Clockwise: Sarah Vaughan, Margie Rayburn, Ann Richards, and Kay Starr.
While I usually allow some amazing performances from lady Jazz singers to deliver torch songs on Saturday nights, tonight was I inspired by an old recording I came across, Ultra-Lounge's 'Divas Las Vegas!'. The uptempo numbers were just what the doctor ordered. I discovered the album while watching 'The Opposite Sex' on TCM, which featured one of the singers on the album, Dolores Gray. While she won't appear tonight, I do look forward to featuring her some evening soon. The 'Divas' album showcased some of the ladies who played the gambling center of the world, delivering great Jazz and Pop mussic to all who paid to hear it. I will start with a favorite of mine, Sarah Vaughan. With a song written by Mann Curtis, Al Hoffman, and Walter Kent, best known when sung by Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack pals. But when Sarah gets hold of it, the song will never be the same. This is "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die" by the amazing Sarah Vaughan.
The next track was also the second off the album. "This Could Be the Start of Something" is a popular song written by Steve Allen, better known as a television host, the first to host 'The Tonight Show' from 1954 to 1957. It was during this time he wrote the song, which was published in 1956. It soon became the theme song to 'The Tonight Show' until Allen left. The song became a big hit, and was quickly recorded by some of the biggest names of the time, including Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald. Margie Rayburn first became known as part of the group The Sunnysiders, who had a couple of hits in the 1950s. This is Rayburn singing "This Could Be The Start of Something".
The next song was written for the great Judy Holliday, who starred in the 1956 Broadway hit, 'Bells Are Ringing'. With a melody written by Jule Styne and the lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, this song was destined to be great. Soon it was being recorded by many of the greats of the time, That list would include Kay Starr, who Billie Holiday said was "the only white woman who could sing the blues". High praise indeed from the singer many believe to be the best Jazz singer of all time. This is Kay Starr singing "Just In Time".
The final track for this evening is a great one, to be sure. With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, "Something's Coming" was written for the 1957 Broadway production of 'West Side Story'. The show was a huge hit, and soon people were lining up to sing the songs from the show. Singer Ann Richards began her career as a big band singer, and was noticed what singing for Stan Kenton and is orchestra. Soon there was more than a professional relationship, as Richards and Kenton not only got married, but had two children. This is "Something's Coming" by Ann Richards!
Enjoy your weekend!