Obscure & Neglected Female Singers Of Jazz & Standards (1930s to 1960s)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ridin'High, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    "Interesting. More than half of these names are new to me (and, possibly, to many other USA-based forum members), which only goes on to show that this thread could go on for many, many more pages.

    Curiously, I came across a full website dedicated to this CD, too. Link: Canadian Divas. Bios of almost all the featured singers can be found there (as well as on the liner notes of the CD itself, I imagine)."

    Thanks for the research!

    I'll let people know what I think when (and if) the cd arrives. I'm thinking it may be produced on-demand.

    BTW The name Catherine MacKinnon was well known "down-east" as they say hereabouts. She would have worked with Anne Murray in the 60s. More folk than jazz.

     
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  2. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Some of the very finest singers today are also from Canada and still work there, including Diana Panton, Jill Barber and many others
     
  3. Davidmk5

    Davidmk5 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Marlboro , ma. usa

    Thanks for posting about her , she's pretty amazing !! :righton:
     
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  4. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Planet Wyh
    Not obscure but grossly neglected by me. Today I listened to my first non-Kenton songs by June Christy. Fabulous stuff.

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  5. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Planet Wyh
    I also note what I perceive to be an influence on Tom Waits. Here's Christy's version of "Something Cool" followed in the next post by Waits' "I Never Talk to Strangers".

     
  6. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Planet Wyh
  7. Ethan Stoller

    Ethan Stoller Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Don't forget one of my favorite living singers: Lullaby Baxter. Perfect intonation with rich undertones delivered in a restrained, thoughtful style.
     
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  8. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Active Member

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    I picked up an original LP of Joy Bryan Sings on Mode Records from 1957 today in a thrift shop for about 50 cents. The musicians in this case The Marty Paich Septet are indeed great. I didn't care for her singing on the My Funny Valentine selection posted earlier, but I'm liking what I hear on this record much better.

    YouTube: All Tracks - Joy Bryan

    The liner notes are a good read as she has a story like many others with years of work, a family life, and then an opportunity when Jimmy Rowles suggested Marty Paich give her a listen.

    She only made two albums both with Paich. I wondered what happened to her and found she was married to Lester "Les" Koenig who founded Contemporary Records as an outlet for modern jazz. Bryan's second album Make the Man Love Me was recorded on his Contemporary Records label. Perhaps Koenig had an impact on her style and sound on that one.

    Looks like her original LP is expensive and I came into it by luck. Both of her albums made it to CD.

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  9. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident

    I do have Canadian Jazz singer, who dedicated entire album to Tom Wait, but it is not a reason to talk about here...
     
  10. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident

    [​IMG]

    Kitty Kallen


    "Are You Looking for a Sweetheart?"
    (Song by Kitty Kallen, 1954)





    Yes, I was looking for a girl who fit into my category "Sweet & Cute" and found Kitty Kallen.
    I noticed that in some review people were wondering why, when she was singing for the Jimmy Dorsey band, she sounded different than for Harry James...
    Kitty was gifted with the ability to sing not only in any style, but in any voice. In fact, at the age of 10 she won the 1st prize (camera) in the Pennsylvania contest for the mimicry of famous vocalists. When she brought it home, her father Sam Kalinsky (an immigrant from Russia who reduced his name to Kallen) did not believe her and punished Kitty (at that time, Kathy) for stealing the camera. But when his neighbors came to congratulate her, he realized that his daughter was telling the truth. Kitty took part in the local radio program "Children's Hour".

    (from the bio)
    "Born in Philadelphia in 1921, in a family of 7 children, she was still a teenager when she began singing with bands (including Jan Savitt and Artie Show), and she earned her first full-time role in 1940 with Jack Teagarden 's Orchestra. [Here she fell in love and married a clarinetist Clint Garvin, soon she divorced him and re-married, this time successfully]. Two years later, she joined Jimmy Dorsey, and appeared on several hits, including "Besame Mucho" and "Star Eyes" (plus a 1943 film, I Dood It). One year later, she had jumped ship again, this time to the Harry James band, where she struck gold again with a pair of dreamy Hit Parade toppers, "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "It's Been a Long, Long Time." Two additional hits followed -- "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" and "I'll Buy That Dream" -- both of which were in the same mold as her previous features.

