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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Au Revoir, , Close Your Eyes, , , , , , , Rodgers and Hart, WW II   

    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 toΒ 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.

    That 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.

      Like

      • 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 πŸ™‚

      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 πŸ™‚

          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. πŸ™‚ I love how they could actually Sing in those days!! πŸ˜€

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      • 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 3 people

        • scifihammy 12:08 pm on January 6, 2020 Permalink

          So true! There used to be lovely turns of melody and variety. πŸ™‚

          Like

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

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

      Like

      • 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.

        Like

    • 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.

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      • 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 1 person

        • 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?

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    • 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!

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      • 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.

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    • 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. πŸ™‚

      Like

    • 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.

      Like

    • 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…

      Like

    • 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 1 person

      • 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 1 person

        • 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. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bernice Petkere, , Close Your Eyes, , , , , , , On the Sunny Side of the Street, Starlight,   

    TWO TO GO 

    As 2019 goes into the history books, we close out the yearΒ and our series of 1920s-30s female songwriters with two of the best: BERNICE PETKERE and DOROTHY FIELDS.

    PETKERE, the longest lived (1901-2000) but perhaps least remembered of the women in this series, had her greatest success as a composer in the 1930s. This hit (with lyrics by Joe Young) was recorded in early 1932 by a rising star by the name of Bing Crosby:

    Petkere, primarily a composer, also wrote the lyrics to a few of her songs, including….

    Saving the class of the field for last, we turn to the most prolific lady lyricist of the era (and the first woman to be elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame), DOROTHY FIELDS, “the only female songwriter of the golden age whose name has not sunk into oblivion with time.” –Deborah Grace Winer, author of ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET, subtitled THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DOROTHY FIELDS

    Named after Dorothy of Wizard of Oz fame, she teamed with composer Jimmy McHugh in 1927 to write many hits over the next eight years, including this all-time standard in 1930:

    Fields went on to write many songs with other composers until her death in 1974….but as much as I’d like to post links to more of Fields work, I’m going to resist temptation (you know what they say about too much of a good thing), Take It Easy*, and call it a Fields day

    ….except to say, Happy New Year!

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

    *the title, it so happens, of a Fields song I resisted linking to (recorded by Fats Waller)

     

     
    • calmkate 3:22 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      wow I actually know most of Dorothy’s songs … that’s a huge achievement! I had often wondered who had written some of them … but not enough to look her up πŸ™‚

      great way to welcome in the new decade, doubt I’ll see the next 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:30 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Kate. What better way to ring out the old and “welcome in the new decade” than with songs that stand the test of time, and know that if we are still around “in the next decade,” these great songs will still be around too.

        Liked by 3 people

        • calmkate 7:28 pm on December 31, 2019 Permalink

          these songs will be around for all time, they are so memorable … not sure I am that memorable!

          Like

        • mistermuse 1:30 am on January 1, 2020 Permalink

          Neither am I, Kate, but if it’s any consolation, it’s far better not to be remembered, than to be remembered like the likes of Donald Trump will be.

          Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 8:09 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve enjoyed your entertaining posts and movie/song clips this year, and look forward to more next year. πŸ˜€
      Happy New Year to you and all the best for 2020. πŸ™‚

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:23 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate that, scifi — best New Year’s wishes to you as well.

      Like

    • GP Cox 9:53 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 10:02 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great post this! And thanks for the introduction to Pamela Rose! Born in the 50’s I’m not sure where I’ve heard so many of these songs before! Also thanks for the introduction to Diana Krall, great voice, just my sort of music and that piano! Couldn’t make out the make but the old well worn sound was wonderful.
      Have a happy healthy and peaceful New Year!

      Like

      • mistermuse 11:17 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Ashley, have I ever told you that you have great taste in music?
        But seriously, I’m seriously pleased that you dig this post. As for Diana Krall, I couldn’t agree more — I think she’s the finest jazz vocalist since Mel TormΓ©, and yet virtually unknown outside of jazz circles. Such a pity that great jazz singers have almost no place in recent popular music culture.

        Like

    • smbabbitt 3:57 pm on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great selection of songs!

      Like

    • America On Coffee 1:49 am on January 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Classics live on! A great selection! πŸ’•β˜•οΈβ˜•οΈ

      Liked by 1 person

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