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Mark Blackburn

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  1. FRANK AND ARETHA – best ever WHAT NOW MY LOVE? The shuffle play mind-reader at YouTube just sent this one my way: the best-ever duet of this ballad that originated in France. Don't you love the arrangement? So fresh and uplifting! It has breathing room, or head room like a high-ceiling dream space. You find yourself breathing deeply while listening – and smiling with joy! Two iconic singers, doing what they do best, in harmony, taking it higher and higher; Aretha, with the more demanding harmony line, making it all sound so easy. And fun! This Duet wasn't at YouTube the last time I looked. [Three most recent comments from kindred spirits below] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrM9u5iArHs JASON STYLES (9 months ago) Finally someone uploaded this... thanks Tresean Cann (9 months ago) R.I.P. Frank Sinatra December 12, 1915 - May 14, 1998 Aretha Franklin March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018 Donald Paredes (9 months ago) Perfection! Two Masters of their craft at work! ---- 55 years since Sinatra recorded the definitive version -- for his THAT'S LIFE black vinyl LP. The song's Wikipedia entry reminds us that this was another hit lyric for Carl Sigman. "What Now, My Love?" is the English title of a popular song whose original French version, "Et maintenant" (English: "And Now") was written in 1961 by composer Gilbert Bécaud and lyricist Pierre Delanoë. The recurring musical pattern in the background is the Boléro by Ravel. English lyrics and the title were written by Carl Sigman. More than a hundred covers of the song are listed at Wiki, with these few singled out for special mention: US Top 40 covers include Sonny & Cher (#14 US, #13 UK) in 1966, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass instrumentally in the same year, and Mitch Ryder the following year. On January 14, 1973, Elvis Presley performed the song before a live audience of 1 billion people, as part of his satellite show, "Aloha from Hawaii", which was beamed to 43 countries via INTELSAT. The song's lyricist Carl Sigman left us 20 years ago. His Wiki entry is one of those 'destined-to-be-great' stories we love! Born in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, Sigman graduated from law school and passed his bar exams to practice in the state of New York. Instead of law, encouraged by his friend Johnny Mercer, he embarked on a songwriting career, that saw him become one of the most prominent and successful songwriters in American music history. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts in Africa, during World War II.[1]
  2. Favorite latter-day recording of WALKIN' MY BABY BACK HOME James Taylor's version of WALKIN' MY BABY BACK HOME is playing on Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio. I've been a life-long fan of Mr. Taylor – and apart from his recording of MY ROMANCE (arguably the most recorded song by my favorite composer Dick Rodgers) this was -- until his soon-to-be-released AMERICAN STANDARD album -- just about the only Great American Songbook ballad that James Taylor ever recorded. His take on this great old song is not among the more than 50 versions listed in the Wikipedia entry: "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" is a popular song written in 1930 by Roy Turk(lyrics) and Fred E. Ahlert (music). It first charted in 1931 with versions by Nick Lucas (#8), Ted Weems (also #8), The Charleston Chasers (#15), and Lee Morse(#18). A recording made by Jo Stafford on November 9, 1945, was released by Capitol Records as catalog number 20049, and on her album, Songs by Jo Stafford . . . The major hit version of it was recorded by Nat King Cole, on September 4, 1951 . . . It went to #8 in 1952. The song charted again in 1952 at #4 in a version recorded in February 1952 by Johnnie Ray, . . . It was the title song from the 1953 film starring Donald O'Connor, Janet Leigh, Buddy Hackett . . . In the film the song was performed by O'Connor. In the opening of the 2002 TV film Martin and Lewis, Dean Martin (played by Jeremy Northam) performs the song at the Riobamba Club in New York City. In 2008, Natalie Cole recorded the song as a virtual duet with her father and it was the first single for her album Still Unforgettable, released on September 9, 2008. Elvis Costello ["Mr. Diana Krall" as we know him in Canada] performed a version as an encore in his Auckland, New Zealand concert, January 19, 2013 and in Troy, New York on November 6, 2013. ---- Again, no mention of James Taylor's more recent, gentle, loving appreciation from a decade ago. But Jersey Lou Simon (the programmer at Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio) speaks to my heart each time he includes this one on the playlist. Nat King Cole didn't live long enough to know about James Taylor, but I think Nat would have smiled lovingly to hear this one. As Mr. Taylor did, two decades ago, on his only other Great Songbook ballad MY ROMANCE, that's James himself with the world-class whistling on the instrumental bridge! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzT8DR5uPEc
  3. One of England's most distinguished recording engineers -- who worked at Trident Studios London with James Taylor and a host of other top recording stars of the early 1970's -- died three days ago. [a friend writes] "Robin Geoffrey Cable: We are highly devastated and extremely saddened to announce the death of our beloved one. He died on February 6, 2020 "We were shocked when we saw the articles on a lot of popular websites! However, we had to do some research by ourselves, and we have some shocking news for you . . . " "We learnt about the recent death of Robin Geoffrey Cable. This was made known to us through the news posted across social medias earlier today." [Just as an aside] I visited Trident Studios in London the summer of '73 and spoke with Mr. Cable, noting that he employed made-in-California JBL studio monitors. He said they provided just the right "mid-range bite" (his words) that an engineer begins to need after hours of listening at high volume. Not for home use, he said; listening in his own living room, he liked the sweet warmth of his 'Tannoy' (English) speakers. The little details that stay with us, fifty years on. Oh yes, and Mr. Cable was the engineer for both those Nilsson recordings mentioned above: THIS IS ALL I ASK and REMEMBER (Christmas).
  4. [Just left Mr. Taylor an addendum] At your first concert appearance here in Winnipeg, I was struck by your distinguished-looking sax player – Lou Marini (we now know his name thanks to your latest American Standard video) who plays a brilliant clarinet solo on EASY AS ROLLING OFF A LOG. Mr. Marini alludes (twice) to my second-favorite composer Harry (Salvatore Guaragna) Warren's 'Lullaby of Broadway' – the notes that accompany the opening phrase (“come on along and listen to …) plus a few notes from that standard's bridge. That song was composed three years earlier (1935) and won Harry Warren the first of three 'Best Original Song' Oscars. Mr. Warren still holds the record for most No. 1 chart-topping melodies – 21, for almost as many artists. He's tied with Irving Berlin with 38 truly great songs piece. But you and Lou knew all this too! Pardon the long aside. We now return to our regularly-scheduled programming ….
  5. Favorite 'live' jazz performance of ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL
  6. Natural reverb as "easy as rolling off a log" -- James Taylor
  7. It's quarter to four, and here we are again, unable to snore . . .Yesterday I was reading the Wiki entry for Gene Puerling – the driving force behind The Hi-Lo's – that he won a Grammy for his arrangement for Manhattan Transfer – their incomparable rendering of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.” The arrangement opens and closes with allusions to “London By Night.” Guess what's playing this very moment on Siriusly Sinatra? Best slide show attached to this version at YouTube, reminding viewers that Tim Hauser left us in 2014.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcYAqfH38kcGene Puerling. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Eugene Thomas Puerling (March 31, 1929 – March 25, 2008) was a vocal performer and vocal arranger. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Puerling created and led the vocal groups The Hi-Lo's and The Singers Unlimited.
  8. My favorite 'hymn' by James Taylor (speaking of 40 years ago)
  9. I May Be Wrong (but I think you're wonderful) – Ella & Joe Pass
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