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57 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 04 March 2012

Russell Davies celebrates the art, craft and inspiration of the popular song.

Music Played

13 items
  • Image for Danny Kaye

    Danny Kaye Bloop Bleep

    “Danny Kaye – Ballin’ The Jack”

    Memoir, CDMOIR 559

  • Image for Peggy Lee

    Peggy Lee Is That All There Is

    “Peggy Lee: ‘A Natural Woman’/’Is That All There Is?’ ”

    Capitol, 7243 5 92657 2 8

  • Image for Peggy Lee

    Peggy Lee Me And My Shadow

    “Peggy Lee: ‘A Natural Woman’/’Is That All There Is?’ ”

    Capitol, 7243 5 92657 2 8

  • Image for Paul McCartney

    Paul McCartney We Three

    “Paul Mccartney: Kisses On The Bottom”

    Concord/Universal, HRM 33369-02

  • Image for Dick Robertson

    Dick Robertson Chinese Laundry Blues

    “The New York Session Man: Dick Robertson”

    Timeless, CBC 1-008

  • Image for Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra You're Gonna Hear From Me

    Frank Sinatra: That’s Life

    Reprise, 7599-27039-2

  • Image for Dory Previn

    Dory Previn A Stone For Bessie Smith

    “Dory Previn: Mythical Kings And Iguanas”

    United Artists Records, UAG 29186 [LP]

  • Image for Louis Armstrong & The Mills Brothers

    Louis Armstrong & The Mills Brothers In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree

    “The Complete Louis Armstrong Decca Sessions”

    Mosaic, MD7 243

  • Image for Leon Redbone

    Leon Redbone Pretty Baby

    “Leon Redbone – ‘Sugar’ ”

    Blue Thumb Records, 549 765-2

  • Image for Judy Garland & Cast

    Judy Garland & Cast Play That Barbershop Chord

    “The American Songbook” [2 CD Compilation]

    Rex, Rexx 309

  • Image for Bert Williams

    Bert Williams Nobody

    “Bert Williams: The Middle Years – 1910-1918”

    Archeophone, Arch 5003

  • Image for Paul McCartney

    Paul McCartney More I Cannot Wish You

    “Paul McCartney: Kisses On The Bottom”

    Concord/Universal, HRM 33369-02

  • Image for Audrey Hepburn

    Audrey Hepburn Moon River

    “Breakfast At Tiffany’s 50th Anniversary Edition”

    Jackpot Records, 48730

  • This Week's Show:

    Aren’t we fortunate! Week in, week out in the Song Show we feel gratitude for being born in the age of recording, when we can look back over 100 years and more of audio history to assess what artists of the past were really like, be they classical virtuosi, popular artists, orators or comics. With brilliant restoration techniques now available, even the earliest recordings can be heard and enjoyed as, in this week’s show, the 99 year old performance of the great Bert Williams. Only a generation before his, Bert Williams couldn’t be described as “the great” with any authority as the only evidence would be hearsay. Now, with these precious discs, we can hear the comedy and brilliant timing loud and clear.

    We really should investigate more thoroughly the life and work of Egbert Austin Williams and a fine place to start is with the three excellent CDs published by Archeophone records for, in addition to their three accompanying booklets which give comprehensive biographical detail and many illustrations, together collect no less that 81 of his timeless performances between 1901 and 1922, including songs that remain familiar to this day, borrowed as they have been by later artists (Phil Harris, Nina Simone, Ry Cooder and many more) such as ‘Woodman, Spare That Tree’, ‘The Darktown Poker Club’, ‘Play That Barbershop Chord’ and, of course, ‘Nobody’.

    Yes, we’re fortunate - but Williams wasn’t. W C Fields said “Bert Williams is the funniest man I ever saw – the saddest man I ever knew.”

  • Featured In This Week's Show: Paul McCartney

    Featured In This Week's Show: Paul McCartney

  • Recommendations:

    “The American Songbook” is a curious collection from Rex Recordings – 50 performances on 2 CDs with no particular system that we can detect. And yet, for all its haphazardness, odd programming and spelling mistakes (June Christy appears throughout as ‘Christie’ for instance) it is crammed full of good things – and fine and rare artists: Bob Manning, Connie Russell, Georgia Carr, for instance, alongside the Frank Sinatras, Ella Fitzgeralds, Jo Staffords and Judy Garlands. The number is REXX 309.

    May we give a warm welcome to Sir Paul McCartney’s “Kisses On The Bottom’ and while we may disapprove in a small way of tampering with the perfectly good lyrics of Frank Loesser (as mentioned in the show), we feel that of all the albums made by rock or pop artists visiting the music of their antecedents, Paul’s is most in sympathy with that music. The backing artists he’s chosen are nonpareil, the recording sound just wonderful and the songs he’s chosen, like ‘The Glory Of Love’, ‘Its Only A Paper Moon’ and his own ‘My Valentine’, tellingly romantic. Strongly recommended: Ask for HRM 33369-02.

    Quick mention for the “Breakfast At Tiffany’s 50th Anniversary Edition” on Jackpot 48730 which gives us largely instrumental tracks from the movie, some from the soundtrack, others from later Mancini albums and yet others from single ‘associations’ with the movie (Danny Williams & Jerry Butler for example). It comes with a nice booklet detailing the movie and with plenty of pics of Miss Hepburn!


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