Every Day’s a Holiday

16 06 2011

Every Day’s a Holiday—S. Coslow/B. Trivers, 1937 (Recorded June 16, 2011) This tune was the theme for the Mae West movie of the same name. The song only appears in the background in the movie, though, and even though Louis Armstrong appears in the film, I have not been able to come across any versions of Pops playing it.

Fats Waller recorded this tune twice, as far as I can tell, and the inestimable Al Bowlly did it as well. It’s a fun, swingy, happy tune that should be played every day, whether it’s a holiday or not! (Note: I added my own lyrics to the last chorus and verse; I felt it needed an extra boost toward the end so I concocted some new words, in the spirit of the original.)


9 06 2011

Daybreak—H. Adamson/F. Grofé, 1926 (Recorded June 9, 2011) I made this in my hot attic studio during a 101°F heatwave, using one microphone, a ukulele, mini-bongos, hand claps, voice, and a diatonic “C” harmonica. I celebrate (and fear) the coming season; everyone, please, take it easy in the heat!

Ill Wind

1 06 2011

Ill Wind (You’re Blowin’ Me No Good)—H. Arlen/T. Koehler, 1934 (Recorded April 27, 2011) Harold Arlen came up with this tune while he was visiting the woman who was to became his wife. The lyric, by Ted Koehler, is not the most romantic set of words ever written for a melody, and I puzzle whether Arlen had such a gloomy story in mind when he composed the tune in the company of his girlfriend. It was quite ordinary for Arlen’s songs to take on a tone of The Blues, so it doesn’t surprise me that here, one of his darkest songs, was inspired by romance. The song appeared in Arlen’s and Koehler’s last Cotton Club Parade show and was introduced by Aida Ward. Like most of Arlen’s songs, this one has a verse, which I did not record on this take:

How can I feel at ease
When you whine through the trees
Where blackbirds are singin’ the blues
You rattle my door, can’t stand it no more
Weary of hearin’ bad news
My bluebird would cheer me if you’d let him near me
But when you are around, ah, where he goes,
The Lord only knows my trouble and woes…

Yes, he wrote this song for his lover, I’ll betcha! Some day I must learn that verse.

(I recorded this back in April and originally planned to have a musician friend of mine add some accompanying instrumental material, but that fell through, so instead, I whistled.)

Meet Me at No Special Place

29 05 2011

Meet Me at No Special Place (and I’ll Be There at No Particular Time)—H. Pyle/J.R. Robinson/A. Terker, 1944 (Recorded May 29, 2011) Another song with a long parenthetical co-title. This is an early proto-R&B song that foreshadows the coming rock and roll revolution. Nat King Cole recorded it back in ’44-’45, and the great Mose Allison covered it more recently. I did this in a hurry before the heat rises in my attic recording studio and toasts my computer’s motherboard.

This is my first new song posted in a while. I’m thinking of making some changes around here, but it’s easier to think about making changes than to make changes. Keep tuned in….

You and I

18 05 2011

You and I—Meredith Willson, 1941 (Recorded May 18, 2011) I picked up this catchy tune from the Sinatra/Dorsey version, which was a hit for nine months in 1941. Of course, Willson is best known for his later work, “The Music Man,” which premiered on Broadway in 1957.

I used the Epiphone banjo uke on this one, and got the take in “only” 9 tries. I made the whistling part sound echoey, because, well, that’s how whistling should sound.

The Spell of the Blues

11 05 2011

The Spell of the Blues—A. Johnston/D. Dreyer/H. Ruby, 1928 (Recorded May 11, 2011) Here’s another crusty old song, this one about the Blues, as interpreted by a trio of Tin Pan Alley song writing stalwarts. Again, learned from a Bing Crosby recording, one of his sessions with Guy Lombardo, I think.

I used a harmonica on this tune at the very end. It’s a diatonic “C” harp, which is only partly useful for the key of “F.” Plus, I am not the world’s best harmonica player, correct key or no.

(I’m Still Without a Sweetheart) With Summer Coming On

11 05 2011

(I’m Still Without a Sweetheart) With Summer Coming On—R. Turk/F.E. Ahlert, 1932 (Recorded May 11, 2011) I’m not sure what it is with long, leading song subtitles in parentheses, but this seldom-heard Roy Turk–Fred Ahlert waltz is worthy of all excessive pronouncement. Bing sang it, and so did Ruth Etting.