    After the end of World War II, during the late '40s, Kallen sang on several radio programs, appeared as a solo act in clubs nationwide, and recorded for labels including Musicraft and Signature. Nothing clicked in a big way until 1953, when a contract with Decca paid dividends with a pair of million-sellers, "Little Things Mean a Lot" (her signature song) and "In the Chapel in the Moonlight."

    Wiki said: "She is widely known for her 1954 solo recording '"Little Things Mean a Lot", a song that stayed at the U.S. number one spot for nine consecutive weeks, charted in the U.S. for almost seven months, hit #1 on the UK singles chart, and sold more than two million copies. Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song of 1954."

    No one dared to touch this song for the next 5 years, then it was covered by many artists, including Johnny James and Brenda Lee, and the song charted again. It's really a touching song...

    (from the comments)
    "I'm in my teenage years now, but I really love this song. Truly, songs of yesterday have a heart than today's..... Every lyrics are written from the heart.... Classics never die..."
    "I was in Korea waiting for my turn to return home. That song and her voice made me cry."
    Little Things Mean a Lot


    "Voted "most popular female singer" in 1954 in both Billboard and Variety polls, Kallen lost her voice at the London Palladium in 1955 at the top of her career and stopped singing before an audience for four years. After testing her voice under a pseudonym in small town venues, she ultimately returned and went on...

    "Kallen proved popular on television, although by the mid-'50s, she began to be swept aside by rock-oriented pop music. She made brief comebacks in 1959 with Columbia and 1962 with RCA, but 1963 was the last year for her on the pop charts, with "My Coloring Book."

    According to Peter Dempsey, the author of the liner notes, during the peak of her popularity, there were two singers who performed fraudulently under the name "Kitty Kallen". When one of them, Genevieve Agostinello, died in 1978, Kitty was shocked to read her own obituaries.

    I Will Buy That Dream (1945)
    1945 HITS ARCHIVE: I'll Buy That Dream - Harry James (Kitty Kallen, vocal) (78 single version)

    It's Been a Long Long Time (1945)
    It's Been A Long Long Time

    The Wonder of You (1945)
    Kitty Kallen - The wonder of you

    My Heart Belong to Daddy (1946)
    My Heart Belongs to Daddy

    When They Ask About You (1943)
    1943 Jimmy Dorsey - When They Ask About You (Kitty Kallen, vocal)

    Love For Sale
    (for the comment)
    " There is another significant recording of "Love for Sale" by Weldon "Jack" Teagarden in 1940. The vocalist was 18 year old Kitty Kallen and, like the other versions of the song, was banned from radio".
    Jack Teagarden Love for Sale

    Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Eberly & Kitty Kallen, voc) (orig. #1 version)
    1944 HITS ARCHIVE: Besame Mucho - Jimmy Dorsey (Bob Eberly & Kitty Kallen, voc) (orig. #1 version)
    Besame Mucho (later version of her Greatest Hits album)
    Bésame Mucho

    In 50's:

    Are You Looking for a Sweetheart? (1953; Charted at #27)
    Kitty Kallen - Are You Looking for a Sweetheart? (1953) - YouTube

    I Want You All to Myself (Just You) (1954; Charted at #23)
    Kitty Kallen - I Want You All to Myself (Just You) (1954)

    Sweet Kentucky Rose (1955; Charted at #76)
    Kitty Kallen - Sweet Kentucky Rose (1955)

    I Don't Think You Love Me Anymore
    I Don't Think You Love Me Anymore

    Decca years:

    If I Give My Heart to You
    Kitty Kallen - If I Give My Heart to You (1959)

    Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You) (1961)
    Kitty Kallen - Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You) (1961)

    In the Chapel in the Moonlight
    In the Chapel in the Moonlight

    My Coloring Book (her last hit, 1963)
    My Coloring Book

    I'll Walk Alone
    I'll Walk Alone

    Misty (rare version)
    Kitty Kallen - Misty - YouTube

    Kitty Kallen died in January last year. Rest in peace, sweetheart...

