Page 10 of 27 FirstFirst ... 8910111220 ... LastLast
Results 181 to 200 of 532

Thread: My Favorite Version (yours too?)

  1. Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blackburn View Post
    “'Oh, How I Miss You Tonight' from 'Frank Sinatra All Alone' – an album of torch songs arranged by Gordon Jenkins.” Wish I knew a little of the history of this often overlooked album, which includes some of Gordon Jenkins' loveliest, most subtle arrangements (at least to my ears). How did it originate?
    Collection of all waltzes. The tiitle track (left off the original album) was to be “Come Waltz with Me.”

    And the cover painting – […] The painter's technique is superb. Who did it? Who knows?
    See in the album thread: —> ALL ALONE (Reprise) 1962 (and —> recent followup)

    All this from Jersey Lou introducing this one track from a great album of “torch” songs!
    Mark, I don’t think Lou Simon is the one who does that narration. I forget the announcer’s name, but it was mentioned in a thread here when he started doing those pre-recorded intros many years ago.

    Last edited by Bob in Boston; 03-13-2019 at 05:14 AM.

  2. Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blackburn View Post
    It's a measure of how unaware the world is of this album: the upload to YouTube, the only one with the album cover, published eight months ago, has 70 views, two “helpful” votes and no “comments.” Let's leave this one, with a vote of appreciation.

    Source: YouTube

    It may be worth noting that those videos with “just” the album covers are the official digital uploads from the record labels and Frank Sinatra Enterprises. They may not draw as much attention as some of the home-brewed bootlegs, but at least they’re authorized. They are all linked from this thread:

    —> Official Sinatra Albums on YouTube!

    Last edited by Bob in Boston; 03-13-2019 at 05:16 AM.

  3. #183

    Other favorite version of my favorite Rodgers & Hart song

    My lips could move and talk
    My feet could step and walk
    and yet my heart stood still . . .

    Today's my birthday – No. 39 as Jack Benny liked to say (old joke for old folks, like me). But it's also the second anniversary of the death of Tommy LiPuma, my favorite musical producer. I can imagine him telephoning his friend Johnny Mandel (in late 2000) to say “How'd you like to arrange an(other) album for Shirley Horn?” And Johnny would have said Yes in heartbeat.

    How successful was Tommy at what he did best? According to Wiki

    Tommy LiPuma was an American music producer. He received 33 Grammy nominations, 5 Grammy wins, and his productions sold over 75 million albums. Wikipedia
    Born: July 5, 1936, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
    Died: March 13, 2017, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

    Siriusly Sinatra just played Shirley's (2001) recording of my favorite Rodgers & Hart song, MY HEART STOOD STILL. Performed, with Johnny's inimitable string arrangement -- as only Shirley could, accompanying herself on piano, using its notes to lead her into each phrase, out of tempo – almost too slow, except it's Shirley. And this is genius at play.

    Sometimes a great song, shared at YouTube by amateurs, can elicit the most wonderful "comment" -- like this one, posted below this song. Such a concise insight -- don't know how anyone could improve on this!

    Noe Berengena 4 years ago (edited)
    One of Shirley's best recordings -- she sings every note in her signature style -- a knack for perfectly relaxed phrasing. It's a perfect collaboration with Johnny Mandel's orchestration. His arrangements are subtly shifting colors that move smoothly and magically, like an iridescent fog.
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-13-2019 at 08:40 AM.

  4. #184

    Do You Remember? -- Neil Sedaka

    Shhh . . . don't tell anyone . . . but for a decade-or-so, my Irene and I would never miss an episode of DANCING WITH THE STARS -- the only show we would watch together. Each season I'd say "Who cares?" but by the semi-finals we were glued to the set. Irene's a dancer; me, not so much. My favorite of the pros on the show was Cheryl Burke; I sorta lost interest when she left the show for a couple of seasons. What's this got to do with anything?

