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57 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 24 February 2013

Not one major theme this week but a lot of interesting minor ones take up Russell's time, from a new release featuring a song ('I've Got A Lot Of Livin' To Do') whose (quote) 'high-powered smarminess gives me the abdabs' which he contrasts with a similarly-themed one ('I'm Gonna Live Till I Die') which doesn't. Messrs Jack Jones and Frankie Laine, respectively, oblige. This is followed by a Duke Ellington song for which Mr Laine provided the lyric ('What Am I Here For' sung by Patti Page) and an Ellington recording from 75 years ago to the day ('Skrontch', with Ivie Anderson).

The memory of two departing trumpeters - Pat Halcox, who played for Chris Barber for 54 years; and US veteran modernist, Donald Byrd, is suitably celebrated in the first case by Barber's recording of a rare Fats Waller tune that features Pat; and in the second by a Rita Reys date that includes Byrd with fellow members of Art Blakey's group. A new release that spotlights 10 'Prima Donnas Du Jazz' gives us Helen Merrill with 'All Of You' and then the recent biography of E Y Harburg is the cue to hear Harburg himself singing 'Lydia The Tattooed Lady' and Harold Arlen perform 'Over The Rainbow'. Continuing a songwriters-with-their-own-song theme, we get Johnny Mercer with 'Blues In The Night' and, finally, a recollection of Peggy Lee by Australian chanteuse Janet Seidel.

Music Played

12 items
  • Image for Jack Jones

    Jack Jones I've Got A Lot Of Livin' To Do

    “Jack Jones: I’ve Got A Lot Of Livin’ To Do/Gift Of Love”

    SEPIA, SEPIA 1211

  • Image for Frankie Laine

    Frankie Laine I'm Gonna Live Till I Die

    “Franke Laine – I Believe: Excellent 27 Tk Compilation”

    Memoir, CDMOIR 586

  • Image for Patti Page

    Patti Page What Am I Here For

    “Patti Page With Pete Rugolo / In The Land Of Hi-Fi”

    Fresh Sound, FSR 544

  • Image for Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

    Duke Ellington & His Orchestra Scrounch [Skrontch]

    “Ivie & Duke Vol. 2”

    HEP, HEP CD 1069

  • Image for George Formby

    George Formby Grandad's Flannelette Nightshirt

    “When I’m Cleaning Windows – George Formby 1936-40”

    ASV Living Era, CD AJA 5079

  • Image for Chris Barber's Jazz Band

    Chris Barber's Jazz Band If You Can't Be Good, Be Careful

    “Chris Barber’s Jazz Band W. Ottilie Patterson: Best Yet!”

    Lake, LACD 219

  • Image for Rita Reys

    Rita Reys My One And Only Love

    “The Cool Voice Of Rita Reys”

    Philips, UCCU 5137

  • Image for Helen Merrill

    Helen Merrill All Of You

    “Les Prima Donna Du Jazz [10 Cd Set From France]”

    Cristal [Harmonia Mundi Distrib.], CR 401.10

  • Image for Yip Harburg

    Yip Harburg Lydia The Tattooed Lady

    “Yip Sings Harburg”

    Koch International Classics, 3-7386-2

  • Image for Harold Arlen

    Harold Arlen Over The Rainbow

    “St Louis Woman / Harold Arlen And His Songs”

    DRG, 19078

  • Image for Johnny Mercer

    Johnny Mercer Blues In The Night

    “Personality: Johnny Mercer Sings”

    ASV Living Era, CD AJA 5430

  • Image for Janet Seidel

    Janet Seidel It Takes A Long, Long Train With A Red Caboose

    “Janet Seidel – Don’t Smoke In Bed”

    La Brava Music, LB 0050

  • This Week's Show

    Not for the first time have we been struck by the way that steam locomotion has influenced the songwriters’ art. It was our final track this week that started this train of thought – and apologies for these puns, by the way, which seem to just come naturally with the subject. Stations are, of course, venues for parting and re-uniting - always been Tin Pan Alley’s bread and butter, hence songs like ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’, ‘When The Midnight Choo Choo Leaves For Alabam’, ‘Waiting For The Train To Come In’ and many more. The distant wail of US trains across the prairies was a catalyst for Johnny Mercer’s imagination (‘Blues In The Night’, ‘I Thought About You’, ‘On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe’) while constant travelling across America and around the world, the life of bandleader Duke Ellington, gave rise to his railroad songs: One of his earliest compositions was ‘Choo Choo’ and he went on to write ‘Happy Go Lucky Local’, ‘Daybreak Express’, ‘Across The Track Blues’, ‘Trains That Pass In The Night’, ‘Night Train To Memphis’ etc., and of course Billy Strayhorn contributed ‘Take The ‘A’ Train’. Work on the railways, too, provided grist for many a songwriter’s mill – particularly folksong writers, with ‘Rock Island Line’, ‘Working On The Railroad’ and ‘Railroader’s Lament’. And the train as a symbol found its way into countless spiritual melodies – ‘Life’s Railway To Heaven’, ‘De Gospel Train’, ‘Peace Train’. But the archetypal train song? We leave that to you to decide!

  • Featured In This Week's Show: George Formby

    Featured In This Week's Show: George Formby

  • Recommendations

    Having been a bit unsympathetic to the title track of the new Jack Jones release from Sepia, we want to make it clear that our feelings don’t extend to the CD as a whole! In fact both albums that it’s comprised of – “I’ve Got A Lot Of Livin’ To Do” from 1960-61 and “Gift Of Love” made in 1962 – have much to commend them. Jack’s voice is terrific throughout and the accompaniments (Billy May & Marty Paich on the former; Chuck Sagle and Glenn Osser on the latter) non-pareil. The choice of material is good, too, and it’s interesting to compare Jack’s performance of “The Donkey Serenade” with the very famous one by his father, 22 years earlier. The number is Sepia 1211.

    Our tribute to Chris Barber’s long-serving trumpeter Pat Halcox, who died recently was all too brief but we can remember him better by enjoying his work on the Lake CD “Chris Barber’s Jazz Band – Best Yet!” (LACD 219). Limited as we are by the need to use vocal tracks, we couldn’t bring you the extended performances by Pat that are here in abundance on tracks like “Stevedore Stomp”, “Moose March” and “Blueberry Hill”.

    Dutch vocaliste supreme Rita Reys shines throughout “The Cool Voice Of Rita Reys” on Philips UCCU 5137, (a CD produced in Japan, by the way) ably assisted by, on 6 tracks, The Wessel Ilcken Combo and on a further 6 by members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Superior songs, too, from The Gershwins, Loesser, Rodgers & Hart etc., Our favourite has to be Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”.


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