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Thread: My Favorite Version (yours too?)

  1. #1

    My Favorite Version (yours too?)

    At this moment Siriusly Sinatra is playing my father's favorite singer Margaret Whiting --- singing Dad's favorite song (Mom's too; and mine!) Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein's masterpiece, All The Things You Are. This by way of starting a "my favorite VERSION" thread. Please feel free to join in. Margaret's version of Dad's favorite. The comment beneath this video speaks for many of us.

    "Jesus O'Nazareth
    (2 weeks ago)
    This track came up in a shuffle playlist, and I initially mistook the timbre and phrasing of Whiting for Ella Fitzgerald. Listening closely, there are obvious differences, but 'from a distance' the two singers are closer than I had realized, at least on this type of slow 1930s ballad. Which might not have been Ella's forte in any case."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3EWZY3eYVo

    ----

    I can't clear my throat without saying the words "My favorite" (or "Mom's favorite"). I got my love of superlatives from my Mom's English-born father -- who when I was little would tell me about the fastest bird ("The Swift" -- 200 mph in a dive) or "the fastest car" (the 'Reid Railton Special' driven by English furrier John Cobb who -- the year of my birth, 1947 -- briefly topped 400 mph in setting a two-way record at Bonneville (394 mph) that lasted for decades! That car ended up in a museum in Birmingham England -- Grampa Fortington's home town. To coin a phrase, What a coincidence!

    Anyway I was returning from church this morning and listening as always to Siriusly Sinatra and thinking, song after song -- No, THAT is my favorite version. The one that stuck with me as "best version" was "These Foolish Things" -- sung by Rod Stewart. I was at a party once and amid the ambient noise I could clearly hear a male singer's voice singing this English standard. I checked to see which singer was able to penetrate that much noise. The unique sound of Rod Stewart. Frank and Ella wouldn't have penetrated through that joyful noise the way the husky delivery of Rod Stewart does. In that particular way, you could say "Rod is the best!" In any case he had the good sense to record "my favorite version" as a video. Delightful, you may agree.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL0pgcRlZYk
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 02-13-2019 at 07:02 AM.

  2. #2

    There's a saying old . . . 'Seek -- and ye shall find'

    The very next offering at Youtube this day was Margaret Whiting's 1947 (a very good year) recording of SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME. I was reminded of a former employer of mine – owner of the last TV station I worked for here in Winnipeg – Israel “Izzy” Asper – who owned the Global Television Network in Canada).

    We shared a mutual love of Gershwin: He had a shrine to George and Ira in his home featuring some priceless Gershwin memorabilia he would acquire on visits to New York and elsewhere.

    Mr. Asper would always send me a note of appreciation for “this labor of love” Gershwin compilation I'd created just for him -- acknowledging that he would love to be able to repay me in kind – but could not. “No time.” His favorite song – he called it “greatest love song ever written” was this one – and this particular recording by his favorite singer.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYEeAOTIQ2c

  3. #3

    You won't believe this!

    I'd just been thinking of my favorite ballad by a jazz pianist -- MISTY -- by Eroll Garner (who died young, age 57, in Los Angeles forty years ago). Next song in the shuffle play that is YouTube was this one! If I didn't know better . . . And yes, "my favorite version." Bet it was the composer's favorite too! God rest their souls, Ella and Erroll:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPOlakkBlj8

    Someone at Youtube asked "who is the pianist." Just checked Amazon.com and buried among the 705 CDs listed for Ella is the answer to that question. Nice to see the review I wrote is still in the "spotlight." Yes, if you buy only one Ella album, make it this one, I say.

    https://www.amazon.com/Intimate-Ella-duets-pianist-Smith/dp/B00000479L/ref=ntt_mus_dp_dpt_21

    In case that link doesn't work, "my favorite Ella album" review below. I feel the same way, 12 years on.
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 02-13-2019 at 07:40 AM.

  4. #4

    ELLA'S FINEST HOUR

    Oscar Peterson (still performing in his 80s) recalls a "magic moment" on a bus with Ella Fitzgerald 57 years ago - a bus tour with "some of the greatest jazz people that could possibly ever be mustered at any one place and time." This was back when Oscar's future trio bass player Ray Brown was still married to Ella, and was part of the same bus tour for the legendary "Jazz at the Philharmonic."

