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…
It seems that in order to slow down the foursome (and Toto too) on their way to Oz, the Wicked Witch puts some nasty little bugs in the trees. These bugs bite Dorothy & Co. which causes them to dance and dance to exhaustion. The scene didn’t survive the final edit, but the song from it somehow ended up in the hands of orchestra leader Vincent Lopez, who had the brilliance to give it to his little firecracker of a singer, Betty Hutton (“The vitamin pill with legs”) and make it swing. Hep Cat heaven.
I had no idea where the song had originated when I heard the Vincent Lopez recording. I thought it was a song about the DT’s. With it’s talk of “voodoo moans” and Bali Hai-like intervals I really wanted to sing this thing. So, I got some players together and took a wack at it-or scratched the itch.
The Jitterbug. By Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. Ken Muir -piano, John Clark- bass, Bob Blankenship-drums, Janet Roitz-vocal
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