Tagged: Al Bowlly Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 9:13 am on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Al Bowlly, , , , , One Morning In May, Pied Pipers, ,   

    MAY DAYS 

    What do you say — may I interest you in the music of May? You see, I haven’t posted for a spell, but I don’t think I want to disturb a single brain cell — though I fear somewhere in my sphere the strain’s already rung a bell, as near I can tell. So, before I go too far, let’s get to the tunes, most of which may be before your time….but at least you won’t have to suffer (much) more of my rhyme.

    I’ll start with two versions of my favorite May song, the first sung by the great Mel Tormรฉ:

    This second (and earlier) version is by British crooner Al Bowlly, who was tragically killed in a German air raid on London during WW II:

    Now, let’s see — where are we? Oh, yes — we’re….

    Let us say ‘fini’ appropriately:

     
    • Ashley 11:05 am on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Another cracking post. Mel Torme…sooo smooth! Ever heard of Matt Munroe? He had a voice like that. Al Bowlly….. my Granny loved him! And Michael Buble….brilliant! I’ve never heard of the Pied Pipers but for some reason, the picture reminded me of Ben Lyons & Bebe Daniels….!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:44 am on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Ashley. Yes, I’ve heard of — and heard — Matt Munroe. I don’t own any of his albums, but I do own a ton of Al Bowlly and Mel Tormรฉ albums, as well as two of the Pied Pipers (they were voted top vocal group of the mid-to-late 1940s in the annual Downbeat and Metronome magazines polls, surpassing even the very popular Mills Brothers and Ink Spots).

        Liked by 3 people

        • Ashley 10:56 am on May 24, 2020 Permalink

          You may not have registered my comment about Ben & Bebe Lyons. It was a radio show here in the UK.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 12:58 pm on May 24, 2020 Permalink

          Thanks for the clarification, Ashley. Yes, I heard of old-time American movie stars Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels (his wife), but I couldn’t relate them with the Pied Pipers picture, so I let it pass. I also didn’t know they had a radio show “here in the UK” — which tells me why your Granny loved Brit Al Bowlly!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 1:18 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I think my favourite was the Pied Piper piece. . it would have been a great dance tune! (Nice to see the inclusion of a Canuck!)

      Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 4:14 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      How do you get a handle like “The Velvet Fog” anyway? Sounds like a name for a whiskey, not a singer.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:24 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        A disc jockey gave him that nickname in honor of his smooth vocal style (the disc jockey may have been under the influence of whiskey at the time, but in any case, the name stuck).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 5:23 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      May I just say… well done.
      ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:34 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You May indeed, Rg….and just to show my appreciation, I’m going to resist the temptation you say you’re well done yourself. Not that you’re not well done, but….maybe I’d better quit while I’m ahead (or am I?). ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rivergirl 6:47 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink

          At this point in my life? Iโ€™d say Iโ€™m approaching medium well.
          ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Liked by 2 people

        • mistermuse 8:21 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink

          The best I can say for myself is that I’m well preserved (and that may be stretching it).

          Like

        • Carmen 9:03 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink

          Well preserved or well pickled? ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Liked by 2 people

    • obbverse 5:33 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      The change of the seasons has been an inspiration since forever. I too, never heard of the Pied Pipers. Strange how some very popular acts of the day just don’t have ‘legs.’

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:47 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        It is said that Fame is fickle, but it’s probably more accurate to say that Fame is selectively fickle. Most entertainers of lasting fame probably deserve it, but IMHO, many others deserve it but don’t have it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 7:40 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      enjoyed the pied pipers, and like their name! But michael wins hands down, what a voice!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:13 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. Mel is the man!

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 8:54 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink

          na crooners leave me cold Michael .. wow!

          Liked by 2 people

        • mistermuse 11:15 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink

          Kate, I don’t know where you got the idea that Mel is a crooner. He is first and foremost a jazz-influenced singer (even when he sings ballads). And when he sings straight jazz – well, judge for yourself:

          Liked by 2 people

    • Don Ostertag 11:49 pm on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Those who are unfamiliar with Mel Torme, the great one, probably never watched Night Court on TV either. And the Pied Pipers, great on their own or backing up Frank Sinatra in his Dorsey Years. And out of that group came Jo Stafford, one of the best ‘girl singers’ ever.
      Al Bowelly, so sad.
      And then you even got my second favorite stunt man, Yakima.
      Nice mixture.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:40 am on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. I couldn’t agree more about Jo Stafford. And if there has ever been a better and more unforgettable name in movie history than Yakima Canutt, I don’t remember it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 8:29 am on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I tried to play Torme and Bowlly at the same time but they did NOT synchronize…

