Tagged: Mel Torme Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 9:13 am on May 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Mel Torme, , 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 Tormé:

    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 Tormé 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.
      😊

      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?). 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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

          At this point in my life? I’d say I’m approaching medium well.
          😉

          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? 😉

          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. 😉

        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 Tormé) 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 course—

      But not quite as much as Mel’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 12:20 am on September 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , improvisation, , , Mel Torme, , , Tony Jacobs, , , Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks   

    SCAT! 

    Wait — don’t scat! Stay where you are and let scat come to you — scat singing, that is — and who better to lay the scat on you than two of the best: Mel Tormé, whose birthday (9/13/25) we celebrate this month, and the First Lady of Scat, Ella Fitzgerald:

    Man, if that didn’t knock your socks off, you’d better put your shoes on and scat back to Squaresville, because you’re just not with it! To say scat singing is little more than vocal jazz improvisation with nonsense words is like saying The Donald is just improvising when he lets loose with nonsense tweets (to use a reverse perverse metaphor).

    So, who was the cat who ‘invented’ scat? There seems to be no definitive answer, but some say it began 2/26/26 when Louis Armstrong supposedly forgot the words to this song and began improvising a little more than halfway through the recording:

    Let’s wrap it up with this recent scat-iteration (which, I kid you not, ends with tweets):

    And now you can scat! Come back any time.

     
  • mistermuse 1:01 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Eddie Cantor, , , , , Margaret Whiting. Bob Hope, Mel Torme, , , records, Richard Whiting, , World War I, World War II   

    NOTES FROM THE ALLEY 

    Now that the madness of America’s interminable election season is over, it’s time to get back to the saner things in life. It has been a while since I devoted an entire post to a subject which is right down my (Tin Pan) Alley, namely the Golden Age of Popular Music (between WWI and WWII). I assume that, unlike me, few (if any) of you were alive during that era….but, since I feel reasonably certain you wouldn’t miss that opportunity again if you had the chance, I forgive you for such a lamentable shortcoming.

    Speaking of lament-able, I’ll start with a song written toward the end of the era by a 15 year old wunderkind, Mel Tormé, who went on to decades-long fame as a jazz vocalist:

    For those who are unfamiliar with the term TIN PAN ALLEY, I quote excerpts from a 1975 book of that title by researcher Ian Whitcomb about the beginnings of pop music:
    The name “Tin Pan Alley” applied to the railroad flats around 28th and Broadway in NYC where the music publishing houses were clustered. Around the 1890’s a canny bunch of businessmen, keenly aware of the new mass-market created by the Industrial Revolution, decided to manufacture songs. They fed theaters and parlors, cafes and dance halls with their wares. By 1910 The Alleymen had pushed hundreds of songs into million-selling sheets. These tall piano copies, fronted with colored art-work and spotted with ads for other songs, were the sole pop moneymakers until records, radio and talking pictures became the chief pop vehicles.

    This brings us to the period immediately following the end of WWI on Nov. 11, 1918, and to one of the biggest hits of the next year, when our doughboys were returning home by the hundreds of thousands from the battle fronts of Europe and the pleasure fronts of Paris. With un peu d’imagination, perhaps you can appreciate the question….

    Two years later (1921), song writers were still asking questions, including this one posed by its composer Richard Whiting (whose birthday was three days ago, Nov. 12, 1891), sung here by his daughter and Bob Hope:

    Of course, the above words and recordings have barely scratched the surface of  the sounds you would have savored had you been around in those days (and make no mistake, that music would have seduced you as much then as today’s music seduces you now). And so on that note….

    (TO BE CONTINUED)

     

     

     

     
    • scifihammy 1:20 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      What a lovely post. 🙂 They really don’t make music like this any more!

      Liked by 1 person

    • painkills2 2:26 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s all about electronic music now. Well, not all, but a lot. I feel like an old grandma complaining about young people’s music, but electronic music hurts my ears. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:04 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        It hurts your ears because it’s noise (at least, some of it). But, as an old song title says, “To Each His Own.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • eths 3:10 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great music!