    "I remember Ella asking (trumpet great) Roy Eldridge if he recalled the way that Billie Holiday used to do this or that tune. Upon which, `Lady Fitz' (as I named her soon after we met) launched into a `Lady Day' version of WHAT A LITTLE MOONLIGHT WILL DO." She glanced around at Herbie Ellis, gesturing for him to get his guitar . . . and out of nowhere Roy uncased his horn, put in the mute, and commenced playing a beautiful obligato to her vocal.

    "Our bus driver `Bart' had an intuitive sense (about) such musical `moments' -- and he quietly slipped the bus into overdrive, slowed down, and relaxed in his seat to enjoy the music.

    "So here was this Greyhound bus rolling down the Kansas highway, on a picture perfect evening. And there sits Ella in her seat, eyes closed, totally engrossed in making each word of the lyric count to its fullest . . . . Lester Young joining Roy Eldridge in playing soft sensitive lines behind her . . . Ray Brown somehow managing to balance himself and his bass in the aisle -- lending support.

    "She sang her heart out, song after song, and we all applauded, grinning in excitement and appreciation, for we all knew that we were part of a very special `musical moment.'

    I believe Oscar would agree that this CD -- "The Intimate Ella" -- provides just the sort of magical, musical moment he refers to here.

    -----

    In 1960 when the "First Lady of Song" was at the pinnacle of her career, Ella flew to Germany to record her legendary live album "Ella in Berlin" (an LP that won TWO Grammys). Ella, like Sinatra, could in a moment, turn weaknesses into strengths: And at this famously recorded live concert, Ella forgot the words to "Mack the Knife" - but without missing a beat, she came up with one of the most beautiful, improvisational `scats' in jazz history.

    Later, Ella and her brilliant musical director, pianist Paul T. Smith slipped away to a recording studio in the Netherlands where, alone together, they conjured up these thirteen magical ballads.

    -----

    This 1990 CD (my copy from an Amazon.com seller is labeled "Made in Germany") was produced with excellent liner notes, translated from the Dutch by one "Imme Schade van Westrum," who reminds us of the musical giants who considered Ella quite simply "the best-of-the-best."

    Ira Gershwin is quoted: "I had never realized just how good our songs really were until I heard them sung by Ella." Bing Crosby concurs: "Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest." And Duke Ellington ranked her "beyond category."

    -----

    Remarkably, this all-Dutch production sat in a vault for 30 years - apart from one, limited release LP comprising the soundtrack to a long-forgotten film, "Let No Man Write My Epitaph," (a tale of "corruption and drug addiction" in which Ella appeared onscreen with Shelley Winters, Jean Seberg and Burl Ives; Ella pretends to accompany herself at the piano).

    ------

    In 1960 at this recording Ella was 42; her voice was never more supple or expressively beautiful (or better recorded). And her brilliant pianist, Paul T. Smith reminds us of the distinction between the greatest jazz pianists (like Oscar) and the truly great ACCOMPANISTS - like Andre Previn, or Bill Miller (Sinatra's career-long accompanist, who died last summer in Montreal, while on tour with Sinatra Jr.)

    Incidentally as of 2007, Paul T. Smth is alive and well, and living in California -- where he was born in 1922: His 50 years experience as an accompanist began with the Tommy Dorsey band in the 1940s. He moved back to L.A. where, as a studio musician he worked with a "Who's Who" of jazz musicians and popular singers. In 1956 - and for the next 22 years - he was Ella's musical director and trusted pianist . (In those days, Paul T. Smith was so appreciated in Europe, the Jazz Dictionary dubbed him "the greatest pianist from America.")

    It's hard to imagine better accompaniment for the woman singer generally considered to be Sinatra's equal in interpreting the Great American Songbook. This CD conveys to your ears - perhaps better than any other of Ella's recordings - the shy intimacy suggested by both the album title - and by Oscar Peterson in his recent autobiography "A Jazz Odyssey" (please see reviews for that book).

