIC, GREAT RENDITION

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ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE - most every jazz musician's favorite song

A song composed by Jerome Kern (m) and Oscar Hammerstein (w) for a long-forgotten Broadway musical called 'Very Warm for May.' A stinker of a show, apparently – it closed after a very brief run and Jerome Kern was so disenchanted with the entire experience he never returned to the Great White Way. He was also of the mistaken opinion that his best song in the show ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE was “too complex” to succeed as a popular song.

Just as an aside, like another great song Kern & Hammerstein wrote THE SONG IS YOU (one of my favorites to play when I try out a new guitar in a music store) – it is a riot of modulations, so many key changes, that magically wind up back in the same key. F-sharp in the case of our favorite singer's unsurpassed rendition of 1947. My father mistakenly insisted Sinatra was a tenor not a baritone because of his strength in the upper register. He was thinking of the final notes of this version, I think the year his first son was born.

It was my family's favorite song. Late in life, at the end of a lovely dinner at home with my parents, my Mom asked: “What's your favorite song? [and then] Really? It's your father's and mine too!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ature=emb_logo
 

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Speaking as a guitarist . . .

I'm Canadian and Oscar Peterson's great Texas born guitarist Herb Ellis told an audience here in Winnipeg (20 years ago this month) "Musicians agree AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL should really be our national anthem" – just before performing the most beautiful (reverent) solo. Earlier during a break, I'd requested "All The Things You Are." Oh, he said, "You like the hard ones." His was the most perfect solo of this jazz musicians' favorite tune I'd ever heard on guitar. Until recently, when my favorite Brazilian-born American Walter Rodriguez Jr shared this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVUgekAwmDo

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Posted (edited)

"Bob in Boston" one of the wise men at Sinatra Family - Forum - "Siriusly Sinatra" provided the link to this gem -- after I'd written in the "My Favorite Version, Yours Too?" thread:

 
"At this moment Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing the loveliest version of YOU'RE GONNA HEAR FROM ME. I was absolutely certain it was Andre Previn playing the long solo piano introduction (no finer piano accompanist: see his work with Ella and Doris). No! It's Michael Feinstein self-accompanying on his Steinway. Never heard this rendition. Is it at YouTube? Nope. What would Bob do? Spotify? Not there either (not that I can find). "
 
"You've got to try harder," quipped Bob with a wink. Adding: "That really IS Andre Previn accompanying."
 
 
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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ROB LOCKART – sax soloist for Calabria's CLOSE YOUR EYES

My favorite album by my favorite living singer Calabria Foti is A LOVELY WAY TO SPEND AN EVENING. As I like to say to friends, here and abroad: If you purchase that CD and don't love it? I'll pay for your copy! But there is this one track . . .

Mr. Foti -- trombone virtuoso Bob McChesney -- just shared to Facebook the one track from that album which departs from 'romance' and plunges headlong into “progressive jazz” (as they called it in the 60's): Rob Lockart channeling John Coltrane.

Warning: this music is not for everyone – including (or even especially) those who think they “love John Coltrane” – while thinking about his 'lyrical' duet work with Johnny Hartman. This is more like the greatest-ever tenor sax genius on his revolutionary albums of almost 60 years ago.

Yes, if you can handle 'discordant harmonies' (if only for five minutes of your life) you're in for a treat! Not to mention Calabria's parallel achievement -- her voice setting the pace for the band, in wordless 'scat' like Ella at her finest. Great musicians and arrangers are Calabria's greatest fans. Another reminder of why that is. (Hope this link works)

https://www.facebook.com/BobMcchesne...4724229393630/
 

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CONNIE EVINGSON -- from 20 years ago

Sent my way this day by the 'shuffle play miracle' that is YouTube -- ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE by Connie Evingson. (Don't you love it when people who look like THIS, can sing beautifully too!) From her 1999 album "Some Cats Know" (the sexiest song with words by Peggy Lee). Her Wiki entry in its entirety below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KalRFGAujXE

Connie Evingson is an American singer who performs jazz and pop music.

Evingson was born in Hibbing, Minnesota. With parents who were music fans, she grew up listening to Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. From a young age, she sang in church and school choirs and musical theater productions. .[1][2] After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1981, she worked as a professional singer in clubs and concert halls in Minnesota and in 1986 became a member of the vocal jazz group Moore by Four. As a solo artist, she has appeared with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra as conducted by Doc Severinsen,[2] at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.[1] and with the JazzMN Orchestra, among others.
 

