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

Posts tagged ‘Ella Fitzgerald’

Food, Family, and Frim Fram

“Frim Fram Sauce” was composed in 1945 by Joe Ricardel with lyrics by Redd Evans. It was made popular by the Nat King Cole Trio but dozens of artists have performed it over the years. I don’t know when Louis and Ella recorded the song exactly but I’m guessing it was around 1956.

ETA: Alert reader Wesley Stamper has pointed out that this version of the song was recorded in 1946 and released on Decca. 

I picked this song because we were supposed to be going into the city today to have dinner with my Mom. Unfortunately the weather was bad so we didn’t make the trip. Instead I’ve been forced to sit around all day playing video games and watching reruns on Netflix. Now you can truly grasp the tragedy of how much living I missed out on while I was working yesterday!

Ella and Louis Moonlight In Vermont

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded five beautiful albums together in the 1950s. “Moonlight In Vermont” is from their 1956 album “Ella and Louis.” The song was written in 1943 by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf. It was an unusual composition for the time because it doesn’t rhyme and a it’s ballad that’s not a love song. I, for one, love the imagery.

I posted this song today in honor of my awesome new phone! It’s not night time and I have never been anywhere near Vermont in my life so what, you may ask, does this 1943 song have to do with my very modern smart phone? My phone plays Pandora internet radio! When I downloaded the app and switched to my jazz station this was the first song I heard. I think that’s the moment I went from really really liking my phone to loving it! Like I said on Facebook, if I find an app that tells me I don’t look fat in things I might just have to marry this thing!

Ella Fitzgerald Boldly Goes Where A Few Have Gone Before

“You’re Laughing At Me” is from the 1937 movie “On The Avenue.” I know we’ve heard another song or two from this movie. I really need to check it out some day. “Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Irving Berlin Songbook” was released in 1958 and it was nominated for Best Album at the very first Grammy Awards. Ella won for Best Female Vocal Performance that year.

Isn’t technology great? With  internet dating  it’s nearly impossible to find the right combination of cruel emoticons to mock someone who shares tender feelings. In fact, what I mostly get when I express interest is silence. I don’t take it personally because there are lots of reasons people don’t respond. I usually choose to believe guys who don’t answer me would actually love to respond if only they weren’t being held captive by aliens. Whether those aliens are hideous slime creatures from the depths of the Bog World or triple breasted nymphets from Eroticon 6 is probably a moot point. If he can’t reach his communicator to respond to my hailing frequency then we can’t have a meaningful dialogue. And if we can’t have a conversation it’s impossible to “engage!”  Hmm… you don’t think all this nerd-speak could have anything to do with lack of success in matters of the heart do you? Nah! Nerd chicks are hawt!

An Evening With Chick Webb

Chick Webb saved up enough money selling newspapers to buy his first set of drums at age 11. By the time he was 18 he was leading a band that was a regular headliner at the Savoy Ballroom in New York. Chick contracted tuberculosis of the spine as a child which left him with severe scoliosis, a very short stature, and limited use of his neck and shoulders. His drum kit had to be specially modified because of his physical differences but his unique and exciting drum style transformed drumming in the swing  jazz era. Here’s Chick’s orchestra featuring a young Ella Fitzgerald performing one of their biggest hits, “Tain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It).”

I’ll be brief because I’m posting this late. It was Mommy’s night out tonight. I had a relaxing massage, a nice Thai food dinner, then a fantastic time at the Rifftrax Live show. I sure know how to show a girl a good time don’t I? If I was dating me I’d totally be getting lucky tonight!

Jerome Kern Songs

Jerome Kern’s career started in the early 1900’s and continued until his sudden death from brain hemorrhage in 1945. Here’s an interesting Kern fact: In 1915 he narrowly missed dying on the doomed ship Lusitania. He’d stayed up late the night before playing poker and he overslept and missed the boat. He still left us too soon but I’m happy we had the extra three decades of wonderful songs!

Here’s trumpeter Clifford Brown performing “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.” It’s an absolutely beautiful rendition.

This is from the musical “Roberta.” I watched the movie version a couple of nights ago and, even though it had Fred and Ginger as supporting characters, I was not a fan. Almost none of the songs had anything whatsoever to do with the plot. They just stopped everything for a lavish musical number. Thank heavens they did. I doubt I’d have made it through the whole thing otherwise. Thank you Jerome Kern via Fred and Ginger for making this one watchable!