    ----

    Oscar writes: "There were many parts to "Lady Fitz" (as I affectionately named her in 1951) "that I still don't claim to know - although I knew her for over 40 years, and worked with her on-and-off throughout. She was innately shy and insecure, a very private person who remained somewhat enigmatic to even her closest friends."

    Oscar Peterson recalls his own, delightful list of "all the little signs and mannerisms that told Ella's accompanists EXACTLY what she was feeling during a performance." His acute memory recalls:

    "The first side glance, accompanied by a sort of half-laugh, MEANING: `What was that change or line you just played behind me?'

    "The left hand cupped to her ear. MEANING: ` Something's out of tune. Is it me, or the piano?'

    "Ella's left hand slapping her hip. (Depending on) the intensity of the slap: If intense, it means Look out! She's getting ready to go for it -- and wants to make sure that you go with her!"

    Oscar concludes that "any pianist fortunate enough to have worked with her learned immeasurably -- in terms of timing, and overall musical perception."

    To fully appreciate what Oscar had in mind when he wrote those words -- you just listen to this album!

    Mark Blackburn
    Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

  5. #5

    Words! Words! Words! (This is no time for a chat!)

    For a long time the world agreed that the best Broadway musical ever was the best one composed by Alan Jay Lerner and Fritz Lowe -- MY FAIR LADY. (Just as an aside they also gave us Brigadoon – which opened on a most auspicious date in human history – the night of the day I was born, March 13, 1947. You knew that, right?)

    All the great musicals by my favorite composer Dick Rodgers included one or two songs that were, well . . . less than brilliant. (Same is true for Lerner & Lowe's Brigadoon and Camelot.) But not so for My Fair Lady.

    I was just thinking about the two principal types of lyrics: “Tell me” (something) and “Show Me.” And as I like to say, “like the song of the same name in My Fair Lady, Show Me is better every time.”

    The whole world knows songs like “I Could Have Danced All Night” (Frank's version is fabulous) and “I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face” (why he never got around to that great ballad, we'll never know!). But even the most obscure song from that show, SHOW ME, has a brilliant lyric with a perfect 'trumpeting' melody to match the words. Come to think of it, "Show Me" captures (more than any other song) 'in short order' what most women want from us men. A check at Youtube shows approximately no one has ever recorded it! Maybe because it's the shortest song in the show? It gets the job done in well under two minutes. So . . . in case you've forgotten the scene, here is the first offering at YouTube this day: the original movie version. (Wasn't Audrey luverly?)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WbRyU8uuNk

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blackburn View Post
    But even the most obscure song from that show, SHOW ME, has a brilliant lyric with a perfect 'trumpeting' melody to match the words. Come to think of it, "Show Me" captures (more than any other song) 'in short order' what most women want from us men. A check at Youtube shows approximately no one has ever recorded it! Maybe because it's the shortest song in the show?
    Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer recorded it for her CD Sketches Of Broadway. A clip can be heard here.

    There's also a version by opera singer Jessye Norman on Lucky To Be Me: excerpt heard here.
    Andrew

  7. #7
    Oh -- thank you so much, Andrew! Janis Siegel -- one of my favorite singers! And Jessye Norman. I spent the 70s in Bermuda (their ZBM TV station) and got to see Jessye Norman 'live' at our Bermuda Festival, when she was first making a name for herself. Delightful. Thanks again, Andrew. What would we do without you.

  8. #8

    My favorite recent SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME

    I have always adored Gladys Knight. (Her rendition of the National Anthem at this year's Superbowl was -- well, "my favorite version" period.)

    A moment ago (just for me) Sirius radio played her recent take on "Izzy's favorite love song" (see above). Is it at YouTube? Yes. Does anyone mention the arranger? No. I'd bet money it's Jeremy Lubbock.

    Whenever I hear an other-worldly orchestration (with subtleties that no other living arranger could imagine) and I take the time to buy the album, it often turns out to be the English-born Jeremy Lubbock. [Jeremy is one more orchestrator in a long line that includes Riddle and Costa, who admit to the influence of Robert ('Great Songs From Great Britain') Farnon.] Just listen to what happens around the 2:50 mark. Don't know which album this is from but I gotta get this one.

