This Week's Classics & Curios Show:
"Echoes of Songs and Laughter"
EDDIE HUBBARD SPECIAL: SOCIETY OF SINGERS CELEBRATE ELLA FITZGERALD
This Eddie Hubbard Special from April 28, 1989, highlights the Society of Singers celebration of Ella Fitzgerald’s career at a grand party featuring legendary singers and celebrities. Eddie gives details about the celebration and the performers as he plays recordings by some of the Society participants.
Fittingly Eddie opens with Ella’s recording of the song that launched her career, a song that she helped to compose: “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” From some 2000 songs Ella recorded Eddie goes on to play her famous recordings of “Mr. Paganini,” and “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You.” Fourteen Grammy Award Winner Ella, known as the “First Lady of Song” and “Queen of Jazz,” was, of course, considered tops in diction, phrasing, intonation, swing, bebop, blues, traditional pop, ballads, and scat singing.
Samples of songs of participating performers begin with one by the head of the Society of Singers Committee, Jerry Vale, and his “Pretend You Don’t Need Her.” Others include Joe Williams and “Well, Alright, Okay, You Win,” Kay Starr and “If You Love Me (Really Love Me),” Steve Lawrence and “Portrait of My Love,” and Mel Torme and “Manhattan.”
Tops for me on the show are “Sunny Side of the Street” by Tommy Dorsey and the Clark Sisters (Sentimentalists) from 1944 and George Shearing’s “September.” I dedicate these two songs in memory of my MOTHER AND ALL MOMS this MOTHERS DAY.
Following Eddie’s personal tribute to Ella he rounds out the hour with Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” Woody Herman’s “Wood Chopper’s Ball,” and the McGuire Sisters’ “For Old Times Sake,” a tune indeed appropriate for this show honoring the 100th anniversary of Ella’s birth..
As a footnote, in 1935 Ella began performing regularly with Chick Webb’s band at age 15, and after the breakthrough recording of “Tasket” in 1938 she performed it again in 1942 in Abbott and Costello’s “Ride ‘Em Cowboy.” Bing Crosby said, “Man, woman, or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.”
EDDIE HUBBARD SPECIAL: WHY DON'T YOU EVER PLAY!
Here's another Eddie Hubbard Special, this one from October 3, 1985, the day that the Atlantis space shuttle was launched on its first space flight. Eddie called this Special "Why Don't You Ever Play!" with requests from listeners for songs that have not been played for awhile or ever. The songs include "Just An Old Fashioned Love Song," "Golden Memories, Silver Tears," '"You've Changed," "Just a Gigolo," "The Summer Wind," "Hurry on Down," and "Poor Butterfly."
Three songs on this Special really seem to stand out: "Won't You Marry Me?" " Little Old Lady," and "Everything Is Beautiful (in It's Own Way).'" The curio "Marry Me" was recorded by Maxine Sullivan, who was the first black star to have her own radio show ("Flow Gently, Sweet Rhythm" in 1940). "Gloomy Sunday" by Billy Eckstein was a major "downer" and was even called (rightly or wrongly) "the Hungarian suicide song" during WWII with lines like ""My heart and I have decided to end it all."
By contrast, "Everything is Beautiful" by Ray Stevens remains a classic upbeat, encouraging song that plays in one's mind and heart long after hearing it just once. Hoagy Carmichael's "Little Old Lady" is a sweet song that my mother used to hum and sing and remains forever part of my cherished childhood memories, and I would guess, part of the special memories of many from my generation.
Other artists on the show include "Velvet Voice" "Gentleman" Jim Reeves, "Velvet Fog" Mel Torme, Eydie Gorme, Tony Martin, Paul Williams, Wayne Newton, Ray Conniff. and Montovani (Great Britain's most successful album seller before the Beatles).
Every Eddie Hubbard show demonstrates some of the great music of a great generation in the first 60 years or so of the twentieth century -- great blessings of the great God of the universe.
Many thanks go to Jerry Haendiges Productions for restoring and transferring Eddie Hubbard's original studio tapes for rebroadcast. For more about Jerry's expert Audio Restoration Services go to his website at www.OTRSite.com or call him at 562-696-4387.