Next up is Sinatra with “The Song Is You.”

This song was written for the musical “Music In The Air” but it’s most commonly associated Frank Sinatra. They didn’t make this musical into a movie so I haven’t seen it. Folks may want to mark this on the calendar as the one and probably only time I have absolutely nothing to say. It’s just a nice song.


Michael Buble’ “The Way You Look Tonight” because I haven’t put any of the “pretty kid” jazz singers up in a while.

I recently watched “Swing Time” too. Now that’s a musical! This one I will buy. Anyone familiar with the movie might be saying “But B, wasn’t it you who, just a month or so ago, got your knickers all in a twist over Bing in Black face? What about Fred’s ‘Bojangles Of Broadway’ Black face number? What are you some kind of giant hypocrite?” Well I have a sermon on the subject. I’m a liberal and a minority. It’s what we do. But I shan’t bore you with the details. Allow me to summarize: It’s different. Oh, and yes, I am a giant hypocrite.


Next in line is “Nobody Else But Me” from the musical “Show Boat.” Here’s Dave McKenna with a really nice piano version.

I have never seen “Show Boat.” Shame on me. But I’ve found it streaming so I will remedy that soon. I’d like to see this number in context. I like the “love me, love my flaws” theme of the tune. After all, aren’t we all truly just searching for that special someone who will love us even after we’ve eaten the large combo burrito with extra pintos?


Last is pianist Art Tatum with “Yesterdays.” Live footage of Art is apparently rare so I’m glad this is on You Tube. He’s dizzying and amazing.

This one was also in “Roberta.” Art Tatum’s version may have the power to dazzle but Irene Dunn made the number lethal. In the movie she sang it to her aging aunt and killed the poor woman instantly! I never trust sopranos. I bet that’s why they named that Mafia show after them.

A Couple of Torch Songs

“The Complete Jerome Kern Songbooks” is a three disc set with more tracks by some of my favorite artists. “Let’s Begin,” with lyrics by Otto Harbach, was written for the 1933 musical “Roberta.”

I haven’t seen the 1935 movie yet but I think I may have found it streaming online. I’ll probably watch tonight. I assume the romantic inertia described in the song will be overcome with a lavish song and dance number as usual. I don’t think tone deaf and clumsy people were allowed to mate back then. Thank heavens we have email, Facebook, and Twitter these days. Even people who are all thumbs can communicate with each other if they’re interested.

Dorothy Fields wrote the lyrics for “Remind Me.” It was used in the 1940 musical “One Night In The Tropics.” Here’s Marian Montgomery.

Since this is another number from a musical, I’m sure by the end, whoever sings the song has gotten over all those “You’re about the be the worst mistake I ever made” feelings and has tap danced happily off into the sunset. Unfortunately we here in the real world have to throw ourselves into the Cuisinart of love and hope we don’t get minced. I suppose the best anyone can do is try to land feet first. That way if the blades start spinning it might hurt but at least it won’t kill ya!

Louis, Ella, and What’s For Dinner?

“Blue Skies: The Irving Berlin Songbook.” I don’t own it but I should! It’s got some of my all time favorite artists performing beautiful Berlin compositions.  With Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Ethel Waters, and Dinah Washington on the same album I have no idea how I missed it.

The video cuts the song off rather abruptly but I think most of it is there. The footage was taken from someone’s hotel window overlooking Paris on a rainy day. I have no idea what the buildings are in the distance but they look terribly historical. I will get there and find out for myself someday!

NOTE: Time for the old Non Sequitur tag again. We were talking about dinner.

I have never been much of an evening meal planner. Dinner plans usually get made on the drive home from work. Half the time I’m still pondering when I get to the sitter to pick up the kiddo. I usually come up with a respectable meal plan by the time we hit the driveway but, occasionally, golden arches happen. They say people who plan two weeks, a month or a year in advance save money, calories, time and lots of worries and stress. When I read articles about this sort of thing I always think “I want to be thinner, richer, and more mellow (like a skinny late’ from Starbucks). I should really do that!” And I will do that, soon. Just don’t ask me what’s for dinner tomorrow.

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