    Siriusly radio right this minute is "Playing Favorites with Neil Sedaka" and it's a perfect salsa dance tune. His own composition. He learned Spanish from one of his grandmothers. This one, he says was produced by Canada's David Foster -- "My piano player when he moved to L.A. age 19. He heard this song and said he wanted to produce it."

    Really, doesn't this make you want to get up and dance? Thanks for the memory, Mr. Sedaka.

  5. #185

    Calabria Foti -- ANYTHING GOES

    Just for me, Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing my favorite living singer, Calabria Foti -- her recent version of ANYTHING GOES, from an all Cole Porter album (I reviewed at Amazon). Alas, none of her songs have been uploaded to YouTube. Reminded me though of another favorite singer Dionne Warwick's similar "all-Cole-Porter" album, for which Frank Sinatra contributed liner notes. Is her version of this song up there? Yes!

    p.s. It's my birthday and while I was busy playing with the grand kids, Andrew T kindly added a note on the Calabria Foti "other celebrities" thread -- that liner notes were also contributed to that wonderful Dionne Warwick "all Cole Porter" CD by "Clive Davis, Arif Mardin, Lena Horne and Quincy Jones." Andrew kindly transcribed the actual quote from our favorite singer. Imagine, I said, what it was like for Dionne to read these words from Frank:

    "Year after year and now decade after decade, trend after trend, fad after fad, the late Cole Porter, who was my friend, has remained a great communicator to the hearts of people...come to think of it that description also applies exactly to Dionne Warwick, who is also my friend I'm proud to say. In this album Dionne, like Cole Porter, proves she has the most difficult talent of all in music, staying power. I love her madly!"
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-13-2019 at 03:55 PM. Reason: post script

  6. #186

    I know how Lief Erikson felt, finding another world -- VAN MORRISON

    Always meant to find out more about VAN MORRISON. At this moment Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is playing his version of Gershwin & Gershwin's HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON. He hails from Northern Ireland! Who knew? (Other than Bob in Boston and Andrew T, that is). Turns out this was the title track on an album that went to No. 1 on the jazz chart in the U.K. almost a quarter century ago. Someone once said a prophet is honored everywhere except in his own home town. English critics sniffed that it wasn't very good. But American listeners loved Van Morrison's take on standards. [The closing note at Wiki]

    The Daily Telegraph said, "Van huffs and puffs where he should whisper," while Rolling Stone stated, "It's an old blues trick – laughing in the face of trouble – but Morrison does it with such contagious enthusiasm, it sounds fresh again."


    His vocal timbre is what we lovingly call a "character voice." But it works, doesn't it? For those who care that's Pee Wee Ellis -- Van's go-to American saxophonist soloing (he arranged the entire album).

    [Favorite line: "I know how Mr. Lief Erikson felt on finding another world" (500 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue).]

    Wikipedia note:

    How Long Has This Been Going On is the twenty-fourth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, "with Georgie Fame and Friends", released in December 1995 (see 1995 in music) in the UK. It charted at #1 on Top Jazz Albums.

    The album was recorded live (but without an audience) at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, London, England, on 3 May 1995, and features a number of jazz standards and a be-bop influenced rendition of Morrison's classic "Moondance". According to Van Morrison, "the album took four or five hours to record and Ronnie Scott's was chosen for the vibe."[2] Georgie Fame recalled that the album came about after he and Morrison had discussed it for several years when, "I got the band together, and we ran through some ideas one quiet afternoon...that went very well, so Van said, 'Let's do it.'"

  7. #187

    MY BUDDY -- Nancy Sinatra

    There are songs better sung by women – something is lost when they're sung by men. Even if Frank Sinatra himself recorded it, MY BUDDY wouldn't carry the same emotional weight it did one Sunday evening when I was 21 (a very good year) and Nancy performed it 'live' on the Ed Sullivan Show.