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Posted (edited)

PEGGY LEE – Chi-baba, chi-baba my Bambino Go to Sleep

A friend at Sinatra Family - Forum - “Gary – midnitemind (silver member)" left a note of appreciation for a shared “favorite version” of a Tony Bennett song.  Meant to ask him about his tag line: “Cha Bobba” -- what's it mean? Searched for it, a moment ago and – the very first offering at YouTube this day: an Italian-American Mom/Gramma ('Nana'?) with her version of a Peggy Lee 'lullaby' from long ago. What a delight!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dD9nPpDcc7A

The very next offering at YouTube – as if to say, “Best ever version, right?” is Peggy Lee's 'original.' Speak Italian? What are those beautiful words Peggy is singing? – translation please and thanks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnlqfz7XqNY

[Favorite comment below video]

Reuben Hart
3 years ago
As a little kid two twin girls moved into the backyard neighboring house. I was all hot and conscious as little boys are when affected by little girls. This song was playing on the radio and I was trying to show off to them rolling my mom's laundry basket. I think of those twins every time I hear this song.

Edited by Mark Blackburn

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Posted (edited)

In the wee small hours -- Peggy Lee / Carol Welsman

Quarter to four, unable to sleep and . . . check to see what I'm missing at Siriusly Sinatra: Hit the “back one hour” button and . . . my all-time favorite female singer Peggy Lee with the best-ever rendition of I WANNA BE AROUND -- to pick up the pieces, when somebody breaks your heart . .

And that's when I'll discover that revenge is sweet
as I sit there applauding from a front-row seat –
when somebody breaks your heart – just like you broke mine.”

Who wrote that? Johnny Mercer wrote the words, of course; who composed the tune? Google for the reminder that Johnny wrote the melody too -- a song based on words by a fan. Johnny gave her all the royalties:

"I Wanna Be Around" -- Johnny Mercer, Sadie Vimmerstadt"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMuehld8zb4

Followed immediately by my newest favorite singer Carol Welsman – alone at the piano – with a Rodgers & Hart classic, “Bewitched” (Bothered and Bewildered). Canada's "other greatest" jazz singer/pianist.

At her Facebook page where she shares with fans solo 'concerts' (at her Yamaha in her California living room) I learned just last night, Carol is best friends with several musical heroes -- including Calabria Foti and arranger Jeremy Lubbock -- and Peggy's granddaughter Holly who introduced Carol to some overlooked Peggy Lee songs.

Is Carol's "Bewitched" at YouTube? Nope. Spotify? Yes!
“And now I'm like sweet seventeen a lot . . . bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I . . . ”

https://open.spotify.com/track/2ofpY...T16UwP1ukEQe1A
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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Posted (edited)

Left a note with a favorite Catholic author who co-writes songs with DION (in praise of his latest) -- Here in America - SONG FOR SAM COOKE. [I wrote]

"There is everything to love about this music video! – starting with the little details (where God and the Devil are usually found, right?). Love Dion's 'parlor size' Martin steel-string acoustic, whose face sports the names of some of the 'legends' Dion has worked with. Noting just the first few, above the cutaway, at the 12th fret, beginning with iconic rock guitarists who played for Elvis and other giants – Scotty Moore and James Burton; below them – Ritchie Valens, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran! And (just inside the rounded cutaway) Les Paul, Carl Perkins, Bill Haley and (above his picking hand) Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison.

As to the song -- co-written with Dion by “my favorite living Catholic author” (drum roll please) “Mike Aquilina.”
Gives me goosebumps, Mike! Especially the moment after the lovely Lady fiddler (wonder who?) plays the “fresh air” musical bridge in an open field – words so timely at this very moment in the history of America.

“You were the man who earned 'The Glory & the Fame'
But cowards felt that they could call you any name
You were The Star – standing in the light –
that won you nothing on a city street at night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geia...HiBKMKUN_3eddQ

p.s. AMERICAN SONGWRITER wrote a review for this album on which my friend Mike co-wrote 12 of the 14 songs.

https://americansongwriter.com/dion-...7-jYqczq0FyR0Q

 It’s not every artist that gets liner notes written by Bob Dylan, an old friend from Dion’s 60’s New York folkie days. On the paragraph specifically written for this album he says “…when you have a voice as deep and wide as Dion’s, that voice can take you all the way around the world and then all the way back home to the blues.”

