Aug 25, 2012

All About Martha, Plus Fred Beats One Out, Julie's Feelings And A Gory Secret Song!

In 1970, an astonishing, bootleg, 2-LP set entitled "Legends: Martha Raye" was released - then promptly went out of print. Arrrrgh! Yet a few weeks ago, my Cuban Luvuh was strolling amiably through the used LP section at our local Amoeba - and he found it. Oh, happy day! I was shocked. I still am. If you're a Martha Raye fan (like I am), this is the Holy Grail.

What makes this Cheerful Exclusive LP so satisfying is how wide-ranging it is. You get Martha's jazz vocal efforts in movies from the 1930's through the 40's, her later vocal performances from a wide range of TV variety programs - they're amongst the best here; her rendition of "Is That All There Is?" rivals Peggy Lee's - and even a few cuts from her Broadway turn in the title role of "Hello, Dolly." In other words, it runs the gamut.

When you listen to her perform "Sing For Your Supper" or "Truckin'," for instance, you'll realize why Anita O'Day credits her as being the primary influence on her style - more than any other singer. "It was Martha Ray who showed me what I wanted to do with my life," O'Day said. "I saw her in an early movie singing 'Mr. Pagianini' - doing ad-libs of 'dah-dah-dah.' She was what they call a natural. And she gave me the idea that I could sing jazz and still perform." Mel Torme also cited Raye as a major influence, Kaye Ballard claims she learned everything about both singing and comedy from Raye, and Ruth Etting said that no one ever sung a ballad like Raye.

Just be aware that the quality of the recordings on the LPs are variable. The TV performances sound terrific, the movie songs are likely pulled from the original film tracks and the Broadway stage numbers are probably from a sound board. But they're all wonderful.

And on we go. This comely lass is a noted UK singer. Know who it is? (I didn't).

It's Julie Rogers, who had a big worldwide hit with "The Wedding" in the early 1960's and went on to continued success in the UK - and just missed out when producers chose Nancy Sinatra's version of "You Only Live Twice" for the 1960's James Bond movie over hers (dammit).

And yet she's kept at it - wonderfully, as I've learned, and in her 1972 LP "With Feeling," a Cheerful Exclusive, she trills, she belts, and in the final cut on the LP entitled "Now," she truly cuts loose in a number that's both wonderfully bonkers and even a little trippy. You'll love it.

When I think of terrific jazz and standards performers, I don't often think of Fred Astaire, who I always thought sounded a bit drone-ish in his films (which I excused because of his dancing) (of course), so I was wary when I picked up a compilation of his songs.

But guess what? After the first song or so, I did a sort of Scooby-Doo "Re-Re?" head-turn. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he has a fantastic sense of rhythm as a singer - and because of it, even with his limited vocal range, he knows exactly where to hit hard, then soft, and how long to hold a note before springing onto the next. It also helps that these songs, including all the classics, like "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "Night And Day," have been gorgeously remastered. This CD was a real surprise for me. And I love surprises!

By the way, as a reminder, most files here require a password to open - it's a super-simple password, thecheerful - and some LPs, which are in two or three folders, require you to download all the folders in order for you to open everything. Why? Because I'm doing mostly lossless these days, so the music files are bigger. Confused? Don't be. It's all intuitive. Blah-blah-blah. Technical stuff. Zzzzz.

Meanwhile, the Secret Song File would like to remind you that the world can be a violent place, and even the most beautiful amongst us might find themselves having to scrub some of life's detritus from their bodies (in the Secret Song's case, while wearing a lacy La Perla bra) (obviously).

Has the world caused you to, um, bleed (bleed) (bleed) (cough, cough, cough)? It probably has if you're a certain glam-pop group who likes to have lots of drugs in their bodies (ah-choo!). And while their bouncy new CD, which I know you're going to listen to...again and again (gazuntight-I'm-being-so-obvious-with-my-clues), may not make you bleed (bleed) (bleed), at least your heart will feel something. Right? Right? Hey, where's the rave? Anybody got a lolli? Good gawd, I'm thirsty!

Or as Ryan Lochte would say, "Jeah!" (or is it, "Durp"). 

