I have no idea what the upstairs neighbors are doing to make so much noise, but it’s a five-person flat and the possibilities are endless. Rather than ask them to be still so I can entertain my public, I’ll record tomorrow’s final entry while those clodhoppers are at their day obs.
Put on “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) and fast-forward about 78 minutes in; by this point, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are singing “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” in a failed effort to coax a leopard down from a roof. With music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, it’s a song that lends itself to a number of situations.
Here’s my version, but it’s not nearly as funny:
In “Born Yesterday,” Judy Holliday hums the song annoyingly after her abusive boyfriend forbids her from speaking. All the while, she’s kicking his ass at cards.
(Note to self: choose tomorrow’s song tonight so you don’t have to scramble again tomorrow.)
I had no idea that there was an updated version of The Sound of Music on TV last night. I’ve seen the original film so many times it’s etched into memory. It’s a little kitschy for me, but any movie in which people are fleeing Nazis can’t be all bad. Besides, you get moments like these where everything just works out perfectly and your heart swells.
The version of this song I truly appreciate is John Coltrane’s cover, but it shares nothing in common with my version other than a basic melody and the fact that they were both recorded by black men in their 40s. I won’t pretend to know his motivation for transforming this treacly show tune into a jazz standard, but it’s an act of American genius, if I may wax jingoistic.
“Bye Bye Blackbird” was written by Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon; if I seem to be relying heavily on popular songs from the 1920s, I just can’t help it. That genre really lends itself to interpretation on the ukulele; the only other one I’ve found that meshes as well is soft rock from the 1970s, and I’m just not ready to explore that with you fine people just yet.
My version isn’t nearly as compelling as this one from the late, great (and extremely underrated) Julie London, but I don’t have her, ah, pipes.
I have no idea what song will appear here tomorrow; I’m sure the suspense is also killing my neighbors.
These selections are getting tougher and tougher! “You Made Me Love You” is another selection from the Great American Songbook; I seriously considered a Springsteen song, but I’m not sure we’d all have the patience to sit through my rendering of “Thunder Road.” (It is pretty epic, though.)
Here’s my version of “You Made me Love You;” I’m accepting that perfect is the enemy of the good, and I hope you’re also so inclined.
Harry James and his orchestra were one of many to perform this classic; clip is below.
After noodling around for a few years with the baritone uke, I’ve found that tunes of a certain era truly lend themselves to this instrument. Songs like this one from the Great American Songbook are generally in the sweet spot; must be all those maj7 chords.