Recordings by Janet
“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.
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.
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.
A friend of mine who has played with Cleo Laine, was kind enough to ask her for me what she remembered about singing, “Love Is A Bore (“Che Noia L’Amour’) in the film, “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.” The answer was…not much.
Any hardcore Wizard of Oz fan worth his weight in yellow bricks knows about the “bug scene” that ended up on the cutting room floor…