Edited by Mark Blackburn

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Posted (edited)

Are you there Dad? What do you think of this one?

I've been thinking a lot lately about my father. Coincidentally, just a moment ago, I got a pop-up message that someone had appreciated a posting I did to a YouTube video 9 months ago -- about my Dad's life-long love affair with ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE. The kindred soul added the words: “Yes! The perfect standard” [I'd written:]

After a late-in-life stroke that reduced him to six word sentences, my late father (who made it to age 90) slowly regained some piano repertoire: until, on his final visit to Winnipeg, in a public setting, on an electronic grand piano in the lobby of an old folks' residence he played his favorite song – Mom's favorite, mine too: “All The Things You Are.” He played several variations, exquisite to my ears – of this, the most difficult of all songs to play (a riot of modulations that winds up back in the same key – a jazz player's delight). As he played (for my benefit, after fulfilling a request to “Play Red River Valley” which he did, without a trace of condescension) Dad, as if to say, “This one's for you and Mom,” played 'my favorite version' of ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE. He must have made a mistake, but I didn't hear it.
---
Still at YouTube, I entered the song title and the words “jazz piano version” and the very first offering is this one by a young Japanese pianist Hiroshi Nakamura. Jazzier than Dad would have played but still . . . I think he would say “very good!” Barely a minute and one half and featuring video technology I'd not seen before, have you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSuMpm-66T0
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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SINATRA - Just name it and it's yours

Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing a Sinatra song I've (almost) never heard before, loaded with superlatives:

“Fast Italian cars, diamonds, big as stars! Just name it – and it's yours.”

Informed, informative, and witty thoughts about 'the best of things of life that money can (still) buy' (like)

“The finest laces from Cologne . . . ”

Sounds like something written just for Frank by his go-to team of Sammy Cahn & Jimmy Van Heusen. Plus an arrangement that could only have been penned by Nelson Riddle (early 60's? Was it ever a hit?)

Yes, imagining Frank calling Sam (at any hour of the day or night) to say: “There's this song I need you to write.” And Sammy deadpanning back: “I know, I know, Frank: 'The check is in the mail'.”

Recalling Sammy's half-joking response when asked the age-old question, 'Which comes first, the melody or the words?' 

Until we have a dozen oil wells in the yard, let's window shop the local stores. And just for a start – if you want a heart -- I have one that just worships and adores. Just name it, it's yours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI_hFzCUxzg

Comments below the video from like-minded souls:

Life goes on (1 year ago)
This is the first time I've seen this song . Frank Sinatra like a Earth . There are so many songs to discover !

tom kozic (3 months ago)
One of the greatest Frank Songs, sung perfectly as always

Chris Vegas1 year ago
I first heard this song on Sirius XM and I loved it

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Re the underlying purpose of this "songwriting" folder in the forums at the world's biggest website for musicians . . .

Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing Joni Mitchell's ANSWER ME, MY LOVE (see page 1 above) It was one of James Taylor's selections for his recent world-wide online BBC program about American Standard(s). Joni, 30 years younger, with a 70-piece orchestra. (Wayne Shorter is playing his gorgeous soprano sax solo on the musical bridge, right this minute.) I remember James sharing with his audience that the BBC had banned the original version of the song, titled Answer Me, My Lord "something about separation of church and state?" asked James rhetorically. Imagine my delight to turn on my computer and find -- first notification -- from my favorite living singer/songwriter "discussing the craft of songwriting with Bill Flanagan at the Sheen Center." As I tell the grandkids (8 of 'em) "THESE are the good old days -- and don't let any old sourpuss tell you otherwise!"   

 

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Judy's version of DO IT AGAIN -- My favorite, yours too?

Hit the 'back 1 hour” button (the novelty will never wear off) and Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing a rendition of the sexiest old song ever written (says me) – and a version I'd never heard -- by Judy Garland. Splendid recording quality. Wonderfully humorous arrangement of almost the only song George Gershwin wrote with someone other than his brother Ira -- lyricist Buddy DeSilva.  An opening verse I'd never heard until right this minute!