      Liked by 1 person

    • GP Cox 8:00 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 8:57 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I didn’t realize Mel Tormé was a songwriter on a bigger scale. I know he wrote “The Christmas Song.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:18 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Mel was multitalented: musician, vocalist, arranger, songwriter. He wrote THE CHRISTMAS SONG with lyricist Bob Wells in 1946, but previously wrote both words and music. Here is another example of his solo work from 1945:

        Like

    • Don Frankel 9:24 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I always like the way guys like Bob Hope who really can’t sing will talk their way through a song and really do a good job of it. Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady comes to mind. You can watch that movie and think he’s singing when he never does.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:23 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Excellent observation, Don. Another great example of someone who couldn’t really sing but put over a song better than most guys who could sing was Walter Huston (SEPTEMBER SONG).

        Like

    • L. T. Garvin, Author 10:25 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      What wonderful, wholesome songs. Love the instrumental background. It harkens back to a time when we didn’t have to have all these obscenities to have entertainment, I mean I don’t want to sound like a grandma either, but seriously, the verses of today’s “music.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:32 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        My sentiments exactly! It’s good to know I have readers like you who can appreciate, and don’t dismiss, songs like these simply because they’re old. Stay tuned for more of the same in my next post.

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:55 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Haven’t really paid much attention to music of any kind since I kicked a daily pot habit back in my early twenties. Now that weed is legal out here in CA, maybe I’ll start again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:46 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I have just the song for you, Ricardo, as you sleep on your “To weed or not to weed” question:

        Like

    • Cynthia Jobin 11:20 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Today’s music doesn’t seduce me at all…it’s mostly adolescent, barbaric noise. I really enjoyed listening to these. I know them well. Listening to them again is like a lovely visit with my dear grandparents.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:57 am on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I couldn’t agree more, but I’ll bet neither you nor your grandparents listened to (or even knew of) the song in my previous comment (actually there were many such songs in the 20s & 30s, though I doubt they got played on the radio in those days)!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Cynthia Jobin 12:02 pm on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right. I didn’t know that song, nor, I venture, did my grandparents. The underworld stayed under, in those days.

      Liked by 1 person

    • inesephoto 5:39 pm on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Such a delightful post, I always loved music of that era.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:10 pm on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Likewise. I also like some of the music of other eras, but “Golden Age” music remains #1 on my ‘hip parade.’

        Liked by 1 person

    • Resa 6:17 pm on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      What a fab post this is!
      Thank you so much for the info re: Tin Pan Alley! I had no idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:05 pm on November 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Resa. I’ll have more to say about Tin Pan Alley in my next post.

        Like

    • Mark Scheel 1:15 am on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I remember hearing some of these songs played on the piano when as a little boy visiting relatives on my mother’s side–a fun bunch. Anyway, before you leave politics totally, suggest you read Bernie Goldberg on why New York media missed the boat so badly with the last election. Great analysis that I can relate to, living in the Midwest. Here’s the link:

      http://bernardgoldberg.com/the-media-elite-didnt-see-the-tsunami-coming/

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:53 am on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I’d already heard similar analysis (in substance, if not in spirit) in the heathen liberal media, Mark, but I didn’t know that Goldberg has written a book called ARROGANCE, which I would’ve guessed to be the title of a Donald Trump biography….but then, we on the near-left (or am I on the FAR-left in the black-and-white world) are wrong about so many things.

        Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you can dig this music. There has been a piano in my house for most of my life, but after several years of piano lessons in my boyhood, I forgot what I learned and still can’t play it.

        Like

    • BroadBlogs 1:17 am on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’d thought I would feel better after the election. I don’t. Thanks for bringing some sanity back into my life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:11 am on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Speaking of “sanity” reminds me (what with the Christmas shopping season already in full swing) of this bit of Marx Brothers insanity:

        Like

    • Carmen 12:42 pm on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Do you mean to say that Torme was 15 when he sang that song? If so, quite amazing!
      I have to say that listening to these tunes is a much better pursuit than reading political commentary of late . . . 🙂 I’m finding a station on my TV that plays ‘oldies’ now. Lovely sounds!! Thanks so much, mister muse!
      Were you subscribed to Lady sighs blog? Haven’t heard anything from her lately and was wondering if she’s ill. .

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:27 pm on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Actually, Tormé wrote the song when he was 15, but he didn’t sing it — at least not on that Columbia record. If you check the small print on the label, you’ll notice that the vocal is by Dick Haymes (see, that’s what happens when you don’t read the small print!). 🙂

        I didn’t subscribe to Ladysigh’s blog, but I was a regular reader and frequent ‘liker’ and commenter. As I recall, she took a rather lengthy hiatus due to illness a few years ago. Hopefully, she’ll come back again like before, but I don’t know the reason for her absence this time.

        Like

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