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:13 am on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        There aren’t too many jazz-influenced singers (like Tormรฉ) and crooners (like Bowlly) I can think of who “synchronize” — unless they’re combined in one man, like the YOUNG (late 1920s-early 1930s) Bing Crosby. However, if it’s synchronization you want, try playing two orchestras’ versions of the same song at the same time, like the sophisticated Spike Jones

        and jazz man Duke Ellington

        Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 10:26 am on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Your guided May tour was very pleasing, of courseโ€”

      But not quite as much as Melโ€™s Ella scat de force!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Silver Screenings 2:45 pm on May 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love the (new to me) Pied Piper version! Thanks for sharing it.

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Al Bowlly, Au Revoir, , , , , , , , , Rodgers and Hart,   

    THEY CALLED HIM AL 

    When I was writing about lyricist DOROTHY FIELDS and composer BERNICE PETKERE in my previous post (TWO TO GO), I had no thought of using it as a segue toย this post ….but that was before I discovered that tomorrow is the birthday of a music man who sang at least a half dozen of Fields’ 1930s songs, including ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET (sung in the previous post by Diana Krall), not to mention the Petkere song CLOSE YOUR EYES (sung in the same post by that very man). They called him Al.

    The ‘another-world-ago’ Al is this world’s forgotten man, except by a relative handful of Golden Age music devotees around the world (primarily in America and Great Britain). His name was ALBERT ALICK BOWLLY (Jan 7, 1899-Apr. 17, 1941), heard here in a recording of a Dorothy Fields/Jerome Kern song from the film JOY OF LIVING:

    Did you notice from the above dates that Bowlly had his life taken from him at a relatively young age? This was the tragic result of a WW II German air raid (one of many) on London in the early 1940s. But while he lived, who was this troubadour they called Al?

    Away from the bandstand he was a vagabond. He was a jazz mad musical nomad who traveled from his childhood home, South Africa, to London and all stops between in search of musical perfection with whatever band would have him. He plied his trade as a guitarist, a banjo, concertina and ukulele player, a pianist and occasional singer of songs. He took America by storm. The story of his musical meanderings, highs and lows, could only have happened in the thirties. –Roy Hudd, British author, comedian, actor, and expert on the history of music hall entertainment

    Listening to Diana Krall in the previous post — as well as CLOSE YOUR EYES vocalist Al Bowlly — we are taken by their way with a song, their Joy of Living the songs they sang…. as further evidenced by this rendition of the Rodgers and Hart classic, BLUE MOON:

    Here is one of his few appearances on film:

    For those interested in learning more of the story of Bowlly’s nomadic life, there’s an excellent bio called THEY CALLED HIM AL, by Ray Pallett, with Forward by Roy Hudd. As for this go-around, we’ve come to the last dance — it’s time to call it a day. I bid you a reluctant Au Revoir.

     

     

     
    • Don Ostertag 1:11 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      He was so good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:44 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Some thought of him as the British Bing Crosby. I think he had a better feel for a song than Bing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:30 pm on January 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Early in his career (up to about the mid 1930s), Bing sang with a jazz feel and what you might call soul, but after that, he was a different and very ordinary singer, in my opinion. If you listen to his early 1930s recordings and then his 1940s (and later) recordings, you wouldn’t think it’s the same singer. Bowlly’s style didn’t change, and he was the better for it.

        Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 2:46 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      good looking and talented, beats Bing hands down, no competition!

      Blue moon bought back some good memories … like these little meanders with you thanks MrM ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      • mistermuse 7:40 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        In my opinion, no one has ever sung BLUE MOON better than Al Bowlly. I never tire of listening to it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • calmkate 5:35 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          oh I’ve heard a very heart wrenching version by four drunks in Broken Hill … that was very surreal ๐Ÿ™‚

          Like

        • mistermuse 7:01 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          Well, that answers the riddle of how many drunks does it take to make a quartet, but not how many quarts does it take to make the four drunk. In Broken Hill, they probably drink their liquor by the gallon.

