Keeping the GAS (Great America Songbook) Flame Burning,”Body and Soul”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout Background/Discussion Composer Johnny Green wrote some very fine songs although very few. His justly famous landmark “Body and Soul” was interpolated in the 1930 musical revue Three’s a Crowd which starred Clifton Webb and Libby Holman, who sang the song. Note I said “interpolated,” since the song was written… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great America Songbook) Flame Burning,”Body and Soul”

Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “Easy Living”

 By Roger Crane, Song Scout   Background When composer-musicologist Alec Wilder’s highly literate book “American Popular Song – the Great Innovators” was published by the Oxford Press in 1972 one of my favorite pastimes was making two lists. 1) Superior songs that he missed or for which he did not share my enthusiasm. 2) Songs… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “Easy Living”

Obscure but Worthy: Looking at Revivable Songs, “Moon and Sand”

Roger Crane, the Song Scout Introduction Some songs, of course, are obscure because they should be but, for each of those there are many others that are worthy of more attention. For the fourth entry in this occasional series I will address Alec Wilder’s 1941 “Moon and Sand.” By most accounts the multi-faceted Wilder was… Read More Obscure but Worthy: Looking at Revivable Songs, “Moon and Sand”

Obscure but Worthy: Looking at Revivable Songs, “Early Autumn”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout Introduction For the third entry in this “Obscure but Worthy” song series I present “Early Autumn” which is, thanks to the Stan Getz memorable recording, perhaps not too obscure among jazz fans. But, although the song with Johnny Mercer lyrics is noted abroad, it is comparatively little known in… Read More Obscure but Worthy: Looking at Revivable Songs, “Early Autumn”

Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout Background/Discussion A piano bar (not many of those anymore), a few booths and some concealing drapes between plaster pillars with a big white piano in the center. Dix and Laurel (Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame), seated on stools around the piano, are directly across from the singer-pianist, Hadda Brooks,… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You”

Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “Darn That Dream”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout Background/Discussion Jimmy Van Heusen wrote “Darn That Dream” for the unsuccessful Broadway production Swingin’ the Dream. The original show incorporated artwork and sets by Walt Disney, music by the Benny Goodman Sextet, and an extravagant cast of 150 people, including Louis Armstrong, Maxine Sullivan and the Dandridge Sisters. Despite… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “Darn That Dream”

Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “More Than You Know”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout Background/Discussion Vincent Youmans’ “More Than You Know” (from the 1929 musical Great Day) may be a perfect song – musically. But, if that is too reverent, how about a “perfectly” wonderful ballad. Let’s start with the well-written verse in E-flat minor, which is nearly a complete song in itself.… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning: “More Than You Know”

“Lisa” and the Music in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout For nearly half a century Alfred Hitchcock created films filled with interesting, gripping and illuminating music. Unlike many film directors he both loved and understood music and that, in a sense, the soundtrack is a character in a film. He employed more musical styles (e.g., popular, classical, avant-garde) than… Read More “Lisa” and the Music in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”