Monday, March 12, 2012

Reconstructing Oz

Wizard of Oz poster Wizard of Oz poster
Wizard of Oz poster Wizard of Oz poster

Well, I often convince myself I have run out of ideas, and will never write another post again. Blogger's block, so to speak. So I go to YouTube, and meander through... And I found a clip of a concert version of The Wizard Of Oz, starring Jewel, Jackson Browne, Roger Daltry, and Nathan Lane as Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. Shot in 1995, I don't really remember this, but as one can only guess, Nathan was fantastic. Give it a watch as Nathan Lane sings If I Only Had The Nerve.

Well, that got me to thinking there are some great songs on the soundtrack, and they have been given some excellent treatments by a variety of people, so let's take a look at that. Take, for instance, this amazing duet with Barbra Streisand and songwriter Harold Arlen with a jazzy cover of Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead.

You can find this on Barbra's Duets album on iTunes and Amazon. One of the joys of this post is the next clip. I had heard of the Afghan Whigs, but hadn't realized they had recorded a cover of The Cowardly Lion's If I Only Had A Heart on the 1996 EP Bonnie & Clyde. The Cincinnati-based rockers serve an ample helping of blues in their music, so it is no real surprise this is a brilliantly moody and smokey take. I love it.

The band broke up in the late 1990s, although they have been reported to be playing together again. Although I can't find The Afghan Whig's If I Only Had A Heart online, you can purchase their most recent album, 1965 album on iTunes and Amazon. Once I started this, I remembered seeing a post by artist manager Dom Denny with singer/songwriter Joshua Payne, so I decided to check out his music. While doing this, I watched the following video, thinking it was very cute. So here is Joshua singing If I Only Had A Brain, the Scarecrow's song.

You can find out more about Joshua Payne on his official website. Although he didn't record the song, you can find his latest release, One Pass (The Working Tapes) Vol. 1, on iTunes and Amazon. I have mentioned my next artist before, because I find her music irresistible. Eva Cassidy had an amazing voice, and when it was just her and the guitar, magic was sure to be present. The following video was recorded live at the Blues Alley club, in Washington DC. Be prepared to be moved by her cover of the iconic song, Over The Rainbow.

Eva Cassidy passed away at age 33, after a battle with cancer. The video tape above was taken just months before she passed. But she left a legacy of amazing and heartfelt music. You can find Over The Rainbow on the Simply Eva album on iTunes or Amazon.


  1. Eva's 'Rainbow' is brilliant.
    And I think it was on his first album--back when they were called albums--that Harry Connick Jr did an amazing 'If I Only Had A Brain'.

  2. Bob, I have to admit I am not a big fan of Harry. So I will just take your word on it.

  3. I vaguely recall the 1995 concert. Mostly a memory of Jewel in that dress. And Jackson Browne as the Scarecrow. :)

  4. It would be fun to see Lane do the Lion's "King of the Forest" song.

  5. Writer, I truly don't remember it..

    Behr, too true!



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