"Tell me, tell me – what did you do to me? I just got a thrill that was new to me! When your lips were pressed to mine, when you held me -- I wasn't snuggle-ing – you should know, I really was struggling! I only met you, and I shouldn't let you . . . but oh . . . "

Is it at YouTube? The studio version? Yes! My favorite year (1958) and arranged by "Nelson Riddle" -- celebrated for four hours Sunday on the latest “Nancy For Frank” show on channel 71. Catch it on re-play! Nancy's best ever show (I think).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkz3TVnef1I
 

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Nelson R & Linda R - WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

I'd just been thinking about favorite songs for which one of my musical heroes Ned Washington composed the lyrics. Making coffee while humming my favorite ballad lyric that Ned wrote to music by Hoagy ("Stardust") Carmichael -- “The Nearness of You” (recalling the definitive recording by Sinatra).

Googled for a reminder that Ned was Oscar-nominated 11 times for 'Best Original Song' Academy Award and won twice, in 1952 for "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" and more famously for “When You Wish Upon a Star” for Pinocchio (1940).

So. Turn on Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio (streaming on the computer) and – what a coincidence! Linda Ronstadt's version (my favorite) of WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR -- with its evocative arrangement by Nelson Riddle. Their early 80s collaboration sold six million copies. One of the last arrangements by Nelson Riddle shortly before his death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdvuny7yvxY
 

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"Felix? Beginning about bar eleven . . ."

Loved hearing again today on Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio the version of ONLY THE LONELY that's found on the 3-CD "Capitol Years" box set, opening as it does, with an additional 25 seconds of Sinatra giving expert instruction to Felix Slatkin -- who actually conducted the Riddle orchestra, that night of May 29, 1958. (The story goes that Nelson Riddle was off in Alberta Canada as Nat King Cole's musical director.)

Elsewhere (in an Amazon review for the "Sings for Only The Lonely" CD) I wrote that the 'frustrated song writer within me' identifies with composer and lyricist as the two collaborators recalled "attempting to write (this) song of loneliness for Frank Sinatra -- the challenge of matching words with notes."

"The melody came first," said Jimmy Van Heusen. "The lyric came very hard; session after session without the glimmer of a line. Sammy is as facile a man with words as there is in our business and I wanted to change the melody here and there to be helpful. He wouldn't permit me to change a note."

Said Sammy Cahn: "(It's) one of the best melodies Jimmy ever composed (and) I'm delighted now the melody is exactly as I first heard it."
 

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Posted (edited)
 
My friend Mike Aquilina (who co-wrote with DION 12 of 14 songs on that new album) just shared that: "My son Mike tells me: 'BLUES WITH FRIENDS' is currently #4 on the Amazon album charts (that’s all albums), #3 for CDs and Vinyl, and inexplicably #1 for Folk."
 
Dion just shared my favorite blues track on the album, recorded with Billy Gibbons armed with a Les Paul (or two) --  BAM BANG BOOM. This works for me! Hope this link works for you.
 
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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NANCY WILSON - love theme from the movie 'Hotel'

Once a day now, it seems Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio plays a beautiful song I never heard before. As if to say, “Bet'cha haven't heard this one!” right this minute it's “the incomparable Nancy Wilson” (as James Taylor called her recently on his world-wide BBC program celebrating American 'standards'). Nancy with the “Theme from HOTEL” – which triggered a flurry of emotional memories: British-Canadian novelist Arthur Hailey's best-selling novel of that name; followed quickly by the movie that introduced millions of us boomers to Carmen MacRae (playing in the lounge, self-accompanying on piano). Oh yes, and when I 'discovered' jazz in my early teens, my favorite arranger was Oliver Nelson. Guess who orchestrated this beauty? (Wonder who wrote it? -- You know me.) Thanks, Jersey Lou Simon and all who sail in your ship.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lX9...ature=emb_logo

[Beneath the video a comment from a kindred spirit]

Paula Pacente (7 years ago)
I never knew there were words to this song, and I've seen the movie a dozen times. But I've never heard a Nancy Wilson song I haven't liked.
 
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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Posted (edited)

TONY BENNETT -- Danny Boy

When you're my age (73) and a life-long jazz fan, you can hear an 'new' rendition of an old song for the first time and spot your favorite musicians at work. Case in point.

At this moment, The Chairman's Hour on Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing a version of DANNY BOY I've not heard before – by "my favorite living singer" Tony Bennett. A superb supporting cast (a jazz quartet). The lyrical sax soloist could only be Stan Getz. Google for “Tony Bennett / Stan Getz Danny Boy” and . . . sure enough. First offering includes the informed note that three of my favorite jazz musicians are there with Stan: Herbie Hancock (only jazz artist to win the Album of the Year Grammy – his Joni Mitchell tribute album). Ron Carter – my favorite acoustic bass virtuoso, and the great Elvin Jones on drums.