    Just as an aside, “The Ed Sullivan Show” was watched by the entire nation of Canada – especially when this country's funniest native sons (friends of my father) Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster performed a skit. They were Ed's favorite guests – and made a record number of appearances. Wonder if they were performing that very night when Nancy sang MY BUDDY. If they were, Nancy might remember. If she can't . . . I know one or two guys here who could probably pin it down.

    I thought of this, after Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio played Nancy's lovely album version of this song, overnight.

    On this 'kinescope' of a videotape (numbers at bottom of screen) – from the early days of color TV, the show's director inter-cuts photos of Nancy with her “buddies” in Vietnam. Tears of joy for all those young men's faces – my age back then, and “in harm's way” as Nancy says. All us guys overcome with her beauty as she sang this one. Did I mention this is my favorite version? (after Doris Day's hit recording of 1952).

    Wonderful "comments" below the video include this -- from year 2010 when the video was posted -- from someone we know and love:

    George Lyons
    9 years ago
    Love this!

    And this more recent "comment" that speaks for so many of us guys

    3 years ago
    Few singers can combine heartfelt emotion and vocal perfection the way Nancy does on this rendition.

    p.p.s. My musical sister Andrea just emailed this reaction (which I love!)
    "Nancy Sinatra at her most beautiful best -- both physically and vocally! How could you not LOVE this gorgeous rendition of a timeless, tear-jerking classic?"
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-14-2019 at 05:19 PM. Reason: p.p.s.

  8. #188

    BEWITCHED -- Rod Stewart & Cher

    "After half a quart of brandy . . . thank God we can be oversexed again -- bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I."

    Richard Rodgers is my favorite composer -- just got my fix for the day: Rod Stewart and Cher (they are, like me, 'people of an age') and their straight-up approach to this great Rodgers & Hart song is . . . just what I needed. Thank you God and Jersey Lou (in no particular order).

  9. #189

    QUEEN LATIFAH -- "Quiet Night(s) of Quiet Stars"

    Siriusly Sinatra just played my second favorite version of the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic, "Quiet Night(s) of Quiet Stars." The lyricist, Canadian-born Gene Lees wrote the words to this, and four other A.C. Jobim songs -- given their definitive treatment by our favorite singer in 1967. Gene died in 2010, so he had three years to enjoy this version by Queen Latifah. Bet he loved it! Not all recordings are equal -- the sonic sound stage on this one is merely magnificent. From the "Trav'lin Light" album whose every track is terrific.

    Those brilliant harmonica accents are from . . . you guessed it, Stevie Wonder. The arranger was John Clayton, bass player extraordinaire who has also arranged for Diana Krall and the late Natalie Cole ("Ask a Woman who Knows" album).
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-14-2019 at 09:33 AM.

  10. #190

    From Favorite Songs to favorite words about them . . .

    After just listening again, to Queen Latifah's beautifully recorded version of QUIET NIGHTS OF QUIET STARS, thought of Gene Lees --- a poem he wrote, titled simply, SONNET. It's like something my mother would have written. I know Mom would have appreciated Mr. Lees' perfectly poetic summing-up of the mystery of the shared joy that we call "song."


    Music is a strange and useless thing.
    It doesn’t offer cover from the storm.
    It doesn’t really ease the sting
    Of living, or nourish us, or keep us warm.

    And people spend their lives in search of sound,
    Learning how to juggle bits of noise,
    And by their swift illusions to confound
    The heart with fleeting and evasive joys.

    Yet I am full of quaking gratitude
    That this exalted folly still exists,
    That in an age of cold computer mood
    A piper can still whistle in the mists.
    His notes are pebbles falling into time.
    How sweetly mad it is, and how sublime!

    -- Gene Lees

    “'It is, Hilaire Belloc once wrote, 'the best of all trades to make songs, and the second best to sing them.'

    “As one who has been privileged for some years to make his living doing both, I concur. Singing is more fun. Writing is more work. But the writing of your ‘perfect song’ gives you an inexpressible pleasure, one that is heightened by the thought that others, hearing it later, will perhaps derive a pleasure from it too.

