The Pied Pipers - June Hutton - 1948
Well-written thoughtful analysis - My compliments! - Cheers, mate!Great choice. I'll give my take on all of these versions and I'll even vote. But first, I have to note that this is a "Fox Trot" song, as it plainly says on that gorgeous 1920s sheet music cover. These were popular in the 1920s and were mainly instrumental numbers, typically for swing band, with a single 16-bar vocal solo or "refrain" near the end sung in the old lyrical ballad style. My favorite other than this one is Bye-Bye Blues of 1925 by Fred Hamm and Dave Bennett, a must for a future sing-off. It is fascinating how these Fox Trot songs were transformed and adapted in later decades, and sometimes turned into much bigger hits than they were in their original form.
Pat Boone: A famous balladeer with a honeyed voice, but the ridiculous Country & Western tinged arrangement with the whistling does him in. Yee haw.
La Bouche Manouche Feat. Irene Serra: Well, this is a treat. Fabulous Django Reinhardt / Stephan Grapelli style backing band. Those guys are great, if not quite on the level of the originals. And Irene Serra has the sense of rhythm that's needed.
Vic Damone: Here is that original late 40s / early 50s swing ballad style we get from Doris Day and June Hutton, but years later stretched past its useful limit, far too slow, with an awkwardly updated arrangement featuring some Disney movie-style atmospherics. Still, Damone has that wonderful velvety baritone voice.
Doris Day: If you like the late 40s / early 50s big band swing ballad style, here is Doris Day at her best. June Hutton is here too, and I also like Dinah Shore in this style. You have to buy into the slower tempo characteristic of this approach, especially slow here. A different style on the dance floor for you and your special someone.
Ella Fitzgerald: This is early Ella from the 1940s, with more sound behind her with Louis Armstrong's band than she later had with the small groups led by her husband, the great bassist Ray Brown. Still, they don't get in her way, and there is always that free and natural phrasing that puts her ahead of June Hutton, and far ahead of Diana Krall.
Diana Krall imo is a huge talent, especially as a pianist, working in the 50s-60s jazz style. However, I have never warmed to her singing here or elsewhere, despite her wonderful low, throaty "tessitura" (as the Opera Experts call it). It's as if the phrasing doesn't come to her naturally but has to be carefully calculated.
With Peggy Lee the song is in full-on 40s swing style. Well done, but it lacks the wistful mood that I like to see brought out of a song like this.
Tony Martin - A classic traditional baritone balladeer with updated elements in the arrangement, and of course the modern (late 40s) expansion in the vocal part from the original 1920s 16-bar refrain. Good, but a bit of an odd combination of styles.
Anita O'Day - The female late 50s jazzy Frank Sinatra, with a bit of Billie Holiday thrown in. It works, especially with that superb brass chorus behind her, but again, doesn't draw everything I want from the song.
The Pied Pipers - June Hutton Similar approach as Tony Martin, but she is more true to the 1940s vocal style, so extra points for her.
Bouche Manouche and Ella.
Really nice review, MAS - Cheers!Never heard of Tony Martin, but his seductive tone drew me in, and I can see us dancing as well as just listening. The chorus helps with the atmosphere. I like the harp effect, too.
I think the Jane Hutton version is what I remember of this song - my parents must’ve had a recording of it. So this is the one for me. The second vote goes to Tony Martin.
Sorry you're not a fan of the Foxtrot version. Maybe you would like this classic one, Don't Tell a Lie About Me, Dear, here featuring the phenomenal Woody Herman as bandleader and clarinet soloist. (It also was a big hit for the Inkspots.) Alas, not on youtube, apparently. Of course, Stravinsky wrote his Ebony Concerto for Herman.And just after I say that I've known all the songs, I come across one I don't believe I've ever heard. So I can't say going in what I'm looking for.
I probably should have started with Isham Jones' version, but I listened to it last. To be honest, I can't really appreciate that type of arrangement. The closest I get are those Joan Morris/William Bolcolm arrangements - and sure enough they recorded it, but I can't find it on YouTube.
Anyway on a first pass, I favored the light swing arrangements.
That eliminates Pat Boone. Not thrilled with his voice either.
I enjoyed La Bouche Manouche/Irene Serra a lot. Like swing with a twist.
Vic Damone was turgid. Oddly the lyrics of the song are torchy, but the melody doesn't work as a ballad.
