"More addictive than a goddam video game" - Balloon Juice

"One of my very favorite music blogs ever..." - Singer/Songwriter Emma Wallace

"Fascinating... really GREAT!!! You'll learn things about those tunes we all LOVE to play and blow on... SOD is required reading for my advanced students. It's fun, too!" - Nick Mondello of
AllAboutJazz.com

"I never let a day go by without checking it." - Bob Madison of Dinoship.com

"I had dinner the other night with some former WNEW staff members who spoke very highly of your work." - Joe Fay

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unforgettable

By Irving Gordon
1951

Perhaps one of the most enduring of all standards, still commonly known today by people of all ages, mainly thanks to the recording by Nat King Cole. It was Cole who introduced the song in 1951, re-recorded it in stereo ten years later, and with whom it has always been identified. His version was famously edited in 1991 into a posthumous "duet" with his daughter Natalie, which won the Grammy for Best Recording. Sadly, that version also amended the fine Nelson Riddle arrangement to including a cheesy sax solo in place of Riddle's trademark shimmering strings.

Lyrics:

Unforgettable
That's what you are,
Unforgettable
Tho' near or far.

Like a song of love that clings to me,
How the thought of you does things to me.
Never before
Has someone been more...

Unforgettable
In every way,
And forever more
That's how you'll stay.

That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am
Unforgettable, too.

Recorded By:

Dick Hyman
Dinah Washington
Sammy Davis Jr.
Marvin Gaye
Lou Rawls

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ain't We Got Fun?

By Richard A. Whiting, Raymond B. Egan & Gus Kahn
1920

A classic foxtrot composition that became one of the theme songs of the Roaring '20s, as well as the Depression Era. It was introduced on stage in the revue Satires of 1920, but achieved even greater stature on the vaudeville circuit and in recordings. In particular, it has been immortalized by the recording by the great Eddie Cantor, and was even mentioned in F. Scott's Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. An uplifting ode to carefree living, it both epitomized the Jazz Decade, and raised the spirits of those who fell on hard times afterward.

Lyrics:

Bill collectors gather 'round and rather
Haunt the cottage next door
Men the grocer and butcher sent
Men who call for the rent
But within a happy chappy
And his bride of only a year
Seem to be so cheerful, here's an earful
Of the chatter you hear

Ev'ry morning, ev'ry evening
Ain't we got fun?
Not much money, Oh, but honey
Ain't we got fun?
The rent's unpaid dear
We haven't a bus
But smiles were made dear
For people like us

In the winter in the Summer
Don't we have fun
Times are bum and getting bummer
Still we have fun
There's nothing surer
The rich get rich and the poor get children
In the meantime, in between time
Ain't we got fun?

Just to make their trouble nearly double
Something happened last night
To their chimney a gray bird came
Mister Stork is his name
And I'll bet two pins, a pair of twins
Just happened in with the bird
Still they're very gay and merry
Just at dawning I heard

Ev'ry morning, ev'ry evening
Don't we have fun
Twins and cares, dear, come in pairs, dear
Don't we have fun
We've only started
As mommer and pop
Are we downhearted
I'll say that we're not

Landlords mad and getting madder
Ain't we got fun?
Times are so bad and getting badder
Still we have fun
There's nothing surer
The rich get rich and the poor get laid off
In the meantime, in between time
Ain't we got fun?

When the man who sold 'em carpets told 'em
He would take them away
They said, "Wonderful, here's our chance
Take them up and we'll dance"
And when burglars came and robbed them
Taking all their silver, they say
Hubby yelled, "We're famous, for they'll name us
In the pepers today

Night or daytime, it's all playtime
Ain't we got fun?
Hot or cold days, any old days
Ain't we got fun
If Wifey wishes
To go to a play
Don't wash the dishes
Just throw them away

Streetcar seats are awful narrow
Ain't we got fun?
They won't smash up our Pierce Arrow
We ain't got none
They've cut my wages
But my income tax will be so much smaller
When I'm laid off, I'll be paid off
Ain't we got fun?

