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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Au Revoir, Blue Moon, , , , , , , , 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 to 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 🙂

      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 🙂

          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. 🙂 I love how they could actually Sing in those days!! 😀

      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. 🙂

      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. 🙂

          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! 😉 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

  • mistermuse 3:59 pm on June 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blue Moon, , June Is Bustin' Out All Over, , , Oklahoma, , , South Pacific, The Lady Is A Tramp, The Sound of Music   

    WASN’T IT GREAT? 

    I don’t believe that a writer does something wonderful spontaneously. I believe it’s the result of years of living, of study, reading, his very personality and temperament. At one particular moment all these things come together and the artist ‘expresses’ himself. –Richard Rodgers

    • * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Of all the songs Richard Rodgers wrote, first with Lorenz Hart and then Oscar Hammerstein II, few are more obscure than one of Rodgers & Hart’s earliest, Wasn’t It Great? Yet, as I surveyed the list of their far better known titles: Manhattan, My Heart Stood Still, Thou Swell, Blue Moon (their only one published as a popular song, not for a Broadway show or movie score) and hundreds more, no title seemed more fitting to remember his 113th birthday (June 28, 1902) than Wasn’t It Great?.

    Richard Rodgers wasn’t just another songwriter coming of age in that dynamic era of social, cultural and artistic change known as the “Roaring Twenties.” When composer Rodgers and lyricist Hart first teamed up in 1919, American popular music was mostly “a thing of trite phrase and clichĂ©, of cloying Victorian sentiment, a tired and hackneyed commodity” (to quote biographer Frederick Nolan). “Moreover,” as Hart said in a 1928 interview, “the old love song….of the then popular waltz was usually a quiet exemplification of innocent amatory music; but today the barbaric quality of jazz dance music demands expressions of love that are much more dynamic and physical.”

    Over the evolving years, Rodgers composed songs for 42 Broadway musicals, of which 19 film versions were made. Even a partial list of shows is beyond impressive: THE GARRICK GAIETIES, SPRING IS HERE, LOVE ME TONIGHT, BABES IN ARMS, PAL JOEY, OKLAHOMA!, SOUTH PACIFIC, CAROUSEL, THE KING AND I, STATE FAIR (which included the 1946 Oscar-winning song It Might As Well Be Spring). As much as any composer from the 1920s to 1960s, Richard Rodgers WAS the Sound of Music.

    It is especially worth noting that Rodgers accomplished all this despite the completely different styles and personalities of his two principal collaborators. Of Lorenz Hart (who died in 1943), Rodgers said, “Larry was much gayer and lighter than Oscar. He was inclined to be cynical, where Oscar never was. Oscar was more sentimental and so the music had to be more sentimental. It wouldn’t have been natural for Larry to write ‘Oklahoma!’ any more than it would have been natural for Oscar to write ‘Pal Joey’.”

    And so I close with a Richard Rodgers song written with each collaborator (the first with lyrics by Hart):

     

     
    • Michaeline Montezinos 1:04 am on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse, I tried to watch and listen to Frank and Ella sing the Lady is a Tramp. I must tell you it was a strange video since it seemed to have an echo of the same song while they performed. I do not think it was my computer but then who knows. I will attempt to view and hear the second video link right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline Montezinos 1:23 am on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Well, this is odd. I could hear what I think is Ella is singing the “scat” versoin of a song. Then Frank Sinatra was on singing another song. Not June is Bustin’ Out All Over although I could see the orchestra and the members playing. Maybe Youtube was playing a true “mix” of Frank and Ella’s songs. Now I can hear Ella singing solo with an orchestra behind her. I know it is not April fools Day but I am a little confused.

        I enjoyed reading the stories behind the composers of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II and Lorenz Hart. I had no knowledge of Frederick Nolan before but I think his opinion of music of that time period is very accurate. Now I hear the song about the Yellow Basket which is the one song my Daddy sang to me while I sat on his lap at a tender age. One of my favorite songs since the memory of that experience is still with me after many years. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:09 am on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I just listened to both videos again and noticed nothing wrong, so I assume any problems are at your end, Michaeline. You might try getting your hubby to listen to the videos – as they say down Mexico way, two heads are better than Juan.

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 9:45 am on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Barbaric quality of jazz…how quaint.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:06 pm on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If the strange new music called jazz sounded barbaric to 1920s ears, one can only imagine what hip hop and rap would have sounded like. They might have thought jazz wasn’t so barbaric after all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline Montezinos 3:30 pm on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I believe you are correct in saying it is my computer that did not work correctly. But I did get to hear both of the songs and I enjoy them. Did you happen to read my second comment? I wrote to thank you for all the information about the duo of Rogers and Hammerstein. I learned about Frederick Nolan and Lorenzo Hart.. Maybe my demon computer did not let you read my second reply. It has been a strange week of lost or misplaced items. I gave my husband two cards to mail. However, after putting them both in the car he came upstairs to check with me. Apparently my brother’s birthday card had vanished. After looking everywhere, including the car, our apartment and the parking lot, it seemed to have vanished.. Finally he gave up and went on to the store. Next to disappear was my new little flashlight. Again we searched every drawer and underneath all of our furniture and in the corners. No flashlight! Same thing had happened with small kitchen items that were nowhere to be found.
        did anyone write a song about missing stuff?

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:27 pm on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know of a song about missing items, but I wrote a poem titled THE CASE OF THE MISSING SOCK which I posted on May 9. As for missing stuff in general, I think the older we get, the more we tend to forget where we leave things, which probably accounts for 99% of “vanished” items. You’ll get used to it by the time you’re my age, Michaeline.

      As for Frederick Nolan, I got his quote from his book titled simply LORENZ HART, a biography which I’m sure you can buy online, if interested.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline Montezinos 6:47 pm on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        mistermuse thank you for reminding me that I am getting older. How old can you be? I think there are not many years between your birthday and mine.Are you claiming to be the descendant of Methusalah? Hee! Hee! Hee!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Michaeline Montezinos 7:10 pm on June 29, 2015 Permalink

          Well thumbs up for my computer! I tried to watch the videos again and this time it worked. Yes, indeed, and I enjoyed Ella and Frank singing THE LADY IS A TRAMP… I also listened to Tony Bennett and Marianna do a lively version of the tramp song. June is Bustin’ Out All Over was stupendous. I recognized the women sopranos and one of the tenors from the British opera company based in London. Yes, I like opera and do not fall asleep while attending these magnificent events. Thank you again, mistermuse for your wonderful contributions to our musical library. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 6:08 am on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting point is how Rodgers changed his music to fit his lyricist. I never would have thought anyone ever did that or could.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:39 am on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      That’s something Cole Porter never had to deal with because he wrote both the music and lyrics. Of course, Irving Berlin did the same, but Porter’s lyrics were wittier, like Hart’s, whereas Berlin’s lyrics were more sentimental, like Hammerstein’s.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 1:33 pm on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting to get more background on these great talents.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 3:15 pm on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I applaud you for being interested in the music (and its makers) of a time which has been left in the dust of our own times, but has not been diminished by circumstances beyond its control.

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 10:36 pm on July 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I enjoyed reading this about Rodgers – lots I didn’t know. 🙂 Songs were just so much more musical back then!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 10:19 pm on January 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      As I have a moment (or need to take one), I will be back to troll your archives. Please don’t make it mean anything other than competing to-dos if I “like” but do not comment. ALL of your stuff is wonderful.
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:13 am on January 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, and no problem with “like” but not comment. I often have to do the same, as there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything.

      Like

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