Sep 29, 2013

Pearl's Tired, Ya'll, Plus Fran Hangs Up, Fred's Flashman, Krupa's Drums And A Whale Of A Secret Song!

Pearl Bailey sure knew how to pick 'em. When she married jazz drummer Louis Bellson, did she care about all the trouble they'd get into given the differences in their skin color? Look at him. What do you think? And, please, why do you think she was appointed America's "Ambassador Of Love" by President Nixon in 1970? Which begs the question, who's the "Ambassador of Love" now? Please don't say it's this person (and yes, I'm generally predisposed to musicians and singers who piss people off, but I can't with her).

Pearl's first LP, "Pearl Bailey Entertains" - a Love Ambassador Cheerful Exclusive! - was released in 1950, and once you listen to it, you'll understand why she exploded onto the scene with such fanfare. Yet as thrilling as her up-tempo numbers are, my favorite is the opening track, "Tired," a demure little ditty that makes exhaustion sound just delicious.

Impossibly chic, unforgettably beautiful, Fran Jeffries was a popular nightclub singer in the late 50's and 60's who did not one, but two, stunning layouts for Playboy.

But get this, her most enduring song, "Meglio Stasera" ("It Had Better Be Tonight") - which she performed in Blake Edwards' original "Pink Panther" film - still hasn't been released, and it was never included on the soundtrack LP or CD. But at least we can still see it. Can you imagine a number this stylish being included in a mass-market slapstick comedy today? Yeah, me neither.

Given that sex-kitten-ish number, her voice on 1961's "Fran Can Really Hang You Up The Most" - a Playboy Gal Cheerful Exclusive! - is a lot more powerful and varied then I expected. And she sure swings with the best of them on numbers like Berlin's "Love And The Weather." Largely considered a novelty act throughout most of her career, she's begging to be re-discovered for something that was staring everyone in the face the entire time: her talent.

Did you love Lemon Jelly like I loved Lemon Jelly? Were you disappointed when they broke up took an indefinite hiatus? Me, too. But rejoice, Lemon-heads. Fred Deakin is still cranking out tunes, or at least intermittently.

In 2011, he released "To the Victor The Spoils," in collaboration with Robin Jones of The Beta Band, but only a thousand copies were put into distribution. That's a shame, because it's unlike any electronica I've ever heard, or at least lately (my Cuban Luvuh doesn't like electronica, so I listen to it on the down-low). Why is it so different? Maybe because it leans closer to jazz, or it could be the use of real instruments (which gives it breathable, human feel). Whatever the case, it's the best of its kind in a very long time. You're welcome.

Speaking of real instruments, if you're a drummer, then you no doubt know who this vanguard is:

Yes, it's Gene Krupa, the drumming phenom who invented tunable tom-toms, developed the modern hi-hat and was the very first to standardize (and popularize) modern cymbal techniques. Oh, and he was a dynamite player, too. Yes, there was a fairly dumb-dumb movie made about his life in 1959 (weed was the demon!), but really, his music talks the talk best of all.

But wait. Are you sitting? You might want to, because "Gene Krupa Drummin' Man" is a definite 4-CD collection of his best tracks - and I swear, the first time I put it on, I listened to it from start to finish (no, really). Plus, in addition to Gene, you'll hear our old friend Anita O'Day on a few tracks, along with many other popular singers. I know what you're thinking. "Four fucking discs? That's too much." Trust me, it's not. Or to paraphrase a faithful reader of this blog, "You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much Krupa."

The Secret Song File is always keeping an eye out for the next big thing - the next big trend, today's drink special, or below, someone to go home with (who isn't her date). Is that a hint? Mmm, no, but some things simply must be shared.

Do you like "Moby Dick?" This super-new CD isn't from a whale of an artist, or even a whale, but he has gotten into a few dick-ish feuds (with Eminem, most prominently, along with Marilyn Manson), and yes, sometimes it seems like he makes music for the sole purpose of licensing his tracks to Volkswagen. But these days, you have to play (*cough*) in order to make a buck, so who can blame him? Plus his new CD is lightly trippy and fun. What's not to like?

Why a feud? Isn't it better to get even? 

Settle a score or two in the comments, if you like!


Kh said...

Lemon Jelly/Deakin- didn't know there was something new…

That's two beers I owe you.

Kh said...

New whale in lossless. Three beers!

KH said...

Also- after seeing Fran Jeffries in "The Pink Panther" long ago, I've wanted to see her - umm- less clothed. Thanks for making that happen…

Hat trick!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

So much alcohol. How did you know I was so dry? And happy to oblige with Fran. In the video, her shoulder-shimmy is everything!

moift said...

according to her autobio, bellson proposed to her on the third date

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I love that. They knew. They just knew!

L'apprenti-poète said...

Would like the Krupa...but can't ....the download site is incompatible with my new Mac. So sad!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...


Use this link for PART 1:

The second link coming up shortly. ;)

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Here's the Krupa PART 2:


L'apprenti-poète said...


L'apprenti-poète said...

Just listened to the four thanks a lot!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're welcome! I'm so glad you were able to get it. :)

Nattering Nabob said...

Love your site!
I found you by doing a search for Pearl Bailey. I'm a big fan of her and most of the other artists you have here. I've never seen her 1950 original LP anywhere else.
I know this post is a couple years old but after getting the zip file I discovered its password protected. Same with a Dakota Staton from a while back. Any chance you remember what it is?
thanks, James

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hi James - and welcome! The password is: thecheerful

In case you ever forget it, it’s always on the far right side of the page, just after the comments bar.

Enjoy Pearlie Mae! :D

Nattering Nabob said...

Duh...guess I should've been a little more thorough.
Presently listening to the first cut "Tired" with a glass of Zin. A perfect accompaniment to the grey, rainy day here in NorCal.
Thanks again.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You’re welcome (and no “duh” necessary; how were you to know?).
Enjoy the Zin; it goes well with so many thinngs!