Saturday, April 19, 2014

Looking Back at Torch

Torch Singers
Clockwise from Top Left: Edith Piaf, Patsy Cline, Judy Garland, Dame Shirley Bassey, and Sarah Vaughan

As I have been a bit busy as of late with my niece's wedding, I thought I would revisit this post from about three years ago, for it is all about love, and some magnificent ladies who can sing pretty darned well. The original post was titles 'Torch', and posted on June 21, 2011.

We are back in that smokey club, listening to the ladies sing the blues about love and loss, and matters of the heart. They stand in a simple spotlight, where you can see the smoke wafting through the air. In the background, you hear the tinkling of glasses being raised, drunk from, and collected by the wait staff. There is a whisper that stays steady in the room. But when the really good torch singer comes out, a hush will fall over the room. She will dictate the feeling of the room, be it sadness, hurt, or desire. That never changes. A clear example of the power of the lady in charge is Sarah Vaughan. With her legendary jazz stylings, she delivers a light sweetness to Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington's "The Nearness of You". There is just a hint of longing, just enough to keep it interesting.

Born Virginia Patterson Hensley, if she wasn't one of the great torch singers of all time, then she would have been the perfect source of material for many a song. From her struggle in the music business because she didn't fit the standard of feminine beauty in the day, to dying in a tragic plane crash at the age of 30, Patsy Cline used her gorgeous voice to garner the success and respect due her talent. Her "Walking After Midnight" added just the right amount of strength to temper the plaintiff quality a lesser singer might fall victim to that trap.

The French knew here as "The Sparrow," or, en Francais, "Piaf." She was born Édith Giovanna Gassion in Paris. She has long been regarded as France's greatest popular singer of all time. One reason was the sheer emotion she would bring to the songs, especially the ballads. Take, for instance, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" can be translated as "No, I'm not sorry for anything." The song is sung in French, composed by Charles Dumont, with lyrics by Michel Vaucaire. It is most famously sung by the one and only Sparrow, Édith Piaf.

In 1964, Dame Shirley Bassey sang a song by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, from the musical 'The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd'. She was the first to record "Who Can I Turn To?", although it would later be a hit in the United States by Tony Bennett. She also performed the Hugh Martin and Timothy Gray song, "You'd Better Love Me".

When it comes to torch singers, it is tough to deny Judy Garland is up there with the best of them. When she was just 14, she filmed her first song for the movies, "You Made Me Love You". She didn't stop singing until she passed away 33 years later. Many of her great songs were about love - either looking for it, or having just lost it. She added her own touch of melancholia to Charlie Chaplin's "Smile".

Bartender, I'll have another round.

For Mandy & Mark • Married

Mandy & Mark photo Married001_zps548a053b.jpg

Later on today, My niece Mandy will be getting married here on the farm, joining her life path with that of Mark. You can see the happy couple above. I will not have pictures later, for I will not have my camera at hand. I will instead be a member of the wedding party, standing up for my niece. I thought and thought, but finally decided on the proper way to mark the occasion. I thought I would start the day with a song from the Broadway musical, 'Cabaret'.

Cabaret - 1998 Revival photo CABARETNewBroadwayCastRecordingCOVER_zps8ff30ddd.jpg

'Cabaret' was based on a book written by one of my favorite authors, Christopher Isherwood. He wrote 'Goodbye to Berlin' in 1939, and later the book was the basis for John Van Druten's 1951 play, 'I Am A Camera'. In 1966, John Kander and Fred Ebb adapted the story into a Broadway musical. In 1972, the film version was made, starring Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, and Michael York, and featuring the direction and choreography of the great Bob Fosse. There have been several revivals since then. The storyline focuses on the life of several people living in the rise of the Nazi Party in 1931 Germany, and how it took its toll on them all. In particular, we see the budding romance of Fräulein Schneider, a German landlady, and Herr Schultz, a Jewish vendor. While they fall in love, the political climate had other things in mind. In the 1998 revival, Fräulein Schneiderwas played by Mary Louise Wilson and Herr Schultz was played by Ron Rifkin. This is the song "Married" by Tony nominee Wilson and Tony winner Rifkin.

