Saturday, January 13, 2007

Standards - Rodgers & Hart

My favorite music collection is The Complete Rodger & Hart Songbook. It's a 3 cd set I bought in probably 1996.

The first two cds are a collection of Rodgers & Hart songs sung by the best singers of Standards, among them Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett, Blossom Dearie, and even Cassandra Wilson.

The third cd is a collection of the same songs performed by the best jazz performers, including Miles Davis, Charley Parker, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, and Bill Evans.

Rodgers & Hart wrote for Broadway and wrote some of the most famous songs in "The Great American Songbook" including:

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
My Romance
I'll Take Manhattan
Blue Moon
My Funny Valentine
The Lady is a Tramp

My favorite song of the collection is probably Ella Fitzgerald performing Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.

The song appears in the score for "Pal Joey," which debuted on Broadway in 1940. It's a standard you have heard dozens of times. It's a wistful, melancholy song:

Lost my heart, but what of it
He is cold I agree
He can laugh, but I love it
Although the laugh's on me

I'll sing to him, each spring to him
And long, for the day when I'll cling to him
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - am I

The song often ends with this lyric.

The Ella Fitzgerald version, however, combines the reprise with the original song, which changes the song from melancholy to strong and hopeful as the singer moves past the bad relationship to a new strength:

Couldn't eat, was dispeptic
Life was so hard to bear
Now my heart's antiseptic
Since you moved out of there

Romance, finis. Your chance, finis.
Those ants that invaded my pants, finis.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - no more

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