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

    Two earlier "comments" below the video (which I only just noticed) opened with the same words I used: "I adore (Gladys Knight)." Kindred spirits we are.
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 02-13-2019 at 11:40 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blackburn View Post
    I have always adored Gladys Knight. (Her rendition of the National Anthem at this year's Superbowl was -- well, "my favorite version" period.)

    A moment ago (just for me) Sirius radio played her recent take on "Izzy's favorite love song" (see above). Is it at YouTube? Yes. Does anyone mention the arranger? No. I'd bet money it's Jeremy Lubbock.
    Mark, I have the promo edition of Gladys Knight's Before Me CD, which includes the "Making Of 'Before Me'" DVD with an interview and recording footage. The track for "Someone To Watch Over Me" was produced by Phil Ramone and arranged/conducted by Billy Childs.
    Andrew

  10. #10

    Too many moonlight kisses seem to cool in the warmth of the sun . . .

    My favorite 'chick flick' of the past 25 years was SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (Yes, I admit to enjoying Nora Ephron movies – most especially that one.) Over the closing credits of that film you hear “my favorite version” of, WHEN I FALL IN LOVE. And this was my first exposure to Jeremy Lubbock's uniquely beautiful arranging skills.

    [Jeremy's online bio says 1993 was a busy year for Jeremy -- the arranger was nominated “three times (out of five) for his category” including for Barbra Streisand's 'Luck Be A Lady Tonight,' Whitney Houston's 'I Have Nothing,' and for this one – which won him his third Grammy.]

    Performed as a duet by Canadian singers, Celine Dionne & Clive Griffin, the song was released on Celine Dionne's own 'Colour of My Love' album which sold 20 million (correct) copies world-wide.

    Frank Sinatra's composer friend Victor Young wrote the beautiful tune; Edward (Body & Soul) Heyman provided the romantic words.

    Yes, still my favorite version of WHEN I FALL IN LOVE. Someone posted a lovely video with scenes from the movie. We all looked so much younger then, didn't we? Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks the way they were, circa 1993.

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

  11. #11
    Again, thanks so much, Andrew -- for locating the info I craved. Yes, Billy Childs. His Wiki entry says,

    William Edward Childs (born March 8, 1957) is a jazz pianist, arranger and conductor from Los Angeles, California . . .

    In 2000 Childs arranged, orchestrated and conducted for Dianne Reeves's project The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan,[1] which won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Other artists and producers for whom Childs has arranged include Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Botti, Gladys Knight, Michael Bublé, David Foster, Phil Ramone, and Claudia Acuña.

  12. #12

    Yes, THAT Billy Childs (thanks Andrew)

    Just realized that Billy Childs was the pianist accompanying trumpet giant Chris Botti on his first (of three) visits to Winnipeg – in 2006. He's seen at the 33 second mark of this snippet of “Pennies From Heaven.” Concerning which I wrote a review for the CD and DVD that resulted from this concert – and within weeks, Chris Botti's appearance in several western Canadian cities. The video and my review which focused on my “all time favorite drummer.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r__ipDoFNA0

    My review from that 'magical summer night' here in Winnipeg, 2006:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2XLUROL1NLF80?ref=pf_vv_at_pdctrvw_srp

    ----

    After this magic night in L.A. with an all-star cast of guest vocalists, Chris Botti took the show on the road -- minus the great singers -- and on five consecutive nights stopped in as many Canadian cities, including this one. The all-instrumental show was, to my memory, even better (than this original show) because of the extended solos by Chris himself and his brilliant, accompanying musicians.

    Botti told his Winnipeg audience that, when he toured with Sting, he was urged to "find yourself the best drummer in the world - and make him the heart of your band."

    "So I Googled," he said, "for 'The baddest- *ss drummer in the world,' and up came the name Billy Kilson." Then Botti told us: "What you are about to see, you will not believe." He wasn't exaggerating. The drum solo (I forget the tune -- doesn't matter) was beyond any musical experience I've witnessed since Oscar Peterson last performed here 20 years ago.

    I turned to the person next to me and said, "This is like watching a god." At one point Billy Kilson was performing with just one hand, multiple rhythms, with alternating shadings so subtle it sounded like he was using brushes, not sticks.