I figure that when Frank was forming his celebrated opinion that “Tony Bennett for my money” is the best singer in the business, he may have been listening to this. I'd like to think. Thank you God for – Tony Bennett – and “The Chairman's Hour” (Charles Pignone) for playing this rare gem this night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izdTsAeoLtQ
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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Posted (edited)

On Christmas day we were mushing our way over the Dawson Trail

Remember "The Cremation of Sam McGee"? Its seven-beats-to-the-bar cadences enabled me as a child of eight to hear it once, and read it over a few times and . . . with me for a lifetime. With phrases like,

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee where the cotton blooms and grows; why he left his home in the South, to roam round the pole, God only knows! He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him -- like a spell. Though he'd often say, in his homely way that he'd sooner be in Hell. On Christmas day . . . talk of your cold! Through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.

Just Googled to find an old friend who's lived most of his life in 'The Yukon' and offers dog-sled rides to tourists, most of them from Germany and other parts of Europe. Go figure. My note to "The Yukon Quest" office Facebook page.

My life-long friend FRANK TURNER won the 'Yukon Quest' in record time (a record that still stands, for the longest-ever such race). Just left him a note after transcribing a quote: "Your fate is so intricately linked with your team -- for me, it is an incredibly intense experience."

I've known Frank Turner since we were in a crib together at my folks' cottage on Ottawa's Rideau River. Where Frank had his first experience of the quiet of a sailboat -- just the sound of the wind in the sail of my Dad's little boat. Frank told me once he didn't have that 'alone with the wind' experience again until . . . moving up to the Yukon: The moment when you are all alone, just you and the dogs and only the sound of the wind.

Haven't seen my best friend from Toronto in half a century, but I keep him in my prayers, for his well-being. Gentle and modest, and with the best, self-effacing sense of humor. You can see it here, the sparkle in his eyes. "Come up here," he has often said. "But make it in winter!"

Someone kindly pass along please these words of admiration to Frank -- You know, in case he's not on Facebook. Oh yes, his Dad "Andy" (son of immigrants from Hungary) was my Dad's best buddy -- may have saved my Dad's life a few times during WWII. His Mom "Peggy" (born to a Jewish family in Toronto) was the most generous person our family ever knew. [Hope this link works]

https://www.facebook.com/YukonQuest/...4610776465367/
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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Right now on Siriusly Sinatra - Wes' version

"I hear you guys," says Siriusly Sinatra's programmer-extraordinaire 'Jersey Lou' Simon. At this very moment the greatest jazz guitarist who ever lived (according to all the other greats) with the best instrumental version of HERE'S THAT RAINY DAY. That would be Wes Montgomery on what became his signature model of a Gibson L-5. Nothing better. Nice ones available for 12 thousand dollars. His own instrument (wonder who owns it?) would be worth the moon and the stars.

First offering at YouTube (2.4 million views) Wes' live in London video. It just keeps getting better and better!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iVgONy8kMY
 

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Chris Riddle recalls his Dad writing his most famous arrangement:

Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing a special four-hour edition of NANCY FOR FRANK celebrating the life's work of Sinatra's most famous arranger.  We hear his son say,

"My name is Christopher Riddle – I'm the third child of Nelson and Doreen Riddle, and I was so 'taken' with my father, that I took up the trombone when I was eleven years old.

"I would go over with my father to Mr. Sinatra's house – if you watch the old movie 'Ocean's Eleven' – that's the house! It was called 'Japanese Modern.' Frank had sort of designed it . . . and I'd go over with my father, who would sit at the piano – with Frank and Bill Miller – they'd be working out arrangements . . .

"One night the phone rang (at our home) and they were working out the arrangements for a new album 'Songs for Swinging Lovers' – in a brand new 'mode' – something called the LP – long playing record: the 10 inch disc was being replaced by the 12 inch. They realized that – “Nelson! We have room for two more tunes!”

"So my father climbed out of bed and went out to his studio and started working on them. I believe one of them was 'You're Getting to be a Habit with Me.' The other one was (sings, snaps fingers) “I've got you . . . under my skin.”