    CDs:
    There are some to choose from, including most recent 3CD set Collection - I doubt in a good sound quality of it.
    Good one named 'Warm & Sincere' by Sepia, but it emphasized on her solo carrier, while I'm interested in her early big band era singing.

    [​IMG]

    So I bought two:
    Kitty Kallen 'Band Singer' Collector's Choice 2001 (23 tracks)

    [​IMG]

    And this one:

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    [​IMG]
    These really are her 26 finest with very good sound. Recommended!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  11. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So many posts, so many singers, so little time! ... I'm still on the previous page of this thread -- trying to share some reactions to Toilet Doctor's comments about Martha Tilton.



    Poor Leonard must have gained back the 50 pounds!


    80? I do not know how correct this claim is (It is being made by the creator of Martha Tilton's fan website.) Seems a bit high, considering that she spent less than two years with Benny. (Sometimes fans count extant live performances (remotes) as recordings, which should not be done.) Then again, she does seem to have gone to the recording studio with him a lot.

    In any case, it is a crime that we don't have a CD set containing her entire output with Benny Goodman. If the total amount of masters truly is 80, we don't seem to have even one fourth of it on CD! From Japan, there is a LP called Bei Mir Bist Du Schon, featuring some of those masters with Goodman, but not too many. And then there are assorted tracks found in Benny's CD and LP releases, plus the batch of Goodman numbers on the ASV Living Era / Retrospective CD ... That might be it.

    At least, we do have an extensive set of radio broadcasts:

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    Nearly 50 tracks, taken from radio remotes, with Benny Goodman. Lots of standards and quality songs.


    Those have been neatly released in the following CD:

    [​IMG]


    We are indeed fortunate to have all her Capitol stuff on the very good CD set that you mention. It comes with nice photos and discographical information, too. Plus duets with Johnny Mercer.

    [​IMG]


    I agree that her repertoire at Coral is, overall, of less quality. These recordings are from the early 1950s, and this was the type of stuff that most pop singers were being asked to record at that time ... Be that as it may, many of the tracks are rarities. They had been previously available only on the original Coral singles. Hence the Sepia label and the CD's compiler (Ted Oehme, who is also the creator of the Martha website) deserve plenty of thanks, from Martha's fans!

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    The only domestic Martha LP of which I am aware consists of her duet work with Massey. It has come out on more than one budget label, but I think the following Tops LP might be the original:

    [​IMG]


    Well, that's about it. We might have covered all the existent CDs and LPs credited to this singer.

    I am glad that you decided to celebrate Martha Tilton. Although she might not be in any danger of being completely forgotten, her legacy is substantial enough to deserve greater attention in this forum and, more generally, among fans of classic pop vocals.

    Here are some of the reasons why she might never be completely forgotten:

    1) the association with the hit "And the Angels Sing"
    2) the years-long association with Goodman, which easily grants her a placement amidst Benny's top 4 canaries.
    3) her appearance in a batch of Hollywood movies
    4) her dubbing of famous stars in other movies (e.g., for Barbara Stanwick, in the classic screwball comedy Ball of Fire, for which Martha sang an Anita O'Day-like take of "Drum Boogie")
    5) the release of large portions of her work on CD, and the fact that she recorded for various record labels of note ...
    6) Unlike the likes of Helen Forrest and Helen O'Connell, she even has her own fan website (www.marthatilton.com, from which Toilet Doctor kindly quoted some sections), too.

