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Something Fine to Listen to: Rita Lee, Aqui, Ali, Em Qualquer Lugar (2001)

September 12, 2016
It’s been a long time since anything rock ‘n roll-ish has excited my ears as once it did. It’s funny because I keep getting younger, so you’d think the opposite.
 
But then I heard Rita Lee‘s “Aqui, Ali, Em Qualquer Lugar,” a Brasilian re-imagining of Beatles songs, sung in Portuguese and English. There is something intelligently “new” and mature and inventive about these tracks that I thought I ought to share.
 
Voice is gorgeous; the guitars are just awesome support for her (not to mention the rest of the band and the engineer who mixed it). Just listen to the first track and you’ll get a sense of it.
 
Very helpful to me, this album, I think about the next album, which will be all original music, to be recorded in 2017.
 

And this vital, exotic and intimate re-imagining of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Can’t Help Singing (Abbey Lincoln/Hank Jones), 1944

September 5, 2016
I’d seen the movie Can’t Help Singing (1944) with Deana Durbin and Robert Paige a very long time ago, featuring the song of the same name by Jerome Kern. If you’ve seen the film (a Western), you’ll know Miss Durbin sang it with an orchestra very much an up-tempo number almost as one might imagine a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, if set in the American west.
 
I never really took to the song until the other day, searching for gems to add to my repetoire, I heard Abbey Lincoln and Hank Jones. Almost couldn’t believe it was the same song. What a mighty expression that woman was capable of, and so fetchingly. I’ve transcribed it and it’s going right into the repertoire. Listen to this wonderful version.

“So Far” from Allegro (1947)

September 1, 2016
“So Far,” another number I’ve dusted off and brought back into my repetoire after many years. It originated in the long forgotten musical, Allegro (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II), which premiered in New York in 1947. Here sung brilliantly and beautifully by Billy Eckstine, also largely forgotten.
 
I never cease to be in awe of American performers of the 40s and 50s for the quality of their work, in idea, in form and in execution. This tradition we have — yes, it is an American tradition of song — is so wealthy and fertile that it can be readily mined for gold like this.
 

On a Wonderful Day Like Today

August 31, 2016
I added “My Kind of Girl” to the repetoire (you’ll know the Basie/Sinatra version) and learned to my surprise Leslie Bricusse wrote it.
 
Then I thought of that great show “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd” and the marquees on Broadway declaring in a huge font ANTHONY NEWLEY I saw as a toddler in ’65 or ’66.
 
I’d forgotten about this wonderful song from the show — “On a Wonderful Day Like Today — also by Bricusse (and Newley), which I promptly put back in the repetoire.  It’s the first song he sings in this video.

A New Recording by Tony LaVorgna, My Long-time Colleague

August 8, 2016

More of the fine work my long-time colleague, Tony LaVorgna, has recently recorded. This waltz, which I recall with lyrics under another title, is in this version an instrumental with Tony playing all the parts. At the time he wrote it, Tony was studying with Bill Finnegan, who arranged (among many others) Glenn Miller’s Little Brown Jug. Recorded at Norman Johnson‘s studio, Manor Recording.

Even More Songs You’ll Hear in Richie’s Solo Show

August 5, 2016

More songs you’ll hear in my solo show (artist best known for the song in parentheses). More shows coming very soon.

Broadway Baby (Sondheim)
Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head (B.J. Thomas)
Hooked on a Feeling (Blue Swede)
The Catcher in the Rye (Chip Mergott)
I’ve Heard That Song Before (Harry James)
Hey Jude (Beatles)

Even More Songs Added to Richie’s Solo Show Roster

July 26, 2016

More great songs added to my solo show song roster (with the act that made it famous in parentheses). These are delightful songs to sing with light guitar accompaniment.

Somewhere (West Side Story)
A Kiss to Build a Dream On (Louis Armstrong)
Blame it on my Youth (Nat Cole)
Cryin’ Time (Buck Owens)
You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby (Bing Crosby)
My Sugar is So Refined (Swing Fever — well, they did a great big band version of it!)

A few more songs added to Richie Kaye’s tune roster

July 18, 2016

A few more songs added to my solo show tune roster this week (with perfomers who recorded the song in parentheses):

Destination Moon (Nat Cole, Dinah Washington)
Waiting at the End of the Road (Ethel Waters)
Why Baby Why (George Jones, The Secret Sisters)
As Time Goes By (Louis Armstrong)
Moon River (Andy Williams)
La Poupée Qui Fait Non (Michael Polnareff)

Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth — Our 2011 Album

July 11, 2016
I’d not seen until today this delightful bit of praise for our 2011 album, “Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth, ” recorded with my colleague, Tony LaVorgna and Sam Kuslan (on two tracks).
 
“If you were looking for music that puts you on a “downer” or amplifies your “angst,” you’ll have to look elsewhere. I can’t help but thinking “Laurel & Hardy” (or Ozzie & Harriet, for that matter – back in Ozzie’s early days as a bandleader) as I listen to “Love Is Just Around The Corner“ LOL! You must remember that I grew up in an age when music like this was just giving way to the protest music of the ’60’s, so the idea of humor and FUN in music isn’t foreign to me at all. And tunes like the somewhat corny-sounding lyrics on “Sweet Tooth” aren’t actually as nuts as they sound. The idea back then was to cut a rug and have a ball and this kind of music allowed you to do just that. I give Richie and his sidekick Tony LaVorgna a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED on this one, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.96.” — Rotcod Jazz
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