Mark, over at Rise and Pray, was tagged with a random play list meme. Grab your iPod or your Windows/Mac player -- select all songs and hit shuffle -- what are the 1st 10 songs that come up -- no cheating! Even if it's silly stuff. -- My silly one was the 1st selection. (Okay, I list 11, but it's because I prefer odd numbers!)
Click the little musical note next to the song title to hear 30 second sample from Barnes and Noble. You don't have to add this feature, but it's fun. I've added notes too for overkill. :-D The first cut is a sample from the UK Amazon site - B&N didn't have it and the US site's interface is braindead. (You people in the UK spend the EARTH for CDs, BTW )
1. [I Love You] Elizabeth [Taylor] ♫ - Keith Cromwell - Whoop-Dee-Doo!
Well, what can I say about Whoop-Dee-Doo! -- it was the revue creation of the late Howard Crabtree - wickedly funny. A guilty pleasure. I didn't get to see it, but the pictures of the costumes I can find were something else. Had Liberace still been around, he'd have said "Wow. These are over the top!"
The lyrics are irresistible: [My mother would have laughed herself silly.] See the combox for lyrics.
2. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite - Beatles - Sgt. Pepper Album
Of all the Beatles songs I have loaded, I was delighted this one came (other than, oh, say "Why don't we do it in the Road" from the White Album.) I remember being enchanted with the sound effects of Mr. Kite as a youngster when the Album first came out. Years later, I was watching some documentary type program, and one of the recording engineers said that they wanted that caliope effect. The fellow found an old tape used from a Merry Go Round -- he randomly cut the tape and spliced it back together - voila. Magic. Pure Magic. I can also remember one of the Beatles saying that the inspiration for the show came almost verbatim from an old circus poster he had seen in a curio shop. The Beatles don't seem to have allowed for music samples of their CDs.
3. (I've Got) Beginner's Luck - Fred Astaire - Starring Fred Astaire
This song was written by George and Ira Gershwin for the film Shall We Dance. Fred sings it to -- who else? but Ginger, while he was wooing her aboard ship. George died later that same year when Damsel in Distress (another movie musical with George Burns and Gracie Allen -- and a horribly miscast young Joan Fontaine) was in production. This double CD is out of print, but well worth it if you can find it.
4. A Fine Romance ♫ - Ella Fitzgerald - American Songbook Series: Jerome Kern
Ella does a great job with this oft recorded "standard."
5. Battle Hymn of the Republic ♫ - Armed Forces Chorus; US Marine Chamber Orchestra - Mourning in America
This was beautifully sung at the Reagan funeral, which was held at the National Cathedral [Episcopal] in Washington. I've always had a love of this song, and it always pains me when the few times we get to sing it in church (usually at 4th of July and times like that,) the cantor junks it up by calling it "Mine eyes have seen the glory." I always want to scream "NOOOO!!!!! Stop being so damned PC!!!" But what can I do? I don't want to make a scene as I'm processing out. The CD also contains a very beautifully sung "Jerusalem" not the song most Americans are familiar with - but the English tune Jerusalem - but the words are not the Blake ones re: "dark Satanic Mills" but start out "Oh, love of God, how strong and true." Frankly, I wish this song were sung in Catholic churches - but I've yet to hear it in one. If your church does it - count yourself lucky. [And luckier still if you have a red-blooded cantor.] (No sound samples, but the link is to the Reagan Library which has exclusive CD/DVDs available. I really enjoy mine.
6. Everybody loves to take a bow ♫ - Benay Venuta - [OBC]‡ Hazel Flagg
I had heard of this musical from reading Carol Burnett's autobiography, One More Time, about her youth and early career. She'd cut short her time at UCLA to try and break onto the boards on Broadway - her and 3 zillion other kids bitten by the bug. You couldn't get an agent, until you'd done a show, and you couldn't get a show unless you had an agent. She and her friends LITERALLY "put on a show" just like Mickey and Judy - and one of the songs she sang that got her noticed was the comic Laura de Maupassant from this musical. This woman has never forgotten her working class roots, and the book is a great read. I was delighted when I got ahold of the CD, because I hadn't heard any of the numbers before - I got a real charge out of "Everybody loves to take a bow." I used a bit of it when I put together a little Windows "Moviemaker" film for the first time back in spring. Teresa (our church's former 5:15 server) and her friends had done some Shakespeare in the Park last year, and she was delighted when I used a snipped of this song for the "credits."
