Wonderful Tunes Provided By Friends. Wild Tangents Provided By Me.

Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer worked together on the score for the 1942 Fred Astaire/Rita Hayworth film “You Were Never Lovelier.” The score included the songs “I’m Old Fashioned” and “Dearly Beloved” which have since become jazz standards. So I picked the number “Shorty George.” It’s a really nice dance number and a song you seldom hear.

The most famous Jerome Kern/Fields song is probably “The Way You Look Tonight.” I decided to go with Diana Krall singing “Pick Yourself Up.” It was written for the 1936 film “Swing Time.” I doubt it’ll embed but it is a lovely rendition and worth following the link!

I never knew PG Wodehouse was a lyricist! Apparently he, Jerome Kern, and another gentleman called Guy Bolton are considered by some to be the fathers of musical comedy. I chose “Bill” which Wodehouse and Kern wrote in 1917 for the musical “Oh, Lady! Lady!” but it was reused in the musical “Show Boat.” I think “Bill” is the most popular song by Wodehouse and Kern But here’s a version most people probably never hear. This is an undubbed clip of Eva Gardener singing the song. Her voice was dubbed by Annette Warren before the film was released.

There are lots of popular Kern/Hammerstein songs. “The Song Is You” and “All The Things You Are” are probably most popular.  “Old Man River” is also pretty popular but I bet it’s not what people think of first. Here’s the most famous and best version in my book by Paul Robeson.

I got cut off in the middle of writing this post because God was trying to make a river from scratch in the middle of my work day. The skies grew dark and the heavens opened up and unleashed a storm that drove us all from our cubicles and into the hallway for a 1950’s style “Duck and Cover” drill. Luckily it let up long enough so I could drive home but even as I type I hear another doozy kicking up out there. I do hope it doesn’t get too serious. I’d be terrible at ark building, the dog is fixed and I have absolutely NO desire to repopulate the earth!

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