This is the first time I enjoyed Doris Day's voice, but the arrangement, the back-up singers, and the the tempo rule it out. Trivia - Day played Mrs. Gus Kahn in the film I'll See You in My Dreams.
Ella is - well - Ella. Love the voice. I have mixed feelings about the arrangements. A trumpet is not needed. Maybe a muted one. But overall I liked it.
Diana Krall seems pretty interested in quoting other songs on the piano. And I don't like her phrasing.
I did like Peggy Lee's phrasing. And her voice. The jazz arrangement wasn't all that interesting but it didn't distract.
Tony Martin - turgid. When it's sung this slowly, the cliched nature of the lyrics becomes evident. There isn't a single line in this song that matches, A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces," in provoking a response.
Anita O'Day's version had the proper elements, but they never grabbed me.
I liked the Pied Pipers' version, but not as much as the other Pied Pipers track. Too slow.
In the end - Peggy and La Bouche.
Thanks, great song. How it wasn't transferred to digital I can't imagine. Of course, most popular songs from the 1920s or earlier, including I'll See You In My Dreams, would first have appeared as sheet music with a simple piano part. (My pianist grandfather had piles of it.) William Bolcom is an ace composer himself and wouldn't simply play the sheet music, but nevertheless those Morris and Bolcom voice and piano recordings have a pleasing authenticity to them.Since I mentioned Morris and Bolcom, let me respond with my favorite recording of theirs (actually a duo with Max Morath). I have several other recordings of "Till the Clouds Roll By," including one from 1917, but this version is simply one of my favorite recordings of all time. Music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse. It stands with "Fire and Rain" and "Harvest Moon" in its ability to choke me up.
To my knowledge, the album was never released on CD. I burnt a copy of my cassette onto a CD-R and later ripped the CD-R.
|Pat Boone||8||6||6||= 20|
|La Bouche Manouche||8||7||8||= 24|
|Vic Damone||8||7||7||= 22|
|Doris Day||7||7||7||= 21|
|Ella Fitzgerald||6||6||6||= 18|
|Diana Krall||5||5||5||= 15|
|Peggy Lee||6||5||5||= 16|
|Tony Martin||8||7||6||= 21|
|Anita O'Day||5||6||5||= 16|
|The Pied Pipers||8||8||8||= 24|
Very fine and entertaining analysis. As for Diana Krall, much as I respect her talent, I don't think the fault lies with you. Her particular style of singing, and I hear a similar style with other contemporary jazz vocalists, just sounds unnatural and mechanical to me. In my opinion, Tierney Sutton, another of these contemporary jazz vocalists, pulls off this modern style more successfully. And there are others. But I'm not suggesting you start including Ms. Sutton in these sing-offs. I think she would be only slightly more popular with the crowd here than Ms. Krall.[ .... ]
8th Place - Diana Krall - the arrangements are unfailingly interesting - the piano playing is superb - Musically, she can do it all - Her vocals? - Her choices - the decisions that she makes - on what to emphasize - what to accent - what to stress - always leaves me puzzled - I'll just assume that the fault lies with me - I just can't seem to hear her "voice"...either that or English isn't her first (or even second) language...
I was actually wondering if he played the sheet music. I don't have the sheet music for that song, but I played some Rodgers and Hart songs, for which I do have the vocal/piano sheet music - from a collection I bought maybe 30 years ago. I don't know if it's the original, but it wasn't what he played. However, if you check out some of their available recordings - e.g. the Berlin album available on Tidal, he did keep his arrangements quite simple.Thanks, great song. How it wasn't transferred to digital I can't imagine. Of course, most popular songs from the 1920s or earlier, including I'll See You In My Dreams, would first have appeared as sheet music with a simple piano part. (My pianist grandfather had piles of it.) William Bolcom is an ace composer himself and wouldn't simply play the sheet music, but nevertheless those Morris and Bolcom voice and piano recordings have a pleasing authenticity to them.
Consider it done - 35 plus contests and I've finally found a way to get Sheena Easton into the line-up -I was actually wondering if he played the sheet music. I don't have the sheet music for that song, but I played some Rodgers and Hart songs, for which I do have the vocal/piano sheet music - from a collection I bought maybe 30 years ago. I don't know if it's the original, but it wasn't what he played. However, if you check out some of their available recordings - e.g. the Berlin album available on Tidal, he did keep his arrangements quite simple.
Also Shaughnessy - what about the Kahn/Isham standard "The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)"?