7. Everything's Coming up Roses ♫ - Ethel Merman - [OBC] Gypsy
Nobody sings this song like Ethel. She OWNS it. Oddly enough the "Curtain up! Light the Lights! You've got nothing to hit but the heights!" bit from this song I first heard when I was five or so -- as one of the tags for the Bugs Bunny Cartoon show. Gypsy is my all time favorite musical. Perfect Book by Arthur Laurents. Perfect Score by Jule Styne. Perfect lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. What on earth is there not to like?
8. Opening Doors ♫ - cast - [OBC] Merrily We Roll Along
I love this Sondheim creation. Apparently never worked well on stage (dudes, your cast was too young for the audience to "get it") -- this Musical works its way backward in time and so does the music. The score is like peeling an onion.
9. If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake ♫ - Ethel Merman (w/Ray Bolger) - There's no business like Show Business: The collection
Ah, Miss Merman favored twice. I'd first heard of this song quite some years back when I read, Richard Nixon's autobiography RN. He mentioned that it was a popular song of the day when he was first campaigning against Helen Gahagan for his first term in the US Senate. I thought the title intriguing, and was never able to find a recording of it. Once some years back I asked the Sainted Father S. if he knew the song. He DID and was able to sing a little bit of it for me that he remembered, he was a very young man when it came out, he was still in seminary. Early this year I finally scored it when I noticed this CD had come out. Father was delighted when I played it for him - and it's quite a fun song.
10. It's a Most Unusual Day ♫ - Michael Feinstein - The M.G.M. Album
Mikey can sing the phone book and I'd buy a copy. If I get around to putting together a playlist of "feel good" songs, this one's going to be on it. I've never been disappointed in any of Mikey's recordings. Once by pure serendipity I happened to be over at the local Borders Bookstore in Mission Valley - and I saw a sign out -- who should be appearing THERE that very day - not an hour later -- at that very store -- but Mikey. He had a new CD come out, and he played about six requested songs on a grand piano right there. Wow. I always HEAR about stuff like this happening after the fact. My theatre partner in crime, Christine, from Michigan and I always joke about this. I'm in love with Mikey's work and Chrstine is in love with Mandy Patinkin's work. We each think the other is crazy. Sorta.
11. Put on Your Sunday Clothes ♫ - Carol Channing, et al - [OBC] Hello Dolly
I can't listen to this song and NOT feel good. From an era when musicals were musicals and not about falling chandeliers, helicopters, or people having to spend 5 hours in a makeup chair trying to look like a freakin' cat. The inimitable Carol Channing and cast. FORGET THE MOVIE. IT'S C*R*A*P. I want to burn every copy of it. If I am ever Empress I will see to it that every copy gets thrown straight into the next California Wildfire or cast from the surface of the earth like the palm tree in Mister Roberts. If your local high school or college is playing it, take a look. And if you're lucky you can find professional productions too. I was delighted to finally see it on stage, rather than the crummy movie.
For a treat, here's a youtube video of Put on Your Sunday Clothes. A Catholic High School, St. Francis de Sales in Toledo, Ohio had done it in '98. The kids hit a few clunker notes here and there, but they're all heart and have the right spirit -- well worth a look, the choreography is pretty good for high school too, the costumes and sets are nice and God bless the big cast and especially all the boys -- whomever the drama teacher is there - they've got a swell program - or did when the put on that show. It's a little longish, at just under 6 minutes, so if you have dialup - use http://keepvid.com to download, and use with a flash player.
If you play, drop me a note in the combox I'd love to see your picks.
‡ OBC stands for "Original Broadway Cast." A stage show's recording is a CAST recording, and not a "soundtrack." [Listen up you illiterates out there!] It may seem persnickety to the uninitiated, but if you order the "Soundtrack" to Chicago, West Side Story, Sound of Music and a whole host of other musicals you'll end up with something that may be quite different than the "Cast Recording."