Like Someone in Love

15 06 2012

Like Someone in Love—J. Van Heusen/J. Burke, 1944 (Recorded June 15, 2012) I’ve been on a Jimmy Van Heusen kick lately. Edward Chester Babcock has long been in the Top Five of my favorite songwriters, along with Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, and Cole Porter. (E. C. Babcock was Van Heusen’s birth name—he changed it at the insistence of a radio program manager who thought “Babcock” sounded, well, too “cocky.” As the story goes, Babcock looked out the window and, seeing a Van Heusen shirt truck driving by, changed his name on the spot.)

Back in the early 1990s, when I first heard the album, Rosemary Clooney Sings the Music of Jimmy Van Heusen, I was hooked. An inventive songster, Van Heusen is most closely associated in his early career with Bing Crosby and later on with Sinatra. I was prompted to record these numbers because I’ve been reading the engrossing book, “The House that George Built” by Wilfrid Sheed, and I’ve just finished the chapter about Van Heusen. What a character, that Jimmy! Read Sheed’s book if you have any interest in these song standards. It’s excellent.

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But Beautiful

15 06 2012

But Beautiful—J. Van Heusen/J. Burke, 1947 (Recorded June 15, 2012) This song was written for the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope/Dorothy Lamour flick, Road to Rio. Bing sings it to Dorothy, natch.

I learned this tune years ago and have not played it in quite a while until I decided to make this recording. It took a bit of practice, but it’s sort of like riding a bicycle: I jumped right back on, fell off and skinned my knees a couple of times, but soon I was riding around the block.





My Heart Is a Hobo

15 06 2012

My Heart Is a Hobo—J. Van Heusen/J. Burke, 1947 (Recorded June 15, 2012) Here’s another tune from a Crosby movie, this time, Welcome Stranger. Bing sings it with a fishing pole in his hands while sitting next to Barry Fitzgerald. The masculine lyric changes the line from “Hates the stay-home gal that I am” to “Hates the stodgy guy that I am,” but I altered it to “Hates the stay-home guy that I am.” Small difference. I like to stay home, so it fits that way. ;°)





Still the Bluebird Sings

2 03 2012

Still the Bluebird Sings—J. Monaco/J. Burke, 1939 (Recorded March 2, 2012) An acquaintance of mine died yesterday. I didn’t know John T. well at all, but a number of people I care about were close to him, and to them and John’s family, I dedicate this song.





My Very Good Friend the Milkman

3 02 2012

My Very Good Friend the Milkman—H. Spina/J. Burke, 1934 (Recorded February 3, 2012) Here’s an old tune I grabbed from a Fats Waller recording. My very good friend and amazing pianist Larry Fridkis and I have worked out a piano-uke-vocal version of this that is very hot, and one day I’ll have to see about getting a proper recorded cut of us playing it together. Another very good friend of mine, Roger Greenawalt, told me that now Paul McCartney has done this tune. Whilst looking for Paul’s version, I came across a YouTube video of Eric Clapton playing it! Geez, who’s next? Rod &*%€§@¶ Stewart? As I told Roger, those guys are behind the times…I’ve been uking this tune for twenty years. ;°)





It Could Happen to You

11 08 2011

It Could Happen to You—J. Van Heusen/J. Burke, 1944 (Recorded August 11, 2011) Here’s a song that came to us via Dorothy Lamour and Fred MacMurray in the Paramount musical, And the Angels Sing. The tune became a Big Band hit through the ’40s. I learned it from Rosemary Clooney’s version on her excellent 1986 album, Rosemary Clooney Sings the Music of Jimmy Van Heusen. On this cut I sing and play the old Epiphone banjo uke, and I take a turn whistling through the instrumental part.

This is my first new recording in quite a while. I feel a bit rusty with the process, but I hope this old Hollywood ballad is appealing enough for your enjoyment. Thanks for listening.