Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday Night With George Gershwin

Lola Albright photo LolaAlbright_zps7fedfe97.jpg Diana Krall photo DianaKrall_zps4c1b8060.jpg
Etta James photo EttaJames_zps2de0f432.jpg Cleo Laine photo CleoLaine_zps9d669dd5.jpg
Clockwise: Lola Albright; Diana Krall; Cleo Laine; and Etta James.

Tonight I felt like dedicating the post to the music of George Gershwin, an amazing man who contributed so many songs to the Great American Songbook. What is truly remarkable is that his career was cut short, with a brain tumor taking him away at age 38. Just think about the rich music he could have left behind had he live another 30 years! The first song I will bring you is a favorite of many, "I've Got A Crush On You". The song was written by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was used for two different Broadway productions, 'Treasure Girl' in 1928, and 'Strike Up the Band' in 1930. And while it has sung by the greatest voices in music, I though I would offer up a version by Lola Albright from her 1957 album, 'Lola Wants You'. Enjoy "I've Got A Crush On You".

Next up, I feature another composition by the brothers Gershwin. "They Can't Take That Away From Me" was introduced by Fred Astaire in the 1937 film 'Shall We Dance'. With the unmistakable music of George and the lyrics by Ira, the song has also been covered by many of the best in music. Whether taking it as pure Pop, or adding a wonderful Jazz twist, it is hard not to love it. I am particularly fond of this version by Diana Krall, who some might know from appearing on this blog before. Other might recognize her as the wife of rocker Elvis Costello. Enjoy her take on "They Can't Take That Away From Me".

Now I also happen to love "Embraceable You", another with music by George and lyrics by Ira. It was written in 1928 for an operetta that never came to be, but was published in 1930, when it found a home in the score of "Girl Crazy" and sung by the wonderful Ginger Rogers. But I went in a different direction, and invite you to listen to the wonderfully gritty and touching version by the late, great Etta James. Etta recorded in late in her career, as part of a album where she recorded some of the songs of Billie Holiday. I hope you love Etta James singing "Embraceable You".

In the final song of the night, I bring you the fourth song written by the Brothers Gershwin. "Bidin' My Time" was also introduced in the 1930 Broadway musical 'Girl Crazy', but not by Ginger Rogers. And while many of the notable version were sung by men, many women have also put their own mark on it. That would include the wonderful Cleo Laine, who recorded it in 1974 for her album, 'Spotlight On Cleo Laine'.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!


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