My Ship

2 06 2012

My Ship—K. Weill/I. Gershwin, 1941 (Recorded June 2, 2012) This bittersweet ballad comes from the Weill/Gershwin Broadway musical, Lady in the Dark, and introduced by Gertrude Lawrence in character as Liza Elliott. I first fell in love with the tune by way of Johnny Hartman’s recording from his 1964 album, The Voice That Is!

Here’s a provocative quote by Ira Gershwin about the song. When the Hollywood movie of Lady in the Dark was made in 1944, “My Ship” didn’t make the final cut. Gershwin was bemused by this decision. From Wikipedia:

“Later, when Lady in the Dark was filmed, the script necessarily had many references to the song. But for some unfathomable reason the song itself—as essential to this musical drama as a stolen necklace or a missing will to a melodrama—was omitted. Although the film was successful financially, audiences evidently were puzzled or felt thwarted or something, because items began to appear in movie-news columns mentioning that the song frequently referred to in Lady in the Dark was ‘My Ship.’ I hold a brief for Hollywood, having been more or less a movie-goer since I was nine; but there are times….”

Hollywood. There are times, indeed.

A note about this recording: This is another of my early-morning, before-the-first-cuppa-joe efforts, where my voice is still, um, textured. I used the 1920s Lyon & Healy soprano ukulele and sang it straight through, with a touch of added reverb.

Oh, one more thing—also snatched from Wikipedia…I had to post this picture of Kurt Weill. It’s charming. ;°)

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September Song

2 10 2011

September Song—K. Weill/M. Anderson, 1938 (Recorded late September-early October, 2011) Why am I posting a song about September in the month of October? I must be mad!

Seriously, though, this is the number written specifically by Weill and Anderson for the great Walter Huston to sing in 1938 the play Knickerbocker Holiday. The song became a popular hit in subsequent decades, enjoying a number of interpretations by artists as varied as Ezio Pinza, Maurice Chevalier, Matt Monro, Eydie Gormé, Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan, Patti Page, and Billy Eckstine, among others.

My interpretation was prompted by the Ukulele Cosmos monthly Invitational challenge, whose September theme was (what else?) “September Song.” I was hemming and hawing about doing this tune until my good friend, Arturo “Arch” Larizza offered to lay down cello accompaniment against my uke and vocal tracks. After about a week of back and forth, re-recording sections, and sorting out mixing challenges, we came up with this very interesting version. Arch’s cello is hauntingly beautiful, and the whole thing is quite dramatic and moving, in keeping with the introspection of the tune’s original reading.