    The entire band stood out in the front lobby of our "Burton Cummings Theatre" and signed autographs until every last patron had gone out into that good night. I wanted to talk to other members of this all star band, comprised of Grammy-winners, including pianist Billy Childs and guitarist Mark Whitfield. Instead, I went straight for Bill Kilson.

    "Who are your heroes?" Billy thought about it a minute, (he has a modest, gentle demeanor) and said, "My teacher" (a lesser-known jazz drummer - but an influential artist whose name I can't recall six months later). When he'd mentioned just that one name, I asked: "Anyone else?"

    "Max Roach," he said.

    The solo Kilson performs on this DVD is impressive enough; but after seeing him 'in person' on a more extended solo, I would urge jazz fans to find a way to see Billy Kilson "live and in person," -- and be prepared to re-arrange your personal pantheon of greatest-ever drummers! Good to see that the Amazon.com editorial review (above) mentions his name and the word "remarkable" in the same sentence!

    The "bonus track" on this DVD concert, also happened to be Chris Botti's lone 'encore' here in Winnipeg -- a gorgeous rendition of the Arlen/Mercer classic written for Frank Sinatra. The trumpeter told us: "I worked with Sinatra for two weeks at the start of my career -- when I was fresh out of college!" It was, he said, "the greatest musical experience of my life"

    For the Winnipeg audience that gave him a standing ovation, his performance of "One for My Baby" -- ALONE -- was worth the price of admission!

    [p.s. That's Jeremy Lubbock conducting the orchestra -- as most of the arrangements that night were his.]
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 02-13-2019 at 03:25 PM. Reason: p.s.

  13. #13

    The Way You Look Tonight

    Earlier this hour Sirius radio played Rod Stewart's really beautiful rendition of the Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields "Best Original Song" Oscar winner (1936) -- THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT. Our all time favorite version? A no-brainer! Wasn't this the basis of a Michelob beer commercial with Frank lip-synching to this retire-the-trophy rendition? If I had to single out my all time favorite swing tune by Sinatra it would have to be this. Not least for the couldn't-ever-be-improved-upon arrangement by Nelson. Yes, it never got better than this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82_JCboW69U

  14. #14

    Two favorite versions of MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY

    Earlier this evening Sirius played my all-time favorite version of MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY. Tony Bennett and the late jazz piano giant Bill Evans . . . alone together in a studio “at about 3 in the morning” Tony said later. The lovely song is from a long-forgotten Broadway show DO RE ME with music and lyrics by Frank's friends, Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Favorite line?

    “Fame, if you win it, comes and goes in a minute; where's the real stuff in life to cling to?

    My all-time favorite 'good advice' song, culminating as it does with the thought that, before we try to change the world, we can begin at home with love.

    "Make just ONE someone happy. Then you will be happy too!"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mgEeMauOlU

    My other all time favorite version? The one by Jimmy Durante featured in the soundtrack of the movie SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. (But this is where I came in!)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_Olf6smJ3s

  15. Re: The Way You Look Tonight

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blackburn View Post
    Wasn't this the basis of a Michelob beer commercial with Frank lip-synching to this retire-the-trophy rendition?
    See this post for a YouTube link to the Michelob commercial (and many, many other versions):

    —> Favorite Frank Sinatra song of the moment? – "The Way You Look Tonight"

    Bob.

  16. #16

    Dare I say it? My Favorite Beer Commercial EVER

    For these and other reasons, Bob in Boston -- you are my hero!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR-J...ature=youtu.be

  17. #17

    My favorite RECENT version THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT

    That link Bob provided above -- you click on it and it is a comprehensive list of videos of THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT. Culminating in this most recent rendition: Tony Bennett and jazz pianist extraordinaire Bill Charlap.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIAK...ature=youtu.be


    Bill Charlap is married to a Canadian pianist. I said to them, when they performed here in Winnipeg, "Renee is the better half." Where's that Amazon review I wrote the night of their show here in the world's coldest major city? Here we are!

    https://www.amazon.com/Double-Portrait-Bill-Charlap/dp/B003EPPEPY

    ----

    Minutes ago, after their performance in our city's "West End Cultural Centre" (a small theatre with terrific acoustics) I spoke with Canadian-born Renee Rosnes and her American husband, Bill Charlap.

