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!

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….


4 05 2011

Jet (Jet, My Love)—H. Revel/B. Benjamin/G.D. Weiss, 1950 (Recorded May 4, 2011) Not the Paul McCartney song. Harry Revel wrote this, and he should be remembered for many great songs such as “There’s a Lull in My Life” and “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?” I don’t know much else about the tune. I picked it up from Nat King Cole, but I understand Arthur Prysock cut a vocal version, and some jazz people got hold of it, like Mingus and Ahmad Jamal, all of which I have yet to hear and shall have to seek out. Cool tune, though. Reminds me of a spy movie theme.

The Ruby and the Pearl

7 04 2011

The Ruby and the Pearl—J. Livingston/R. Evans, 1952 (Re-recorded April 7, 2011) Jay Livingston and Ray Evans wrote a bunch of classic mid-Century pop such as “Que Sera, Sera,” “To Each His Own,” and “Thanks To You,” as well as Hollywood movie and TV themes and songs. “The Ruby and the Pearl” debuted in the movie Thunder in the East, which starred Alan Ladd, Deborah Kerr, and Charles Boyer. I picked up this tune from the Nat Cole recording. I wanted to add some theremin to the instrumental break but I just couldn’t get it to sound tuneful, so I used my theremin-like falsetto instead. ;°) [In reality I recorded a falsetto track and then muted it and recorded another falsetto without listening to the first as a reference. This created a harmonic and timing dissonance that appealed to me at the time.]

UPDATE: I agonized over my last version of this song, so I’m glad I had the time today to re-record and post it anew. Is this one any better than the previous one? Who knows? Who cares? I fuss and worry over all the songs I record. They are like children to me. (No, wait—I simply delete the bad songs. I’d never do that with children!) Seriously, this version of “The Ruby and the Pearl” might be better than the other. It’s a naturally melodramatic song and now I emphasized its over-the-top nature. I like melodrama. I remember as a young’un looking through the TV Guide to see what movies were coming up. The Guide used to categorize movies with genre labels: Western, Drama, Comedy, and so on. My favorites were always the ones labeled Melodrama.

Oh, and to add to the minor-key madness of this song, this time I recorded its melodramatic verse. ;°)

Thousands upon thousands of popular songs were written in the early- to mid-20th Century, and one of the challenges I face in doing this project is simply to pick among the available multitude. One of my good friends, Robert Hultman (a fine uker and tuba player) wrote me recently and asked what I planned to do once I reached 100 songs…maybe go for a thousand? Well, I’ll probably not get around to thousand, but I do enjoy doing this and I’m sure I’ll find it difficult to ever come to a stop! Thanks for tuning in.