Recorded By:

Peggy Lee
Doris Day
Eddie Cantor
Rosemary Clooney
Bing Crosby

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lullaby of the Leaves

By Bernice Petkere & Joe Young
1932

Featured in the very short-lived Broadway revue Chamberlain Brown's Scrap Book, this aching ballad was introduced on stage by Ina Hayward, but later became a jazz favorite after Freddie Berrens and his orchestra brought the song to radio. Although the show it came from may have been a flop, the song lives on as a rare treat to be discovered by fans of the Great American Songbook.

Lyrics:

Rustling of the leaves used to be my lullaby,
In the sunny south when I was a tot so high,
And now that I have grown
And myself alone.

Cradle me where southern skies can watch me with a million eyes,
Oh sing me to sleep,
Lullaby of the leaves

Cover me with heavens blue and let me dream a dream or two,
Oh sing me to sleep,
Lullaby of the leaves.

Im breezing along, along with the breeze,
Im hearing a song, a song thru the trees,
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh.
That pine melody caressing the shore familiar to me, Ive heard it
before ooh ooh ooh ooh.

Thats southland, dont I feel it in my soul,
And dont I know Ive reached my goal,
Oh sing me to sleep,
Lullaby of the Leaves.

Recorded By:

Keely Smith
Chet Baker
Ella Fitzgerald
Benny Goodman
Anita O'Day

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There's No Business Like Show Business

By Irving Berlin
1946

The ultimate ode to the glitz and glamor of stage and screen, penned by one of America's most cherished composers, and a man who knew its allure perhaps better than just about anyone. The song was the centerpiece of Berlin's musical Annie Get Your Gun, in which it was introduced by Ray Middleton, Marty May and of course the great Ethel Merman in the starring role of Annie Oakley. It has since become one of Berlin's most cherished standards, a rousing anthem to the business of entertainment.

Lyrics:

There's no business like show business like no business I know
Everything about it is appealing, everything that traffic will allow
Nowhere could you get that happy feeling when you are stealing that extra bow

There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Even with a turkey that you know will fold, you may be stranded out in the cold
Still you wouldn't change it for a sack of gold, let's go on with the show

The butcher, the baker, the grocer, the clerk
Are secretly unhappy men because
The butcher, the baker, the grocer, the clerk
Get paid for what they do but no applause.
They'd gladly bid their dreary jobs goodbye for anything theatrical and why?

There's no business like show business and I tell you it's so
Traveling through the country is so thrilling, standing out in front on opening nights
Smiling as you watch the theater filling, and there's your billing out there in lights

There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Angels come from everywhere with lots of jack, and when you lose it, there's no attack
Where could you get money that you don't give back? Let's go on with the show

(There's no business like show business like no business I know)
You get word before the show has started that your favorite uncle died at dawn
Top of that, your pa and ma have parted, you're broken-hearted, but you go on

(There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low)
Yesterday they told you you would not go far, that night you open and there you are
Next day on your dressing room they've hung a star, let's go on with the show!!

Recorded By:

Bernadette Peters
Judy Garland
Susannah McCorkle
Betty Hutton
Frank Sinatra

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tony Bennett and... Lady Gaga??

I'm breaking my two-months silence for a bit of a break from the usual routine here... to bring you this video which has been blowing my mind lately. It's from Tony Bennett's brand-new Duets II album, and features the greatest living traditional pop vocalist teaming up with none other than today's hottest pop sensation, Lady Gaga, for a rendition of Rodgers & Hart's "The Lady Is a Tramp".

I never would've imagined I'd like this as much as I do, but it cannot be denied that Ms. Gaga indeed has some talent! Honestly, her voice here reminds me a bit of Keely Smith and Anita O'Day. It just goes to prove what I've said in the past--that today's vocalists are often extremely talented, yet sabotage themselves with sub-par material in order to sell records. When given some quality standards to work with, they finally demonstrate what they really can do.

Enjoy! And congratulations to Mr. Bennett for staying in the mix all these years... I can't believe the Red Hot Chili Peppers stunt on the MTV Music Video Awards was nearly two decades ago...

Listen to Martini in the Morning

Jazz News