“My mother recalled that, 'I was driving your father in that night, to Capitol Records -- while he was finishing 'Under My Skin' in the back seat; he had the 'dome' light on [to see what he was doing]."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz5W5bKLj_4

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Posted (edited)

 

Note to JOHN PIZZARELLI -  re "Three Little Words"

Best version (to these 73-year-old ears) since Chet's -- circa 1969 (you know the one). But 'Mr. Guitar' couldn't sing. The great ones always make it look easy. You watch this 'artless' magic -- by an even greater son of a guitar giant playing THREE LITTLE WORDS and think: "I could play that." Oh no you can't. Special thanks for co-writing with James Taylor all the arrangements for AMERICAN STANDARD (2020). I smell a Grammy in the category Tony Bennett 'owns' whenever his name is entered.

p.s. With ten minutes and 20 seconds remaining ( - 10:22 lower right screen ) Mr. Pizzarelli plays variations on I LIKE JERSEY BEST – spot-on impressions of famous singers (while impersonating their most famous song arrangements) – about ten of them. I always wondered if John was a really funny guy 'in real life' – oh yes, indeed. It continues until there's less than five minutes remaining in the video. Clear as mud? Oh, my favorite? The iconic rhythm guitar for Pin Ball Wizard with John poised to smash his guitar like Pete Townsend. If you're pressed for time, slide it on over to (minus) 10:22 (remaining). What a delight.

Edited by Mark Blackburn

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Show me that stream called The River Jordan . . . that I long to cross

Just turned on Siriusly Sinatra a moment ago and it's Frank singing Ol' Man River. Just at the moment when he holds the longest note of his career. But 'artlessly' -- you may never realize what he has done -- made so easy you imagine you could do it. "He'll show you up every time you hasty pipsqueak" in having to take a breath! Coincidentally, only last night I'd been recalling this very moment when he holds a note for the longest time. And wondering was it really "18 seconds"? as I said in a review for this, "my all time favorite album."

But again -- unless you know it's coming, you're not even aware of it. Remember starts with the end of the phrase (and you land) "in jail . . . " [until] "I get's weary [breath]. But almost instant in-breath (the rest of us would be heard off-mic gasping for air) and immediately continuing almost seamlessly.

The graphic is from the glorious re-mastered version -- where some genius (or two) give us orchestral details, individual instruments even, that we never heard with the original.

Is it at YouTube (with that cover)? The cover, yes, but is this the one we cherished for decades? One of the wise men at Sinatra Family provided a link to the "official version at YouTube"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnZBfw-s1-A
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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JAMES TAYLOR - Sun on the Moon (long ago)

I call it the year when all our 'ducks were in a row' . . .

The Summer of '88 I drove my big old station wagon, with my wife and sons, down to North Dakota with James Taylor's newest album NEVER DIE YOUNG playing continuously on the newly-installed stereo. Man, it sounded good! My Irene allowed me to turn up the volume for favorites like “Sun on the Moon.” But didn't like it at all, when I took James' advice to "Honk your horn."

A moment ago -- as if to say: 'Bet you've forgotten how much you loved this song!' the intuitive genius of YouTube just sent me this live concert performance. My wife's a dancer. Me, not so much. But this is one song that could make me want to get up and make a fool of myself. I remember on the country drive, passing cows in a field, and getting their attention by hitting the horn in sync with the words,

"Bow, Wow, Wow – honk your horn, honk your horn; I said Bow Wow Wow, honk your horn, Darlin'

My own Darlin' said: "Don't do that any more!" But the boys, ages 8 and 10, LOVED it -- and their conspiratorial smiles looked forward to Dad 'doing it again next time.' Which we did.

The lyrics are thoughtfully included in this video, as sub-text, and the joy of reading them for the first time (ever) on a screen, compensates (a little) for the dated video quality. (Remember VHS tape?)

Yes, another song only James Taylor could have written and performed with his own unique brand of self-effacing humor. Plus a joyful stage presence that is so infectiously fun to watch. One more reminder, if any were needed, of why we love him so.

p.s. As a guitarist I really appreciates Michael Landau's ultra short 'solos.' More like five second 'accents' in support of an overall arrangement which is simply brilliant. Thanks for sharing the fun, James Taylor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52k6FnXOPlg

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[When at last] "Ah'm tired of livin' – an' scared of dyin' . . . "

When I was seventeen, I thought my father was an ass. When I was 24, I was amazed at what he had picked up in seven years. – Mark Twain

For [each of us] to become tired of living and afraid of dying – just give it time. – Samuel Chell

The former writer you know; the latter is my most erudite friend – a professional jazz pianist, retired professor of English, in Kenosha WI. To my delight Sam responded (as only he ever does) to my sharing “by Andrew T the latest official version at YouTube of Ol' Man River.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7BE...j6Mbuy-z0kgnU8

[Really, who wouldn't want a friend (especially one you may never get to meet) who responds 'at once' to your own enthusiasm for a favorite Sinatra song/album – with words like these? [I'd hoped he would share a recapitulation of this at that YouTube. And sure enough, something like it is there.]