    Paradoxically, this same list of reasons can lead us to the conclusion that she has been a bit neglected. I mean: with such sizable credits, her name should be better remembered.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  12. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Active Member

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    It's us who are catching up. You got the ball rolling and now it has some momentum.

    I also picked up LPs by Polly Bergen and Abbe Lane in the same thrift shop today as well a 3 LP mono set of Glenn Miller CBS radio broadcasts with Marion Hutton singing on about 10-12 selections. I also have several others I've been meaning to get to when I figure out where I shelved them.

    For now I might just look at the Abbe Lane record jacket for a while.
     
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  13. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Active Member

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    I was playing Goodman's version of Loch Lomond with Tilton on vocals down in my basement earlier in the year when my 14-year old daughter came walking in and told me they were singing that song in their choir concert. They did it again in their competitive choir festival this spring and she had the solo. Not the same style as Goodman with Tilton of course, but I loved that my daughter came in with interest. She has a voice and style where she could be singing material done by most of these singers. She loved Lurlean Hunter and listened to and sang along with some of the songs over and over again. Most of the time she thinks what I listen to is "ancient", but then there are times it connects with her.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
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  14. Eric Carlson

    Eric Carlson Active Member

    Location:
    Valley Center, KS
    Looks like that second album was made with Wynton Kelly not Marty Paich. Pays to read the print on the two-fer CD a little more closely.
     
  15. Jbeck57143

    Jbeck57143 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    IL, USA
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
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  16. Ethan Stoller

    Ethan Stoller Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Here's one of my absolute favorite singers. Lynn (a.k.a. "Lynne") Taylor recorded just one LP, from 1958 and a few singles before becoming a member of the successful folk group The Rooftop Singers in the early '60s. Her vocal style is from the Pinky Winters/Lucy Ann Polk/Maxine Sullivan school: limpid tone, perfect diction, using the microphone to full advantage. Her one LP features the compositions of Broadway composer Arthur Schwartz. This song is one of the highlights. Enjoy!

     
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  17. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident

    Helen Carr

    Thank you for your info.
    However, there is nothing about her life. Helen Carr was a wonderful Jazz singer on gentle and moody side plus small group setup. Warner/Atlantic may has more of her recordings:
    "What might have been some interesting late '50s material for Atlantic with King Curtis, Al Casey and the Cumming Sisters never was released" - Ron Wynn

    Sadly, she left us at 37.
    Japanese remastered her album Why Do I Love You? in Mini LP in 2007 (long gone). That is when I found out about her.

    It would be nice to get some samplers too, though...
    (If your direct link to youtube is not working, try such a trick:
    Copy address to your file, highlight it and press Ctrl + K, then Enter).


    Memory of Rain (my favorite)


    I Don't Want to Cry Anymore
    I Don't Want to Cry Anymore

    Down in the Depths of the 90th Floor
    Down in the Depths of the 90th Floor

    I'm Glad There Is You
    I'm Glad There Is You

    Do I Worry?
    Do I Worry?

    My Kind of Trouble Is You
    My Kind Of Trouble Is You

    Summer Night
    Summer Night

    I wish someday Fresh Sound will put together 2CD set complete collection of Helen Carr.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident

    P.S.
    There was no info about her at all, until... less than 2 days ago:

    The Mysterious Helen Carr

    [​IMG]


    "She only recorded two albums. She may or may not have died in a car accident. Her year of birth is up for grabs. Who is Helen Carr?

    It's a mystery, or at least a mystery in terms of digging up information about her on the internet. She was born in Utah in 1924, or perhaps 1922, and once her career took off, she fronted for a number of big bands, including Stan Kenton and Charlie Barnett. Her voice is breathy and distinctive, and while some liken her to Billie Holiday, I think Blossom Dearie is a much closer match if we're going for comparisons.

