Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gershwin's greatest song

 The other night a bunch of us were lying around listening to Guy Boleri playing the piano and he got on a Gershwin kick. And he played "Of Thee I Sing."

What a dazzling song, I was thinking. The beauty and dignity of the melody! The song starts with those gentle chromatic notes and then rises. So beautiful and bittersweet.

When it was over, as if reading my mind, my brother George spoke up.

"Gershwin's greatest song," he said.


Ella Fitzgerald gives it a nice uptempo performance.

 But I like a more slow and dignified performance of this song. Maybe it is the title. The version by Sarah Vaughan up above is not bad. But she fools around with the song's opening which I do not like. Sing it the way Gershwin wrote it, you know? You are not going to improve on Gershwin even if you are Sarah Vaughan.

I am a Sarah Vaughan fan with a lot of Sarah Vaughan vinyl. But I don't like this performance as much as many of her others. Still on YouTube it is the best I can find.

Oh man, listen to this. Here are outtakes from Sarah Vaughan's "Of Thee I Sing."

"I'm not with it tonight," she says. And: "I don't feel like being here. I'm just tired."

And: "There's a lovelight .... sh--!"

Am I a perceptive listener or what?

I knew something was wrong!

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