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There's also another Sinatra performance of this tune – one that knocks me out just as much but for slightly different reasons. It's an MGM biopic about the life and career of Jerome Kern. All of the stars of the day--many already contracted by MGM, the maker of all the colorful musicals from Hollywood--are in a show that uses a few threads of Kern's life as an "excuse" to film his songs.

The final, climactic number is "Old Man River." Now this is 1946, several years away from Sinatra's fall from Bobby-Soxer grace. In fact, the number, the singer, the placement of the song, the setting (Sinatra in a white tuxedo on a diamond-studded circular stage with Frank shot from a low-angle POV to heighten his angelic-presence)--all this testifies to the enormous popularity of the first mass media star in American popular culture. Frank's voice doesn't have the same "body" as would be noticeable 20 years later for "The Concert Sinatra," but he hits the number out of the park--(ie. "he owns it").

Yet at least twice when I've used the clip at an Elderhostel, the audience gasps and groans, almost as if embarrassed by their contemporary's success. Or perhaps their apparent rejection comes from some misguided notion that the number must be sung by a black man. But even when removed from the show? Perhaps MGM didn't know any better, but the studio could take credit for its progressive outlook--quality music like this doesn't come with color coding or race requirements, esp. when removed from the story-line. You don't have to be black to respond to the song, the story, the powerful imagery of the mighty river in the song.

The same feelings that move the white composer, white librettist, and white author are certainly permitted the audience, the reader, and the performer--at least, one might hope. I ask myself, what if Rodgers, Hammerstein, Ferber--any one of them or all three--had been black? Would that have made a difference? Should it have? Sometimes we torture ourselves needlessly, allowing our exquisite sensitivity about racial-cultural differences to blind us to beauty that is a human experience--not a black or white, pink or yellow one. Even a child might hear the music for what it is--a powerful response to a powerful force in nature--the Mississippi River. Only a sophisticated adult might intellectualize the music into an unrecognizable distortion. "I'm tired of livin' and afraid of dyin'"--a paradoxical response that's universal. Just give it time.
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The very next offering sent my way by YouTube -- a 'live' performance, Frank alone with just a pianist (Bill Miller?) except for the final crescendo -- of full-size orchestra! Goosebumps. What's it from? Is it on a CD somewhere? Only the wise men would know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qiUUY_1VWY
 

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Posted (edited)

CALABRIA FOTI - We the People

I'm a Canadian (one of an estimated 14 Canadians who gets FOX News on cable) and up here we have little use for “American-style patriotism.” Even the phrase “God bless America” makes most Canadians cringe. But . . .

I'm an American at heart (long story, not very interesting) and my favorite living singer just shared something that went straight to the heart.

Spoiler alert: This song was composed by The Bergmans, Marilyn and Alan (who, before they were married, composed the Sinatra hit “Nice 'n' Easy”) The melody? It's from a jazz giant we first heard-of when he played the closing theme (“Remembering You”) over the closing credits of ALL IN THE FAMILY. That was Roger Kellaway – playing 'stride style' piano as a home-movie-type camera pans across a New York neighborhood. Oh and if you think the photos should be award-winning? They are. We might not have heard of him, but surely have seen his best work, many times:

“Photographer, Author, Public Speaker. These are just a few words that describe Joseph Sohm, who started as an American History Teacher and whose passion for America's past, present and future, granted him the opportunity to conceive "Visions of America," an ongoing multi-media project that aims to capture the spirit of America.

“Ever looked through a National Geographic, Time or Newsweek magazine? Remember your Harper Collins, McGraw Hill, Macmillan and Prentice-Hall textbooks in school? I'm sure you've at least watched Discovery, History Channel, NBC’s “Today Show” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” a time or two? These are just a few places you can find his work.

“One of the many things keeping him busy these days is the current presidential election."
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Calabria posted her video just yesterday (6/14/2020) – saying that, under today's circumstances she “couldn't wait to July 4 to share.”
 
 
Edited by Mark Blackburn

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