    Yet why compare? She has her own sound, one that never quite comes at you directly, but sneaks up on you sideways and around corners. Her first - or was it her second? - LP, 1955's "Down In The Depths Of The 90th Floor" is also noteworthy because her set, including "Tulip or Turnip" and "I Don't Want To Cry Anymore" haven't all been done to death. Everything about it feels fresh.


    [​IMG]

    Adding to the mystery of Helen is the fact that she never reveals her face on her LP covers, including 1955's (or 1956's?) "Why Do I Love You" - a Cheerfully Heavenly Helen Exclusive! - which features two models (I'm assuming) making out on the beach. This version has a few bonus tracks, yet what makes it stand out, again, are the off-the-beaten-track song selections and Helen's hushed vocals, which can turn hot or cool on a dime.

    Helen died in 1960, either in a car accident or due to breast cancer, leaving behind her husband, pianist/arranger Donn Trenner (who's still kinkin' at age 90). They even wrote a song together, "Memory Of The Rain," which is featured on "90th Floor." Treasure these two LPs, because that's all there is.*

    (*Actually, that's not true... Helen has two tracks on the 1957 jazz LP 'Max Bennet Plays.')
    " -- ? (July 5, 2017)

    [​IMG]
     
  19. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident

    Thank you for posting. Sometimes she reminds me of Peggy Lee's timbre in some places - I've never heard her before.
    CD is in limited Mini LP and unapproachable though. But it's nice to know what you need to hunt.
     
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  20. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident

    Thank you for your comments and analyses.
    I believe in 80 songs of Goodman recordings for 2.5 years. They usually do about 15 songs in 2-3 days session. The songs are 3 min max, musicians - top notch and schooled to death. They're coming, 2-3 takes - done!
    However, I cut off, but Ted said that some of them are very good and some are bad... so, it's maybe a reason.

    I didn't mention, I do have Martha Tilton Complete Standard Transcription 23 remastered and never released before tracks, I bought on eBay for $4.99 sealed not so long ago. At first I thought, some fake, but it was real thing with Soundies card inside and sounds great. (Buy the way, if you didn't buy yet Kay Starr The Best of Standard Transcription 2CD, 50 remastered and never released before tracks, do it - at the same level).

    [​IMG]

    Jasmine is under consideration now...
     
  21. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Planet Wyh
    Upon her death, the New York Times reported that she "appeared on 80 of [Goodman's] recordings". I have Goodman's complete Bluebird/Victor recordings and I count 44 (starting with “Bob White” on September 6, 1937 and ending with "The Lady’s in Love With You" on April 7, 1939). I don't believe she recorded with him on the Columbia or Capitol labels, though I don't know the extent of her live/transcription/etc. recordings with Goodman.
     
  22. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Written by Fran Landesman in 1955, later turning up in her 1959 musical The Nervous Set along with her other standard "Ballad of the Sad Young Men." I just scored a nice copy of the cast album a couple weeks ago.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
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  23. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident

    Perhaps, some recordings have not been released (?)
     
  24. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter


    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    According to this album's liner notes, Ilene's "throaty purrs belong to the late hour when the last handful of lights has nicked off across the park and the fire has burned to within an inch of its life." As I read that opening description (some years ago, while holding the album in my hands, at a record store), I decided to buy it on the spot. I imagined that I would shortly be listening to the singing equivalent of the young Lauren Bacall ("just whistle"). Either that, or an alley she-cat in heat. Little did I know that it was pure and chaste Cinderella who was going home with me, instead! Once I discovered the ruse, the only words that I could muster were ... come on, Ilene! (No Midnight Runner, this gal.)

    Expectations are everything. Not being who I was expecting, Ilene was not appreciated by me at first. Eventually, however, I surrendered to the purity of tone, clarity of diction, and honesty of phrasing. Yes, that's right. Finally I was charmed -- though no transformation into a prince ensued, alas. But, all the same, my story had a happy ending.

