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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There Ought to Be a Moonlight Savings Time

By Irving Kahal & Harry Richman
1931

Introduced by the consummate Frenchman Maurice Chevalier in 1931, this song is a wonderful example of the light-hearted uptempo love songs of the early 1930s. Guy Lombardo's orchestra would have a huge hit with it the same year, taking it all the way to number one. A tongue-in-cheek confection of the Depression Era designed to take people's minds off the sad state of affairs. I know it would've worked on me...

Lyrics:

Birdies fly with new ambition, spring is in their song
Soon you'll yourself a wishin days were not so long.
If my thought is not defined, listen while I speak my mind...

There ought to be a moonlight saving time
So I could love that boy of mine
Until the birdies wake and chime
Good morning!

There ought to be a law in clover time
To keep that moon out overtime
To keep each lover's lane in rhyme
Till dawning.

You'd better hurry up, hurry up, hurry up
Get busy today.
You'd better croon a tune, croon a tune,
To the man up in the moon
And here is what I say:

There ought a Moonlight savings time
So I could love that boy of mine
Until the birdies wake and chime
Good morning!

Recorded By:

Blossom Dearie
Annette Henshaw
Ruth Etting
Ray Anthony
Hal Kemp

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crazy, He Calls Me

By Bob Russell & Carl Sigman
1946

Elling and Sigman had the enviable benefit of having this song introduced by the one and only Billie Holiday. Sigman (pictured) was a lyricist who had collaborated with many, and is also responsible for songs like "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and "Enjoy Yourself". He was a protege of Johnny Mercer, perhaps the greatest lyricist of them all.

Lyrics:

I say I'll move the mountains,
And I'll move the mountains,
If he wants them out of the way.
Crazy he calls me,
Sure, I'm crazy,
Crazy in love, I say.

I say I'll go through fire,
And I'll go through fire.
As he wants it, so it will be.
Crazy he calls me,
Sure, I'm crazy,
Crazy in love, you see.

Like the wind that shakes the bough,
He moves me with a smile.
The difficult I'll do right now,
The impossible will take a little while.

I say I'll care forever,
And I mean forever,
If I have to hold up the sky.
Crazy he calls me,
Sure, I'm crazy,
Crazy in love am I.

Recorded By:

Dinah Washington
Aretha Franklin
Peggy Lee
Anita O'Day
Natalie Cole

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues

By Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler
1932

A popular jazz and blues standard by the Arlen/Koehler team, which as far as I know was not part of their revues, but rather a stand-alone song. It was introduced by Louis Armstrong, but soon became more closely associated with Jack Teagarden, who made it his theme song. A great example of the knack the Jewish Arlen for bluesy, African-American styled melodies.

Lyrics:

I gotta right to sing the blues
I gotta right to feel low-down
I gotta right to hang around
Down around the river

A certain gal in this old town
Keeps draggin' my poor (old) heart around
All I see, for me is - misery

I gotta right to sing the blues
I gotta right to moan and sigh
I gotta right to sit and cry
Down around the river

I know the deep blue sea
Will soon be callin' me
It must be love - say what you choose
I gotta right to sing the blues

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Benny Goodman
Billie Holiday
Art Tatum
Earl Hines

Friday, January 15, 2010

It Might as Well Be Spring

By Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
1945

A lilting, delicate melody highlights this late Rodgers composition, from his second major collaboration, that with Hammerstein. This came from State Fair, which was the only original film score the duo ever wrote. It was sung in the film by Jeanne Crain--and Dick Haymes, who also starred in the movie, had the first hit recording of it the same year.

Lyrics:

The things I used to like I don't like anymore.
I want a lot of other things I've never had before.
It's just like mother says... I sit around and mope.
Pretending I am wonderful. And knowing I'm a dope.

I'm as restless as a willow in a windstorm,
I'm as jumpy as a puppet on a string.
I'd say that I had spring fever,
But I know it isn't spring.

I'm starry-eyed and vaguely discontented
Like a nightingale without a song to sing.
Oh, why should I have spring fever
When it isn't even spring?

I keep wishing I were somewhere else,
Walking down a strange new street.
Hearing words that I have never heard
From a man I've yet to meet.

I'm as busy as a spider spinning daydreams,
I'm as giddy as a baby on a swing.
I haven't seen a crocus or a rosebud
Or a robin on the wing.

But I feel so gay,
In a melancholy way,
That it might as well be spring,
It might as well be spring.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Nina Simone
Frank Sinatra
Sammy Kaye
Blossom Dearie

Sunday, January 10, 2010

You Made Me Love You

By James V. Monaco & Joseph McCarthy
1913

This tune was originally composed for the stage revue The Honeymoon Express, and was immortalized that same year by a famous recording by Al Jolson. Yet it achieved arguably even greater heights in 1938 when a teenaged Judy Garland sang a modified version for Clark Gable at a birthday party for the actor. The rendition was added into the movie Broadway Melody of 1938, and Judy was on her way to being a mega-star.

Lyrics:

You made me love you,
I didn't want to do it, I didn't want to do it.
You made me love you,
And all the time you knew it,
I guess you always knew it.

You made me happy sometimes, you made me glad.
But there were times, Dear, you made me feel so bad.

You made me sigh for,
I didn't want to tell you, I didn't want to tell you.
I want some love that's true,
Yes I do, deed I do, you know I do.

Give me, give me, give me what I cry for,
You know you got the brand of kisses that I'd die for.
You know you made me love you.

Recorded By:

Doris Day
Harry James
Glenn Miller
Rufus Wainwright
Harry Nilsson

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

By Robert Burns
1788

For anyone who grew up from the 1930s through the 1970s, there was one man who epitomized New Year's in America, and that was Guy Lombardo. Although a popular folk song going back centuries, Lombardo is credited with popularizing this song as the theme for New Year's celebration (earlier reports of it being used thus do go back, however, as far as the 1890s). Lombardo kicked off his annual New Year's show tradition on the radio in 1929, switched to TV in 1956, and kept going until his final New Year's Eve, in 1976. Let's raise a cup of kindness for Mr. New Year's...

Lyrics:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
For the sake of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindess yet,
For auld lang syne.

Recorded By:

Bobby Darin
James Taylor
The Beach Boys
The Drifters
Lou Rawls

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