Z END (AT LAST)

With Z 26th letter of Z alphabet/26th post of this series, we come equally to Z end of both. This calls for Z celebration….so “Come wiz me to ze Casbah” and we make sweet music together. Z girl songs, zey may be few, but zat does not mean we need end on Z sour note.

Ah, ze Casbah in old ALGIERS — where French-turned-American actor Charles Boyer famously put the above Come to ze Casbah come-on on the beautiful Hedy Lamarr….or did he? To answer zat question, you must comme see for yourself:

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/121579%7C0/Algiers.html

Comme saw?

But I digress from the music, for which we turn first to beautiful American-turned-French (due to racism in America) entertainer, Josephine Baker:

We turn next to one of England’s finest (and one of my favorite) composers, Noel Coward, whose urbane, wistful lyrics graced such great songs as A ROOM WITH A VIEW and….

And now we come to the song I referred to (in reply to a comment to my previous post) as, strictly speaking, not qualified for this post….the reason being that it starts with T. However, the T is silent; for all intents and purposes, and in a pronounced way, it’s a Z song….and a rousing, joyous one it is, for “Dawn will find us laughing in the sunlight, dancing, dancing with my Tzena”:

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This is my last post until after the holidays, as this series has been music to my ears at the expense of other demands and endeavors (once I got on a roll, I got caught up in posting every third day despite not intending such frequency). Now, before catching up becomes the impossible dream, it behooves me to hustle while I work at getting around to tackling those other endeavors….such as catching some more Zs.

If I’m too sound asleep to be alarmed by all this by the end of the year, wake me when it’s over.

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Y ME, LORD

Friends, if you Xpected an X post after my W post, U haven’t been paying attention, because as I’ve previously Xplained, X is out. Even X post facto, there is no X factor here. Y? There are no old songs with girls named X in the title, that’s Y. That’s Y U C Y here.

Now that we got that straightened out, a word to the Ys: even if I were a Ys man (or a Ys guy, for that matter), I am not Ys enough to know more than one or two Y girl songs. So let’s start with that, and then, if necessary, I’ll pray for God’s help to find another Y song.

Sorry I asked, Lord. I could have done without that last one.

“W” MAY TROUBLE YA (it certainly troubles me)

I’ve seen A Fish Named Wanda, but I’ve never heard a song named Wanda. I thought of using the Fish Named Wanda movie theme music in this post, but it’s hardly a song, and in any case, too recent (1988) to qualify as an oldie by my picky standards for this series. This illustrates my problem: although there are a number of girls names starting with W, few of them made their way into old song titles. Luckily (?) for you, however, I have managed to dredge up three, the first of which is so old (1906), even I don’t remember it.

ARRAH WANNA tells of an Irish lad named Barney Carney proposing marriage to an Indian maiden named Wanna, after which they “can love and bill and coo in a wigwam built of shamrocks green.” Arrah is an old Irish term; its meaning isn’t well defined, but seems well intended, given the setup as Barney sets a record for blarney because he don’t wanna Lack-a-Wanna. Needing a W song, I decided ‘owl’ play along — it may be a hoot:

Next is a song I do remember, though it’s not the most memorable song in the world (well, maybe it is in Copenhagen):

We close with an oldie so young, I suspect many of you remember it (first recorded in 1964 by the life-is-a-Beach Boys):

TO V OR NOT TO V….

To V or not to V….  Verily, I wouldst
say, That is the question; methinks I shouldst
look for those old V gals wherever I couldst.

From what I’ve heard, there were at least three….
including one who’s as inViolate as she can be.
Now I remember “My Song” — will she hear me?

This time of year, many newspapers reprint an editorial which appeared in the New York Sun on Sept. 21, 1897 — an editorial which famously responded “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” to a letter written to the paper by eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon. Today I would further respond to Virginia that not only is there a Santa Claus, but Santa assures me that, just as in those indelible childhood days, he is coming back to wherever is home on the night before Christmas — and this time he hopes to stay, if only in spirit:

As for #3: They say it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Far be it from me to say any such things.

None-the-less, and in any case, it’s over.

U CAN’T BLAME ME FOR MESSING WITH U

I need to take liberties with U girl, because U girl songs are scarcer than u might think. There is a song titled URSALA (from the Latin ursa, meaning bear)….but it’s not an oldie, so I’m going to pass on Ursala. Bear with me as I try to make it through the pass before my puns become unbearable.

Our first song, UTAH WE LOVE THEE, is a reach, but a few girls have been named Utah in Utah, so I’m of a state of mind to go with it. Georgia On My Mind, eat your heart out.

Next is an even bigger reach, as I’m going with a Lady called Ukulele:

Isn’t Ukulele Lady lovely? Who’d ever guess that gal is 92 years old (‘born’ 1925) and can still do wicky wacky woo…not to mention inka dinka doo? It’s all good in the moonlight.

This brings us to the biggest reach of all — but the season is right and the singer is a U, even if the song isn’t:

IT’S T TIME

It’s T time — time once again to take to the links and “T” off. Our first link, as I post this in the wee small hours of the morning, is a tune that goes through a roll call of maids-in-waiting. As you will hear, Frank’LL TAKE TALLULAH. (It dawns on me that come the Don, Frankel take her too, or I miss my bet*):

*referring to our friend Don Frankel, fellow unofficial member of the Frank Sinatra fan club

Four years after the above 1944 recording, another T came into Sinatra’s life:

As you may know, Tina is the name of Sinatra’s ‘other’ daughter (Nancy being the older and more celebrated of the two). So how did Tina really feel about her famous father?

We started with a WW II era song from a movie, and we’ll close with another: Johnny Mercer’s TANGERINE, from THE FLEET’S IN (1942). The orchestra this time is Jimmy Dorsey’s (brother of Tommy, who took Tallulah aboard Ship Ahoy in the first clip):

If the last clip, in particular, shows its age and looks/sounds quaint to us today, remember this is what your parents or grandparents listened and danced to in their day ….and you would have done the same in their place. Truth be told, aren’t most of us captives of the culture we’re in? I may be spitting into the wind, but it strikes me that we’re stuck in shallow water if we think there is only ‘now.’ Why so many have so little interest in where we came from is beyond me. It might tell us how we got here. It might even help tell us where to go (not that I would ever do such a thing).

 

THIS IS THE S’s (PART II)

Believe it or not, I have standards — which I have made the standard for S (Part II). One of the all-time great standards of America’s Golden Age of popular music is STELLA BY STARLIGHT, composed by Victor Young for the 1944 film THE UNINVITED.  I invite you to be my guest for this good-as-it-gets rendition by the man known as “Mr. B”….

By most standards, the obscure tune which follows isn’t considered a standard….but when it’s by Cole Porter, almost any song (in my considered opinion) qualifies:

Our next S song has had more lives than a cat named Susie. It was first recorded by Eddie Cantor on 4/6/1925 and became a bestseller. It was subsequently sung by an actor who played Cantor in THE GREAT ZIEGFELD (1936), by two guys named Gene & Frank in ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945), and again by Cantor in the films IF YOU KNEW SUSIE (1948) and THE EDDIE CANTOR STORY (1953)….not to mention other vintage recordings and performances. The clip below is from (guess which) one of the above:

We close with a song which may be too highbrow for some of you, but a little taste of class is surely worth the risk of a black eye to your reputation (such as it is — ha ha):