    Ilene is a fine singer, of course, and the album is interesting for its repertoire of relatively familiar-yet-not-overplayed ballads. In addition to "I Remember You," she sings "It's a Blue World," "While We're Young," "Ev'rytime," "If I Love Again" ... And yet, when I first listened to the album, the tune that most called my attention was none of those, but an oddity called "Estrellita." It has no lyrics. Ilene just hums the entire thing, uttering words only at the very end. (Since then, I have become better acquainted with the tune, thanks to several instrumental versions, and also one or two versions with lyrics.)

    Enough of my ramblings. Here are some additional details of interest from Ilene's life:

    • In 1963, she wedded jazz drummer Ed Shaughnessy, best remembered today for its decades on Johnny Carson's Tonight show. Their were still married 47 years later, when she passed away.
    • In the wake of Peggy Lee's landmark royalty lawsuit against the Disney company, Ilene was one of two or three other singers who sued the Mouse as well. (Like Peggy, the lawsuit did not tarnish her memory of Walt Disney himself. Both singers consistently professed to respect and admire him greatly.)
    • Ilene might have been the first singer to ever sing harmony with herself on record.
    • "Oh, I love the idea that after I'm gone, children will still be hearing my voice."
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  25. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter

    They had a fairly large CD catalogue, amassed throughout 20 years of operation.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Apparently, this was a successful Public Domain label, and thus competition for the official labels. In the first decade of this century, Universal purchased it, and then proceeded to shut it down.


    The following connection didn't dawn on me when you first posted; it came to more recently: there are very valid reasons to hear similarities amongst these singers. We just haven't mentioned the missing link!

    Both Patsy Cline and Johnnie Ray adored Kay Starr's singing, and claimed her as one of their main influences. For her part, Kay Starr repeatedly acknowledged having listened to Connee Boswell, and picking up a few numbers from the older singer. (Moreover, various writers have stated that Kay was a "disciple" of Connee's, and that the Starr grew up listening to the Sister.)

    So, it makes perfect sense to hear similarities in the way that Connee, Kay, Patsy, and Johnnie tackle any given song.


    In this case, I am gathering that the perceived similarity is more in the scene painted by the lyrics. Although Waits could have certainly listened to June's version of "Something Cool" (or to somebody else's version), he did not have to. The scenario that Waits paints is a mundane one, which could have happened even to him or a friend. Many men & women who frequent bars have doubtlessly found themselves in parallel situations ... Waits' number is essentially a pickup song, and little more. Meanwhile, "Something Cool" is much more than a pickup song. It's also a character study, and has literary/cinematic aspirations: the female who is delivering this "soliloquy in song" reads as a variation on the Blanche Dubois character from A Streetcar Named Desire.

    None of the above is meant as a denial of the original point made by Mister Jones. I'm just giving some thought to the similarities and differences between the two numbers. To me, both of them can be said to belong to a well-established tradition of "drinking blues," which in the world of jazz & pop is visually represented by the cover and sentiment of Sinatra's album Close to You, and by lyrics such as "Drinking Again" (Dinah Washington) or "Dinner for One, Please, James."




    Neat score, the cast album.

    "Ballad of the Sad Young Men": There is another mellow-sounding song that evokes a bar/club atmosphere of drinking and inner despair.

    (For anyone that might be wondering, the other song to which Danby Delight was referring would be the exquisite "Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most.")


    Thanks for saying that. Well, Abbe might have the looks and the assets but Polly has the attitude and THE voice! ... So, you've got yourself the best of both worlds.


    Ha, she wouldn't be wrong to refer to "Loch Lomond," in particular, as ancient, being as it is a traditional Scottish air.

    It's great that she is picking up a variety of music at an early age. Some of us find out that, as we age, we go back and become interested in music from "before our time," or music that we used to label under the rubric "(grand)parents' music. In 30 or 40 years, she might be the one discussing this music, or even performing it for either friends or the public!
     

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