    “A friend of mine described seeing composer Harold (“Over the Rainbow”) Arlen stop still in the old La Guardia Airport when one of his melodies came over the sound system; a look of puzzled wonder filled his face. The crowd moved on around him, no one among them knowing him, but many and perhaps most of them knowing the song.

    “In the French lyrics of ‘L’ame des poets’ (‘The Soul of Poets’) the great Charles Trenet wrote: ‘Long after the poets have disappeared, their songs still run in the streets.”

    “We never know, when we write a song – at least those of us who are fortunate enough to do so professionally, with a reasonable hope of its exposure to the public – where it will end up. My friend Johnny Mandel [still alive & well and arranging for the likes of Diana Krall] who wrote, among many superb melodies ‘The Shadow of Your Smile,’ quipped to me one day: ‘I do very well in elevators.’

    “It is commonplace for songwriters to be told by a new acquaintance that he or she fell in love or had a great romance or got married to the accompaniment of one of their songs. I usually make some such joke as, ‘I hope you won’t hold me responsible.’ But this is only to hide an embarrassed pleasure. Therein lies one of the subtlest thrills of song writing, particularly lyric writing: the totality of the communication. People memorize your thoughts, playwrights and novelists rarely have that experience.

    “But at the time you are actually doing the writing, which is a lonely business --- all writing is lonely --- the chief thrill is that of craftsmanship. Boris Vian, the French novelist and lyricist who died all too young, once said that he was more proud of his lyrics than his novels. The lyric is the most exquisitely difficult literary form of them all. It is MUCH more difficult to write lyrics WELL, than it is to write poetry [for reasons which Gene Lees explored wonderfully in his writings: may I recommend his THE MODERN RHYMING DICTIONARY whose 50 page introduction offers so much more than the title implies.]

    One last thought, a reiteration of Gene Lees thoughts about “Studying the Masters.” His purpose, said Lees “is to help define the excellent in lyric writing. I have nothing to tell you about how to make money in the music business. There are other such books although some of them seem directed more toward making their authors money than making YOU money.

    “The principles I describe apply to ALL kinds of lyrics, from country & western lyrics, some of which are very good, to Broadway show lyrics, some of which are very bad. In general however, the highest standard of lyric writing has been set by the theater, and I would recommend that any beginner make a study of Broadway musical scores, particularly the older ones . . .

    “Indeed, to ignore the work of one’s predecessors is to waste a lot of time discovering for yourself what others have already learned. You’d be a fool to try to ‘invent’ counterpoint when you can look to Bach to see how it is done.

    “When Queen Victoria complained to William Gladstone that there were not many good preachers, he said: ‘Ma’am, there are not many good ANYTHING.”

    Gene Lees -- lyricist for: 'Quiet Nights of Quiet 'Stars,' 'Dindi,' 'Someone to Light Up My Life,' 'This Happy Madness' and (for influential jazz pianist Bill Evans) the words to 'Waltz for Debby.'
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-14-2019 at 11:38 AM.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Bob in Boston View Post

    Source: YouTube

    It may be worth noting that those videos with “just” the album covers are the official digital uploads from the record labels and Frank Sinatra Enterprises. They may not draw as much attention as some of the home-brewed bootlegs, but at least they’re authorized. They are all linked from this thread:

    —> Official Sinatra Albums on YouTube!

    Thank you for sharing, Bob! How beautiful I need to give this album a close listen.

    "Frank is just like you. Just like me. Only bigger."

  12. #192
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Blackburn View Post
    After just listening again, to Queen Latifah's beautifully recorded version of QUIET NIGHTS OF QUIET STARS, thought of Gene Lees --- a poem he wrote, titled simply, SONNET. It's like something my mother would have written. I know Mom would have appreciated Mr. Lees' perfectly poetic summing-up of the mystery of the shared joy that we call "song."
    Mark, perhaps a link to the lengthy quote you have written here would be simpler, n'est-ce pas?
    Pack a small bag....

