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57 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 20 January 2013

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

Music Played

12 items
  • Image for Donna Fuller

    Donna Fuller Dusky January

    “Donna Fuller 1959 LP: ‘My Foolish Heart’ ”

    Liberty, LRP 3024

  • Image for Mel Tormé

    Mel Tormé Isn't It A Pity

    “Mel Tormé Plays It Cool”

    Metro, METRCD 131

  • Image for Bing Crosby

    Bing Crosby Home On The Range

    “The Chronological Bing Crosby Vol 13”

    Jonzo, JZCD 13

  • Image for Original Cast “Call Me Madam”

    Original Cast “Call Me Madam” They Like Ike

    “Original Broadway Cast Recording: ‘Call Me Madam’ ”

    Naxos, 8.120794

  • Image for Ella Fitzgerald

    Ella Fitzgerald Let's Take A Walk Around The Block

    “Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Harold Arlen Songbook”

    Verve, 314 519 845-2

  • Image for Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra Last Night When We Were Young

    “Frank Sinatra: In The Wee Small Hours”

    Capitol, CDP 7 96826 2

  • Image for Jo Stafford

    Jo Stafford I've Got The World On A String

    “Jo Stafford – Jo + Jazz”

    Corinthian, 108

  • Image for Arnold Johnson Orch W. Harold Arlen Quintet

    Arnold Johnson Orch W. Harold Arlen Quintet I'm Ridin' To Glory

    Not Found By Us On Any Re-Issue

    Brunswick, E 26534 [78 RPM Single]

  • Image for Nat King Cole

    Nat King Cole Annabelle

    “This Is Nat King Cole” [1957 Album]

    Capitol/Collectors Choice Music, CCM 8692

  • Image for Ray Charles

    Ray Charles Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'

    “Ray Charles – The Genius In Person” [2 CD Set]

    Jasmine, JASCD 160

  • Image for Lionel Hampton

    Lionel Hampton Don't Let The Landlord Gyp You

    “Lionel Hampton: Chronological Classics - 1946”

    Chronological Classics, 946

  • Image for Rebecca Kilgore

    Rebecca Kilgore Don't Let It Bother You

    “Rebecca Kilgore – ‘Make Someone Happy’”

    Audiophile, ACD 319

  • This Week's Show:

    Back before Christmas, a listener alerted us to a new biography of E Y “Yip” Harburg and our copy of the book - “Yip Harburg – Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist” by Harriet Hyman Alonso – arrived just in time for the holiday. We’re not through it yet but have been much enjoying it, as we mentioned in the programme this week, and we’ll no doubt be returning to the subject over future weeks. First thoughts are that is a well-written, thoroughly researched piece of work, which tells the story in large part through interviews from here, there and everywhere, often using Yip’s own lyrics and poems to echo the themes. Yip was known as “Broadway’s Social Conscience” and Ms Alonso includes stories of his uncompromising attitude about causes he felt passionately for, the attitude that drove him to write the great Depression-era song “Brother, an You Spare A Dime” and that, a decade-and-a-half later, got him blacklisted in the awful McCCarthyist era. In contrast, he had a battle with the great choreographer Agnes De Mille, similarly high-minded, who in the musical “Bloomer Girl” wanted to stage a ‘Civil War Ballet’ to express womens’ reaction to war, a dance which Yip felt had no place in a Musical intended as “romantic, light-hearted and humorous”.
    There are well-drawn portraits of many of Harburg’s collaborators and numerous illustrations – private, informal family snaps, Broadway stage studies, posters etc., It’s a good read, in fact. Publishers are Wesleyan University Press.

  • Featured In This Week's Show: Jo Stafford

    Featured In This Week's Show: Jo Stafford

  • Recommendations:

    “Jo + Jazz” the classic album that provided Jo Stafford’s excellent interpretation of “I’ve Got The World On A String” for us, came out originally from Columbia records in 1960 and was acclaimed by a small coterie of aficionado, blessed as it was by that perfectly judged vocal delivery, surrounded by a positive galaxy of star musicians – Conte Candoli, Don Fagerquist and Ray Nance in the brass department, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster among the reeds and Jimmy Rowles on piano adding that Ellingtonian touch - plus others, all led by Johnny Mandel. Not generally noticed, though, it vanished from the catalogues until Jo and her husband Paul Weston put it out again, many years later, on their own Corinthian label. Today it isn’t easy to find, but it is well worth searching for. Through twelve great performances, Duke Ellington is of course the pervading influence with so many of his stars in the line-up and two of his numbers in the programme. There’s one (‘Day Dream’) by Billy Strayhorn while other songs include Lionel Hampton’s ‘Midnight Sun’, Lunceford & Oliver’s “Dream Of You”, Andy Razaf & Paul Denniker’s “S’posin’” as well as good old standards by Cole Porter (‘You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To’), Kern & Hammerstein (‘The Folks Who Live On The Hill’), Dubin & Burke (‘For You’) Walter Donaldson & Abe Lyman (‘What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry’) and Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke (‘Imagination’). It’s a desert island disc if ever there was one. Corinthian 108 is the number.


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