    "I came here tonight to see YOU, Bill Charlap," I said, "having seen you in the (Clint Eastwood produced) Johnny Mercer television special - and having heard you interviewed just the other day by (NYC FM & Sirius Radio show host) Jonathan Schwartz. But I have to tell you," I said, "that like marriage itself - SHE's the `better half'!" Bill took it the right way, laughing and agreeing, "She really IS!"

    I asked them the name of the remarkable song - a virtuosic powerhouse number "a fountain of sheer joy," I said with which they closed tonight's show; (it's track one on this CD). Repeating myself, I said it was "the most amazing, joyful outpouring of sound from two pianos that I could ever imagine! What's it called?"

    "Chorinho," said Renee, spelling it for me and giving it the proper Brazilian (Portugese) pronunciation. "It's the first track on our latest CD," she said. "Wish we had a free copy for you," said Bill. "No, no," I said. "I insist, on principle, on purchasing my own copy!" (which I did, a few minutes later in the theatre lobby - purchasing their last copy as they were closing for the night).

    "It sounded to me like a Clare Fischer composition," I said. "It was written by Lyle Mays," said Bill. "He is an amazing piano player who has worked with Pat Matheny."

    I told my "new favorite piano duo" that "my previous standard for judging four-handed piano performances were the teams of Hank Jones & Tommy Flanagan, and Dave Grusin with Chick Corea."

    "Well, we'd be honored," said Bill, "to be mentioned in company with those great players!"

    "Really, I think you've raised the bar," I said. Then I asked them: "Do you think the fact that you are married, actually contributes in some way to the (amazing) `dynamic' of your playing together? Bill answered first: "The intimacy between us, definitely contributes" (to what's happening on stage). Renee agreed: "The intimacy we share (pausing to find the right words) "gives us courage, I think, to hear spaces (in the music) and not feel we HAVE to fill them!" It seemed a fitting way to describe the almost telepathic empathy with which they play.

    For their show tonight, Renee (given first choice?) was seated at a battered old Baldwin concert grand, whose curved side was mated to a brand new Yamaha. The Baldwin sounded sweeter, I thought; the Yamaha had a more clear and concise sound - but with less `character.' [And listening now to this CD, I'm thinking --- "two Steinways from Astoria, and German mics" (Just checked the "special thanks" on the liner notes which includes kudos to "Steinway" and "to the estate of Marc Chagall" (for the album cover).

    The recording quality is simply splendid, and the tracks here - like tonight's `live' performance -- provide the listener with such a lovely balanced program; no two songs had the same tempo. Their rendition of Jule Styne's "JUST IN TIME" (not included here) was the best piano performance of that show-stopper from "Bells Are Ringing" that I have ever heard.

    When I mentioned Jonathan Schwartz and how much I enjoy his daily, satellite radio show, Renee said, with a big, beautiful smile, "One of the songs (here) was written by his father (Arthur) - "Dancing in the Dark." Listening to it now, an hour later, I'm thinking Arthur Schwartz would have LOVED Bill & Renee's rendition.

    "New" melodies (new to my ears) featured here on this CD (and performed so magnificently on stage tonight) include "Wayne Shorter's tribute to his wife," ANA MARIA, as well as Gerry Mulligan's "LITTLE GLORY" -- two beautiful, strong melodies I'd not heard before -- and cannot imagine being rendered more beautifully than you'll hear on this CD. I note that this album closes with their show opener tonight - Frank Loesser's NEVER WILL I MARRY. Never will you hear (I predict) better `four-handed' piano virtuosity than here, in this magnificent "DOUBLE PORTRAIT."

    Mark Blackburn
    Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

  18. #18

    My new favorite version of Ray Noble's THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU

    Frank's 1962 version -- for Great Songs From Great Britain -- remains my all-time favorite. But please watch my new favorite.

    I was heading back to bed (up early, couldn't sleep, wouldn't sleep) and made the mistake of just checking to see what's up next in the random-shuffle-that-is-YouTube. Sure enough my favorite most recent version of my favorite song by English band leader Ray Noble.

