Nine lyricists including Al Dubin (Lullaby of Broadway) and Mitchell Parish (Stardust) tried their hand at gilding Dvorak’s “Humoresque” back in the day. I hooked them together to create a “Humoresque-athon” – medley of mirth. Who do you think best captured the spirit of the old Czech master?
“Ethel Waters, the gleaming tower of regality who knows how to make a song stand on tip-toe.” Brooks Atkinson…
Ethels’ power to get a song up on its feet was never more evident than in her rendition of “Quicksand” written especially for her by the team of Al Dubin and James Monaco.
The minute music publisher Fritz Simrok heard Anton Dvorak’s “Humoresque N7 in 1894 he knew he had a hit on his hands. Simrock wasted no time in having the piece arranged for just about every musical instrument under the sun – thus securing its place on the programs of student recitals and concert halls from Budapest to Baltimore.
2014 marks the 105th birthday of Johnny Mercer. It seems like only yesterday that he turned 100. It was on that occasion in 2009 that his lyrics were remembered and celebrated on television, radio and in cabarets from coast to coast. I’ll venture to guess that the “Johnny Mercer Centennial Birthday Bash” hosted by stage mother extraordinaire, Mrs. Trauma Flintstone at Martuni’s in San Francisco was one of the most raucously joyful of them all.
Like an LP record, old sheet music represents a little four-cornered bygone world. Without hearing a note, one glance at the cover art transports us back to a time when music lovers had to actually get up and put the needle on the record; or before that when folks who wanted music at home had to produce it themselves.
“Fame, what is fame? It’s the net result when folks pronounce your name…”
So go the opening lyrics to the song, “Would You Like A Souvenir?” from the 1947 Warner Brothers pot boiler, NORA PRENTISS starring Ann Sheridan as Nora. The song was written by M.K. (Moe) Jerome, Jack Scholl and Eddie Cherkose.
The very first jazz tune I ever sang in my life was, “Everything Happens To Me” by Matt Dennis and Tom Adair…
On January 30, 2013 the Castro Theatre will screen two film noir gems: THE SNIPER, 1952 and EXPERIMENT IN TERROR 1962, both noted for their cinematic tribute to the streets of San Francisco – a city born to be shot in black and white.
A few nights ago, I performed “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” with the original lyrics and in a minor key. I was a part of An Altered Christmas – a funny and absurd holiday extravaganza produced every year by my friend, Rhan Wilson.
When I lived in New York City, I played guitar and sang background in a band called, The Shanks of the Evening. We did mostly originals penned by lead singer and keyboard player, Guy Sherman.