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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chinatown, My Chinatown

By Jean Schwartz & William Jerome
1910

A very early standard that would become especially popular later on in jazz circles, this song's melody incorporates Chinese musical styles. The lyrics play off a Western fascination and romanticizing of the Chinatown neighborhoods that had sprung up in places like New York and San Francisco. That said, it is considered soundly racist by modern standards.

Lyrics:

When the town is fast a sleep, and it's midnight in the sky,

That's the time the festive Chink starts to wink his other eye,

Starts to wink his dreamy eye, lazily you hear him sigh.


Chinatown, my Chinatown,
Where the lights are low.

Hearts that know no other land,
Drifting to and fro.


Dreamy, dreamy Chinatown,
Almond eyes of brown,

Hearts seem light and life seems bright
In dreamy Chinatown.


Recorded By:

Al Jolson
Louis Armstrong
Jimmy Roselli
Art Tatum
Sidney Bechet

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