|Duane Keilstrup Broadcast Archives|
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
THE BEST OF EDDIE HUBBARD & THE BROWSERS: "ARTISTRY IN RHYTHM"
Perhaps the "Eddie Hubbard and the Browsers" show is not always "artistry in rhythm," but one of the tunes on this Browsers show is Stan Kenton's theme song by that name. While Kenton's theme song may not be at the top of my list of big band theme favorites, artistry in rhythm does describe the music of much of the big band era. When the music of the composer, the arrangement for the performing artists, and the musicianship of the performers come together just right, the result can indeed often be described as rhythmic artistry. Much of the American music of the 1930's, 1940's, and even some in the 1920's and early 1950's, in my opinion, fits that description well and, in fact, in artistic achievement might be to our modern era on the popular music level what the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach was to theirs on the classical level.
Of course, on every Browsers' show we continue to hear several types of music at various levels of artistry and style that usually can lift our spirits, reflect our emotions, stimulate our imaginations, or soothe our souls. Or maybe it's just a musical matter of playfully humorous aspects and situations of life. Taking the spotlight on this Browsers' show are songs like ""Beyond the Sea," "The Shepherd's Serenade," "The Breeze and I," "How It Lies," "Along the Navajo Trail," "Count Every Star," "Loretta," "Somebody Stole My Gal," "Summer Samba," "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee," and "Buzz Me (Baby)."
Certainly, it goes without saying that not all artists or the music recorded by big bands can be called artistic. The duds are many, such as recordings like Sinatra's infamous "Mama Will Bark." That recording fails to be playfully entertaining even with one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century singing with Dagmar, one of the worst.
Artists on this Browsers' show fortunately usually match the artistic level of the songs. Artists include Benny Goodman, Dick Todd, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, Louis Jordan, Marion Hutton and the Modernaires, Bobby Darin, Jimmy Dorsey, and Horace Heidt.
Trivia questions are usually only as good as the old memories or perhaps some new discovery that they sometimes evoke, but some answers also manage now and then to provide fun and humor, especially on this show when guest Browsers Perry Huntoon and Bob Knack exchange comments with Eddie.
Maybe on this show you can join the Browsers to answer a few questions involving topics such as song titles with girls' names beginning with the letter "L" as in "Laura" or old songs that were revived and became hits perhaps for the second time. Maybe you know Stan Kenton's nickname or the name of the famous whistler with Horace Heidt. As you listen to "The Breeze and I" with Jimmy Dorsey and Bob Eberle, can you name the original classical Cuban composition on which it's based? I couldn't. And here's a question from me: Can you recognize a famous classical concert piece's rhythmic similarities that play steadily in the background of "The Breeze and I"? [For the answer see one of the images to the left of this summary.]
Another question that might be mildly amusing involves the name of the obscure tune on the flip side of Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five's 1946 top R&B stye recording "Buzz Me (Baby)." This B-side song also hit number one on the R&B chart later in 1946. Its playful title is "Don't Worry 'Bout That Mule." It seems even mules can blend with musical playfulness to be a part of artistic "charm and gaiety of life." As Plato said, "Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
Again, our thanks go to Jerry Haendiges Productions for quality remastering of the original Eddie Hubbard studio tapes for rebroadcast.
This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
THE BEST OF EDDIE HUBBARD: SONGS THAT SAY IT ALL
Here’s a reprise of a “super duper” special from Eddie that was first broadcast July 4, 1990. Eddie briefly calls attention to a July 4 celebration but then proceeds on to do a show focusing on “Songs That Say It All” — a celebration of sorts of great recordings.
Eddie plays two versions of “All the Things You Are,” one of my all time favorite songs and also two versions of “That’s All.” Artie Shaw’s and Nat King Cole’s brilliant versions stand out among those four recordings.. Outstanding also are Mitch Miller’s “All I Do (Is Dream of You),” Patsy Cline’s “Always,” Fats Waller’s “All My Life,” Perry Como’s “All Through the Day,” Ella Fitzgerald’s “All Through the Night,” Frank Sinatra’s “All Or Nothing at All” and “All the Way,” and Peggy Lee’s “All I Need Is You.”
Polly Bergen, the Everly Brothers, Mel Torme, Brenda Lee, and Jackie Gleason contribute even more fine performances, along with Helen Forrest.
Along the way, Eddie explores the definition of the word “all” through songs that provide possible meanings. But the “all” in “All the Things You Are,” is a little more complex. The song composed for the unsuccessful Broadway show “”Very Warm for May” in 1939, “is a straight forward love song that praises the qualities of one's intended, yet the perfect blending of words and music make it exceptional. Hammerstein's lyric is enthrallingly romantic (‘You are the promised gift of springtime’) without crossing over into mawkishness [extreme sentimentality], while Kern's music is ingenious and boldly adventurous. Kern wrote the odd but effective key and tempo changes for his own satisfaction and often stated that he never thought the song could become popular because it was too complex for the layman's ear. Yet the melodic line captivates even as one is aware of its strangeness.” (Thomas S. Hischak, THE TIN PAN ALLEY SONG ENCYCLOPEDIA, p. 13).
“Critic Arthur Schwartz is said to have called “All the Things” ‘the perfect song’. It appeared eleven times on ‘Your Hit Parade’ and occupied first place twice. Charles Hamm lists it as number 40 on his list of ‘Top Forty: The Most Often Recorded Songs in America, 1900-1950’. It is also one of Variety's ‘Golden 100’. Considering the complexity of the music of the song, as distinct from Oscar Hammerstein's straightforward amorous lyrics [yet with artistry in creating what he called ‘Phonetics’ - the careful manipulation of vowel and consonant sounds], this degree of documented renown is most unusual…It has often been sung and recorded in aria fashion by singers trained in the classical idiom—for example, by the motion picture star Irene Dunne…And, of course, it remains, a jazz staple.” (Allen Forte, THE AMERICAN POPULAR BALLAD, p. 73, hard cover edition). [Editor's note: To compare, listen to the Beverly Sills (classical) and 1972 Carmen McRae (jazz) versions in the Record/Video Cabinet.]
Critic Jamie Rosenn adds, “Dance versions of the tune started surfacing in the early forties by Tommy Dorsey and Guy Lombardo, but it wasn’t until around 1945 when the tune became a vehicle for improvisation. Musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie would call the tune at jam sessions and found that the song’s harmonic complexities would weed out the musicians who were from the swing era and were used to more static chord progressions.” (“Behind the Standard” online, 2010)
In past programs I’ve mentioned the deep personal meaning of the song to me and my wife. Beyond that, to me, a simple layman critic at best, suffice it to say, the song is simply captivating, touching, and beautiful in melody and lyrics, much like Hoagy Carmichael’s and Mitchell Parish’s “Stardust.” To me, these compositions are probably America’s two most amazing and unforgettable popular songs.
Special thanks to Jerry Haendiges Productions for remastering the original studio tape for this rebroadcast!