Divulge whatever you like in the comments! I won't judge!


KH said...

>>> "some LPs, which are in two or three folders, require you to download all the folders in order for you to open everything."

I think it's better to make one big download. If you don't have a paid subscription to these services, you can only DL one file at a time, which becomes laborious.

But lossless is great!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Mediafire allows you to DL multiple files at a time. The other ones, like Rapidshare, I won't use for multi-part DLs, I promise!

Faze said...

So was the Martha Raye mouth thing a plus or minus for her? It took me years to discover how much there was to her beyond that Joe E. Lewis gape. She was one musical gal. I'm looking forward to this download! Oh, and I've never underrated Fred Astaire's singing since I learned that Bobby Short cited him as his biggest influence. I can't hear it myself ...

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I think of it as a plus, since being a "big mouth" comicgave her a - though not primarily a singing one. Bobby Short was influenced by Astaire?? Hmm. I need to think about that one.

NYC Smallville said...

How do I unzip these files? They are not downloading as regular zip files. Thanks!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You need to download all files before unzipping.

For example, if you're downloading Martha Raye, download both files COMPLETELY. Once they're both downloaded, click on either one of them, provide the password thecheerful, and it will all unzip into one FABULOUS music file!

NYC Smallville said...

Thank you Cheerful. Are they supposed to download with .001 and .002 at the end of the file name? That's how they are downloading for me. I am usually able to download regular zip and rar files.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Yes, they download with the .001 and .002 at the end. Just click one, enter the password and it will all unzip!

They're merely "split" zip files since Mediafire has a file size limit.

NYC Smallville said...

Thanks for your help!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Cheerful!

I'm having problems unzipping the Martha Raye files, too. I've tried two different programs and it only unzipped in one. Unfortunately, once it unzipped, the files were not readable .m4a's since there was zero KB to the file. Any thoughts?

Thanks for ALL you do! I appreciate it SO MUCH!!!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hmm. Have you downloaded both files (.001 & .002) before you try to open? If you just try to open with one file downloaded, it won't work.

If you're still having trouble, let me know, and I'll upload Martha as one big file to another site.

Anonymous said...

Yep, definitely did.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Okay, it's reupped. Go at it again. ;)

oscarjaffe said...

Martha downloaded perfectly, but Rapidshare being the prissy diva that it is, downloaded the Julie Rogers lp for over 2 hours and then decompressed! I hate rapidshare! Can you please reupload this one in Mediafire?


Anonymous said...

Worked like a charm! THANKS, AGAIN!! :D

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're welcome, Anon.

And Oscar, Julie's being re-upped in two split files to MediaFire as we speak!

I'm taking off for the day, so if anyone else is having problems with opening split files:

to open split files (or any file)
for Windows or Mac.
It's free!!


Brian said...


Love your blog. Get to hear some terrific music.

Downloaded the Julie Rogers but there seems to be a problem with This Is me. Could you please re-up that track?


The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hey, Brian!

Try this link for "This Is Me:"

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for a little over a year now. THANK YOU so much for introducing me to so many fabulous jazz vocal artists! I have learned so much from you. I've officially named you my gay music fairy Godmother!And I have a Latin Luvah too! Keep up the awesome work!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're so-o-o-o-o welcome, Ron! And you have a Latin Lovuh, too??

*promptly faints*

KH said...

"Mediafire allows you to DL multiple files at a time. The other ones, like Rapidshare, I won't use for multi-part DLs, I promise!"

I tried to DL the three Fred Astaire Mediafire archives at the same time, and was told I needed a "MediaPro" account to do that. Am I missing something?

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I'm not sure. When I DL, for example, a series of files from Mediafire - one after another, so that they're DL at the same time - it occasionally asks for a captcha on the third or fourth, but that's it. If something is popping up asking if you'd like to go 'pro," try clicking no, or clicking it off and just continue.

KH said...

I see what you mean. The DL fails if you check multiple files, and DL at once - but if you start one DL, then start another DL, then start another- it works.


moift said...

do you have the martha raye/carol burnett recording? thank

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I do. The link is below. Enjoy!