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

Nelson Riddle has been called one of the best arrangers in the history of popular music. He began arranging for Nat King Cole 1950 and he’s responsible for some of Nat’s biggest hits including “Mona Lisa” and “Too Young.” This clip comes from Nat King Cole’s variety show which ran from 1956-1957. Nelson Riddle was the show’s orchestra leader. The song is “Diga Diga Doo” which is from the 1928 music review “Blackbirds.”

Two completely unrelated thoughts:

First thought: I was shocked to learn that musical copyist still exists as a profession. I went looking for it fully expecting the find they’d been replaced by the printer and/or photo copier but apparently the task requires very specialized musical knowledge. So the tools have changed (computers nowadays instead of calligraphy pens) but the job is still intact.

Second thought: The first time I heard this song was in a 1977 made for TV movie called “Circle Of Children.” The movie was about a school for “emotionally disturbed” kids and it was pretty unremarkable.  I hadn’t thought about in years; but hearing this song got me thinking about it and my thoughts led to a very interesting commute time conversation with myself about the changes in special education since that movie was made. When I say I had a conversation, I don’t mean I had one of those silent inner monologues with small secret smiles and far off wistful gazes. I mean I had a crazy, disjointed, tin foil hat wearing, bag lady style verbal soliloquy in my car, all alone. It’s days like this that make me thankful for the invention of blue tooth. That magical little ear piece that makes everyone think people are talking to themselves has really leveled the playing field for those of us who actually are talking to ourselves!


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