You can purchase the 1998 New Broadway Cast recording of 'Cabaret' from iTunes and Amazon.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jason Walker • Tell It To My Heart feat Bimbo Jones video

Jason Walker - Tell It to My Heart photo TellIt2MyHeart001_zps1ba128a4.jpg
Jason Walker - Tell It to My Heart photo TellIt2MyHeart002_zps736ae2b9.jpg Jason Walker - Tell It to My Heart photo TellIt2MyHeart003_zps5a4a8b4e.jpg

Bold, brash and breath-taking, it all is part of the experience when listening to the music of Jason Walker. That is certainly the case when Jason collaborates with Bimbo Jones on the Taylor Dayne hit, "Tell It To My Heart". About a month ago, I posted about the single, but now there is a music video, and I can't stop watching it! Filmed on the streets, the video was directed by Patricia Nieto. This is Jason Walker featuring Bimbo Jones with "Tell It To My Heart".

"Tell It To My Heart" can be found on 'Love/Sexo'. The song can be purchased as a single on iTunes and Amazon. 'Love/Sexo' is a 23-song release featuring some of the top performers of Dance and Pop music recording now. You can purchase the album from iTunes and Amazon. To learn more about Jason Walker, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, and 'like' him on Facebook. For more about Bimbo Jones, visit their official website. You can also 'like' them on Facebook, and 'follow' them on Twitter.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Matt Gold • Appreciated

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Matt Gold - Appreciated photo Appreciated002_zps8610f1ba.jpg Matt Gold - Appreciated photo Appreciated001_zps779eda7d.jpg

When I saw Matt Gold had a new music video out, I was instantly excited and couldn't wait to watch it. And to hear it. You see, ever since I head his first album, 'Drown Before You Swim', I've been a fan of his voice. And soon as the video began to play, I was excited, for it has a new sound and feel. While his earlier work has a personal feel, their is a delicious lightness to "Appreciated", and I just love it. And the music video is every bit as tasty, as it has such joy and whimsy. Just hit play and you will understand why I love Matt Gold's "Appreciated" so much!

I must assume that you now must love it too! The combination of animation and stop-action video adds to the light feel, and makes the video very bit a banquet for the eyes as it is for the ears! I had to buy it, and put it in my April 2014 playlist! "Appreciated' can be purchased from iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon. To learn more about Matt Gold, visit his official website. He can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Corday • Riding a Rainbow

Corday - Riding a Rainbow photo CordayRidingARainbowCOVER_zps29281719.jpg

The moment I read the email from Jennifer Corday, I went directly to iTunes to download the new single from the band Corday, "Riding a Rainbow". Not only am I a fan of the music of the Rockers, I am also impressed the money is going to charity. Jennifer was inspired to write the song while training for the AIDS Lifecycle ride. "The actual ride takes place June 1-7, and is 545 miles, from San Francisco to Los Angeles," she explained. "There are thousands of cyclers and this will be an amazing journey!" What she delivers is a beautiful and uplifting song I will listen to again and again. It might have been inspired by a bicycle ride, but it is asking us to be brave, and follow your dreams. This is Corday with "Riding a Rainbow".

The money from the sales of "Riding a Rainbow" will be going to AIDS Lyfecycle, a worthy charity. Jennifer needs $3,000 to participate in the ride, and you can help her get that done. You can purchase "Riding a Rainbow" from Jennifer's online store, iTunes, and Amazon. For more about Jennifer Corday, visit her official website, or you can 'like' her on Facebook. To learn more about AIDS/Lifecycle, visit their official website.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tim Campbell • High School Disco

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Tim Campbell - Play That Funky Music photo PlayThatFunkyMusic003_zpsae0c25a7.jpg Tim Campbell - Play That Funky Music photo PlayThatFunkyMusic002_zps0c23702c.jpg
Tim Campbell - Play That Funky Music photo PlayThatFunkyMusic004_zps8ca41087.jpg

