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.
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