We're after the same rainbow's end . . .
“Two drifters off to ‘see the world’ – there’s such a lot of world to see!”
Those are my favorite words from Johnny Mercer’s second (of two, consecutive Mercer & Mancini) “Best Song” Oscar winners – "Moon River." I’d been thinking only last night while listening to that one (my favorite track from Frank Sinatra’s Academy Award-winning songs album) that we’re so familiar with that song, it’s easy to no longer actually hear the poignant words that Johnny composed to that lovely melody by Hank Mancini.
“ . . . we’re after the same ‘rainbow’s end’ . . . waitin’ ‘round the bend – my ‘huckleberry friend’ – moon river . . . and me.”
Looking at the words on the page – they convey none of the emotion that Frank Sinatra captured better than anyone else, in his delightful rendition – my favorite of Nelson Riddle’s arrangements for that album – featuring, as it did, one of my favorite ‘acoustic’ (gut-string) guitarists, Brazil’s Laurindo Almeida to play those lovely, opening and closing obligatos.
Imagine my delight in hearing someone I’d not heard of – “David Gray” (an English singer-songwriter, it turns out, young enough to be my son) introducing Moon River as the final selection Sinatra selection for his “Playing Favorites” show this day.
Just before playing the song, David Gray said, “I couldn’t close this Sinatra segment, without a little nod to my father, Peter Gray [who] really started ‘the Sinatra thing’ for me.
“When he passed away, we threw a huge party for [my Dad] and all his friends came; one of them stood up to sing, a capella -- MOON RIVER . . .
[As David Gray’s voice is suddenly choked with emotion at the memory, he admits]
“I don’t really listen to it any more [silent pause]. “But I’d never really HEARD the lyric before [that moment]. Everybody knows the song but I’d never sensed the depth of the metaphors that were used in it.”
Minutes earlier, commenting on Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim’s magnificent “Meditation,” David Gray said:
“There’s a certain ‘patina’ to his performances, where the emotion comes through . . . there’s a poignancy . . . they’re beautifully delicate creations . . . all credit to the [English] translator and the arranger Claus Ogerman; it’s so perfectly done . . . and the percussion side of it – so underplayed yet so effective!
“Listening to all this music, and the sensitivity of it, the emotion of it – it’s amazing to contemplate – in what was a relatively short period of time – how attitudes to love and desire [were different] it was the sort of tactful ‘cutaway’ -- in lyrics and music and films -- rather than ‘full-frontal nudity’ . . . at the point where Frank was working, it's understatement [which] somehow makes it that much more powerful. [Though] Frank was obviously a macho sort of guy in his own way, he had to incorporate a lot of emotion . . . . feelings of swooning after some woman, dreaming after some time, or lost in a reverie somewhere – things you just don’t hear about any more! It’s amazing to contemplate what a different world it was – and that is part of the appeal of this stuff.”
Not quite so articulate perhaps as the preceding host Robert Osborne -- the most articulate, erudite and fun-to-listen-to, host of ‘PLAYING FAVORITES’ that we have heard to date (I say).
But good thoughts, nonetheless, from a young English singer/songwriter (b 1968) many of us hadn’t heard of (though we may have heard his own music). A quick online search reveals that one of David Gray’s compositions “a presumed new song, ‘A Moment Changes Everything’ was played during the UK highlights of the 3rd round of the 2010 Masters Tournament” [and that] one of his songs ‘Sail Away’ was featured in the (2001) Robert De Niro movie, ‘15 MINUTES.’
Just had to come here and say “Good show, young man.” (Hope to enjoy in its entirety on the next re-play.]
Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 04-15-2010 at 12:34 PM.