I was first introduced by Tim Campbell when he was doing a Christmas duet with one of my favorite singers, Anthony Callea. A little bit of diligent research and I learned Tim was a talented actor and singer, as well as being Anthony's partner. And I was very excited when news broke that Tim signed on for his own album. I was doubly hyped when I saw a music video was released. I do love it when a handsome stud-muffin like Tim Campbell gets the makeover to be the geeky guy, only to soon show his true sexy side when the lights are burning bright. Damn, I guess I should have announced "Spoilers!" first, but after you check out the music video for "Play That Funky Music", I doubt you will mind at all. The song is the first off his debut album 'High School Disco'. The song was written by Robert Parissi, the lead singer of the band Wild Cherry. It was a huge hit for the band, making it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. It was the only hit for the band. In the video, Tim plays the geeky music teacher being run over by his students. He seeks a bit a relief when he breaks out in song, only to have the kids so impressed they join right in with him. This is the music video for Tim Campbell's "Play That Funky Music".

'High School Disco' is a collection of great songs given a fresh sound by Campbell and his cohorts. The album includes a bunch of songs that have been played and loved by generations of high school students, all looking to have some fun on the dance floor. Covering music by The Jacksons, Madonna, George Michael, Roxette, The Monkees, Simple Minds, The Isley Brothers, Peaches & Herb, and others, 'High School Disco' made me happy from the moment I hit play. Here is a taste of the album, with great clips of what went on behind the scenes.

See, you thought you couldn't like him more, or Find Tim any more adorable, and then you watched that video! But when I listen to 'High School Disco', it is the music that gets me going. Tim's voice is strong, and so filled with charm and charisma. I am particularly fond of "Holiday", "Footloose", "Faith" and "Shout!", and "Play That Funky Music". I have to admit, I love all 14 tracks, and can't get enough of 'High School Disco'. Whenever I listen to it, it is like an explosion of fun and joy takes place in my mind. So glad I own this!

Tim Campbell - High School Disco photo TimCampbellHighSchoolDiscoCOVER_zpsa1bf2c3c.jpg

'High School Disco' can be found in the Untied States on iTunes and Amazon. To learn more about Tim, visit his official website. You can also visit the official website for the album, which can give you information of the tour in Australia. If only I was in the right hemisphere, I'd so be cheering Tim on at as many performances I could attend! As for the social media, you can 'like' Tim on Facebook, and 'follow' him on Twitter. He is a blast to follow, and I would highly recommend you do it. Right after you buy 'High School Disco'.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dark Monday • Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris in 'Company' photo neil-patrick-harris-christina-hendricks-company-closing-04_zps518f0568.jpg
Neil Patrick Harris in 'Company' photo o-NEIL-PATRICK-HARRIS-COMPANY-facebook_zps0e8729dd.jpg
Top: Neil Patrick Harris with Christina Hendricks. Bottom: The cast of 'Company'.

To mark the occasion of the wedding this coming Saturday of my niece Amanda to her wrestling madmen, Mark, I thought I would bring up a little Stephen Sondheim, for it is impossible to go wrong with Sondheim. When I combine Stephen Sondheim with Neil Patrick Harris, it only gets better, right? And when I start off with a shirtless picture of NPH, it is beyond good, and into the levels of tasty that shouldn't be allowed, at least not in respectable blogs. Well, thankfully, this blog is not the kind of blog that might keep you from enjoying a little Stephen, a little Neil, and a little "Marry Me A Little" from the 2011 production of 'Company'.

Neil Patrick Harris was just the cherry on top of this star-studded production. Also in the cast were Stephen Colbert, Craig Bierko, Jon Cryer, Katie Finneran, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Lazar, Jill Paice, Martha Plimpton, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jim Walton, Chryssie Whitehead, and the always amazing Patti LuPone. You can purchase the DVD of 'Company' starring Neil Patrick Harris from Amazon. You can also rent of buy 'Company' from Amazon Instant Video. The production can also be found on iTunes, where you can rent or buy it!


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