          Like

    • scifihammy 7:25 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Lovely light voice. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love how they could actually Sing in those days!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Like

      • mistermuse 8:07 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Not only that, scifi, but for the most part, they had better songs to sing. In general, the music world of Fields, Kern, Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and Hart, etc., has been largely replaced by a world of juvenile noise calling itself music — a culture without culture. A world that doesn’t know any better.

        Liked by 4 people

    • masercot 7:51 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a shame. He had a nice voice…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:12 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        A shame indeed. Makes one wonder whether, if he hadn’t been killed by one of Hitler’s bombs, his popularity would have continued after the war years (like Bing Crosby’s did) into the 1950s.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Wistful Nostalgic 1:05 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink

          Oh he sure would have! Think of the era of the singers in the 1940s. Al’s voice was perfect for all the standards that came after the 1930s.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 9:06 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love those scratchy old recordings… never heard of Al though. Thanks for the introduction.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:34 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe you can prevail upon husband to find and bring home to you some scratchy old records and an antique phonograph to play them on when he goes on his “treasure hunts,” Rg. It strikes me that he “owes you one” after all the old contraptions and doohickeys he buys for himself!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Rivergirl 1:09 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          As much as I appreciate the thought?
          No…
          No more old stuff!

          Like

        • mistermuse 3:11 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          Like

          I hope you will make an exception for me, Rg, because even though I’m old stuff, what would you do without my puns to blighten — I mean BRIGHTEN — your day?

          Like

    • Ashley 12:23 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Goodness! Al Bowlly! How could anyone forget that wonderful voice. I wasn’t born until 1950 so it must have been in the b&w movies they showed on Sunday afternoons on the television that I heard him sing! The tunes and the voices have never left me! Thanks Mr. M. Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:42 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Ashley. I’m beginning to believe that more people remember Al Bowlly than I thought. Maybe it’s like the song says: AU REVOIR, BUT NOT GOODBYE.

        Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 7:54 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I never heard of Al Bowlly so it was very enjoyable to read your post and listen to the music. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 5:27 pm on January 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      He was new to me, but I loved the film singing of “The Very Thought of You.” I imagine my grandfather, lover of all songs on records, probably listened to him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eliza 12:01 pm on January 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Happy new year! I hope this year brings good things your way…
      Love, light and glitter

      Like

    • mistermuse 10:49 pm on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Eliza, if you’ll Google “al bowlly looking on the bright side youtube”, there are several clips of the recording to choose from. That should take care of it, but if not, let me know. Thanks.

      Like

    • barkinginthedark 12:39 am on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      so wonderful MM…a joy. thanks. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:52 pm on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’d never hear of Al Bowlly before, but thanks to you I’m an instant fan! Loved the footage of him – he has a surprising amount of charisma on film.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:51 pm on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I appreciate your comment, SS, which leads me to believe that more Al Bowlly would be good for you — so here he is with the Ray Noble Orchestra, singing IT’S BAD FOR ME:

        Liked by 2 people

        • Silver Screenings 11:38 pm on January 19, 2020 Permalink

          Thank you for this. I’ve spent the past 40+ minutes listening to Al Bowlley, especially his rendition of “Heart & Soul”, which I listened to 3-4 times in a row. A wonderful way to end the weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

        • Wistful Nostalgic 1:07 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink

          I love this song!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Wistful Nostalgic 1:14 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink

          There can never be too much Al! ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s a great way to start the day, and to end the day.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Wistful Nostalgic 1:06 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Oh he sure did! His magnetic charisma and charming personality just shines on the Pathe clip.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Wistful Nostalgic 1:13 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love your post on Al. He is my favourite singer of all time. He was THE voice of the 20th century. I’m 52 , so he was from my Grandad’s era, but it feels my “true” era. Al was unique; nobody sounds like him; he’s got a voice of liquid gold. I especially love “Oh Mister Moon”, “Red Sails In The Sunset”, “Maybe It’s Because”, “My Woman”, and “You’re My Thrill”. But there are many more I love too. I listen to his music every day!

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:23 am on July 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. I have dozens of his albums, including those of bands (such as Ray Noble and Lew Stone) on which Al is the vocalist. Have you ever heard of Joey Nash? Some say he was the American Al Bowlly. Here he is in 1934 as a vocalist with Richard Himber’s Orchestra:

      P.S. Do you have a WordPress blog? As far as I can find, you’re only on Instagram, but I’m only on WordPress.

      Like

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