    Tony and yet another musical gift from Brazil. (One of the comments provided her name)

    "Ana Carolina! Linda, e cantando em português.. adorei!"

    (I think I get that last word and totally agree!)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlrZ9D2V08Q
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 02-25-2019 at 09:55 AM.

  19. #19

    Favorite versions -- sung by 'character' voices

    I remember playing a Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) recording for my musical Dad – my favorite track from my favorite Dr. John album recorded with a full-sized symphony orchestra with a gorgeous orchestration (I forget the arranger). The song was MORE THAN YOU KNOW – one of two favorite songs written by Vincent Youmans and Edward Eliscu (their other hit was “Without a Song” --without which Nancy would have had to pick a different theme for her weekly show!)

    As I put the CD into a Walkman (remember those?) and handed him some quality (Sennheiser) earphones, I wondered what Dad would think of Mac's voice (no more, but no less, gravelly than Louis Armstrong). Dad really liked it – not least for the splendid arrangement. He liked even more the fact that Dr. John was accompanying himself on piano.

    Earlier this day Sirius Radio played Louis Armstrong's recording of “Let's Fall in Love” and I thought (for the second or third time this morning) “No --THAT is my new favorite version!” Let's link to both -- and create a new sub-category here: Favorite song versions sung by 'character' voices. First Dr. John:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7IvVszZIno

    My new favorite version of LET'S FALL IN LOVE by “Pops” Armstrong. The video doesn't identify the musicians but this could only be Canada's greatest gift to jazz – Oscar Peterson Trio.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCxszSirb0g

  20. #20

    My favorite song from The Great Depression era . . .

    TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS. My favorite version? Mom's. I can still see in my mind's eye: when I was only two or three, I can see her coming from the kitchen in our apartment to say bedtime prayers with me. After drying her hands on her apron, she sang, in her soft, beautiful voice, “Try a Little Tenderness.” Somehow she knew it would be a perfect lullaby. And it was. She really had a perfect singing voice.

    Sirius radio just played my second favorite rendition of the song – which I shared with Mom, on a late-in-life cassette. She loved this rendition by Frank. Especially the tender, opening obbligato on violin. And the gentle flutes that were Nelson Riddle's trademark accents. Yes, Mom would say this one's the best:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8G7HO7SRy8

    The guy who wrote the lovely melody was Harry Woods. Who had a stump for an arm and a chip on his shoulder. Witnesses in a bar who knew who Harry was, watched him beating another man to a pulp -- using the stump as his weapon. One witness laughed to another: "That's Harry Woods! He wrote Try a Little Tenderness!" [You won't find that anecdote at Wikipedia]

    Oh yes, I checked on who wrote the words -- two English song publishers whose first hit sold two million copies of sheet music for SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME. My all-time favorite version of that? This one by my life-long finger-style guitar hero Chet Atkins. I was 16 and learning guitar when I purchased this recording from his MR. GUITAR album. The gorgeous sound -- on his signature model Gretsch Country Gentleman electric -- and the terrific content still makes me laugh. Beginning with 48 seconds of 'tipsy' guitar, replete with hiccups.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PkSrvtwKao

    From Wikipedia

    "Show Me the Way to Go Home" is a popular song written in 1925 by the pseudonymous "Irving King" (the English songwriting team James Campbell and Reginald Connelly). The song is said to have been written on a train journey from London by Campbell and Connelly. They were tired from the traveling and had a few alcoholic drinks during the journey, hence the lyrics. The song is in common use in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and North America.

    The music and lyrics were written in 1925 by Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly. They self-published the sheet music and it became their first big success, selling 2 million copies and providing the financial basis of their publishing firm, Campbell, Connelly & Co.[1] Campbell and Connelly published the sheet music and recorded the song under the pseudonym "Irving King".[2]

    The song was recorded by several artists in the 1920s, including radio personalities The Happiness Boys,[2] Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra,[2] and the California Ramblers.[3] Throughout the twentieth into the twenty-first century it has been recorded by numerous artists.
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 02-14-2019 at 08:17 AM.

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