  13. #193
    That's not a song lyric. That's a poem. Not a copyright song lyric. And Mr. Lees was a friend of mine who wouldn't mind in the least my quoting his three stanza POEM. I transcribed it from his book. Reinserted, thanks.
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-14-2019 at 11:39 AM.

  14. #194
    As far as Nancy's website is concerned, I'm not sure how the copyright limitations apply to other than music lyrics, but, in any case "As of January 1, 1978, under U.S. copyright law, a work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created. Specifically, 'A work is created when it is 'fixed' in a copy or phonorecord for the first time.' " ... even if it's on the back of a napkin.

    NAFTA authorizes the recognition, at least partly, of each member's copyright laws. So, even if Mr. Lees created this poem in Canada, it is subject to the law here in the US. Thanks for the correction, Mark.
    Pack a small bag....

  15. #195

    Sinatra and "singing S's"

    [Just recalled an anecdote shared in my Amazon review for a book by Gene Lees]

    " . . . I know what it's like to treasure every word Sinatra says to you (he once directed 50 words my way) and so it seems perfectly natural that Lees never stopped thinking about what Frank said: That seemingly throw-away remark prompted Lees to reflect, deeply, years later in his advice to those of us who'd love to write at least "one good song lyric."

    "Recording engineers," said Lees, "don't like the letter `S' because it presents them with an equalization problem. If they boost the high frequencies, the `esses' become exaggerated." (Sirius Radio can sometimes be terrible for this, when your reception is going a little `funny' just as Lees wrote, in the days before satellite radio: "Turn up the highs (treble) on your stereo - you notice the attenuation of the `S'."

    Then, going further into reflection (remember, all this stemming from a 'chance' remark by Frank Sinatra) Lees said, "The prejudice (against using a lot of `esses' in song lyrics) seems to me now, to date back to a time before high fidelity recording: Ira Gershwin wrote "'S'Wonderful" in the 1930s - and he used esses all over the place, apparently having fun with them, if not poking fun at the prejudice."

    Which set Lees to "wondering about the source of this bias? Scholars tell us (or at least hypothesize) that the letter was (given that shape) like a snake to designate the sound a serpent makes. And . . . if that's so . . .the fear of snakes may underlie the prejudice."

    Which brought Gene Lees back to his 'Whatever made me think of all this?' moment . . . that long ago evening in a recording studio with Sinatra, by way of an anecdote about 'The Bard.'

    "The `S' problem is a problem only in overuse," he says, recalling the line from Mcbeath's soliloquy, "If the assassination, could trammel up the consequences, and catch with his surcease, success."

    "That's pretty bad," said Lees. "In four syllables Shakespeare gives the actor a phrase that is hard to pronounce and quite unattractive when you DO get it out."

    "As for whatever reservations recording engineers may have," said Lees, "I am reminded of what Sinatra said to his engineer at that (same) session when the latter asked him to stand further from the orchestra since their proximity was creating a `separation' difficulty."

    "'That's YOUR problem!' Sinatra said pleasantly."

    Tony & Diana and S'WONDERFUL

    p.s. This was the day I became "Top Fan" of Mr. Bennett's on his Facebook page, where I just shared this anecdote -- knowing he'd love that punchline from Frank!
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-14-2019 at 06:35 PM. Reason: p.s. from Tony's "Top Fan"

  16. #196

    "Just one more listen . . . Oh, TONY's latter-day NIGHT AND DAY"

    "Come to bed," says Irene, awaiting a knee rub. "Just one more minute." They're playing a latter-day recording by the greatest living singer. This one. My new favorite. Night, night. Sleep warm.

  17. #197

    Ray Charles' ode to my favorite grand parent

    My Japanese daughter-in-law Eriko's grandfather is dying (he is 88). He lived long enough to see (on several visits to Japan) his great grandchildren -- our beloved Luke (seven) and Charlotte (four). Irene said after their visit for my birthday, two days ago, "You are the only grandfather they have." I often joke that I'm their favorite person -- apart from their Mom and their Dad, our son Ben. Apparently I indulge them.

    Anyway, last night I thought about my favorite grand parent, my Dad's Mom -- Ruby. I loved her so much. I was only six when she died. I thought of the beautiful song -- I've only ever heard it sung by Ray Charles, whose genius included singing songs no one else wanted to sing. Ruby is a rare name today. Guess which song Siriusly Sinatra played when I was waking up ten minutes ago.

    p.s. What a coincidence! Below this video, there's a note from the great grandson of the man who wrote RUBY.

    Dylan Narz (3 years ago)
    Written by my great grandfather, love Rays version so much. My great grandfather Heinz Roemheld wrote it, was originally for Ruby Gentry movie in 1952.
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-15-2019 at 03:17 AM. Reason: P.S.

  18. #198

    Favorite version of Eddy Arnold's best song

    "Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by -- the chance that you might love me too"

    Coincidentally . . . on the shuffle play 'wonder' that is today's YouTube -- next offering was my favorite Ray Charles song -- YOU DON'T KNOW ME. I always mean to reflect on this, my favorite version of Eddy Arnold's best song.

    Mr. Arnold came up with the melody first, and had the good sense to ask a song writing genius Cindy Walker to find the right words. Intended for a country audience that may not have been familiar with Rodgers & Hammerstein's favorite musical, CAROUSEL, Cindy borrowed for the song's bridge/release, the most poignant words from Carousel's show stopper, IF I LOVED YOU ("longing to tell you but afraid and shy, I let my golden chances pass me by").

    Yes, I'd been meaning to celebrate this song that re-launched Ray's career in a new direction. His fan base were baffled when Ray recorded an album comprised entirely of Country & Western songs. But the album was a mega hit with a much larger audience. This was the best song on that black vinyl LP, and I like to think, the one that got Ray thinking about selecting a bunch of his favorite country tunes.

    As I like to say there are "Tell Me" lyrics (most songs) and "SHOW ME" (much more rare) -- the kind that reach our hearts. This is my go-to example of a Show Me lyric. The first "comment" below the video is this one:

    keith green (1 year ago)
    I used to sing this song privately about a young lady whom I pined away for who was just a friend of mine. She dated other guys and didn’t know how I felt about her. We’ve been married 21 years now.
    Last edited by Mark Blackburn; 03-15-2019 at 07:06 AM. Reason: SHOW ME (don't just tell me)

  19. #199

    YOU DON'T KNOW ME (My ultimate 'Show Me' lyric)

    Yes, the best 'SHOW me' lyric I ever heard.

    I shared it with my Mom just before she died. We were seated on lawn chairs under the trees in the sun-dappled driveway of our family home in Ottawa. Dad was inside whipping up some of his patented tuna fish sandwiches. Something made me sing it to my Mom. She cried, thinking of just such a boy who watched her "walk away beside that lucky guy" (Dad).

    That 'To-You-I'm-Just-A-Friend' boy went off to WWII and, as a fighter pilot, lost his life in 'The Battle of Britain.' So my Dad explained later that same day when I shared that Mom had closed her eyes and quietly sobbed, hearing these words sung perhaps for the first time.

    My folks were neither friends of country western music, nor fans of Ray Charles. But I realize now, they would have enjoyed Ray's recording.

    Best-ever recording? This one. Certainly Canada's other gift to jazz would agree. She asked Ray if this could be their Duet -- for the late-in-life, aptly titled 'GENIUS LOVES COMPANY' album.

  20. #200
    Gene Lees LOVED the cheesecake at The Cattleman Restaurant. He said that Lindy's cheesecake was "too heavy." Whenever I wanted to treat him to lunch at a great restaurant (i.e., The Four Seasons, The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, L'Etoile), he'd always say "We eat at The Cattleman or we starve!" He was a terrific fun guy!