Oct 25, 2013

A Cheerful Earful (No, Really), Nell Sings Out, Kay's Uncollected, Plus Hot Ovens And A Bad Girl Secret Song!

Hooray, happy day! I've been doing this blog for six years. Can you believe? Oh, what we've survived, dear reader. First the arrival of the blog, then four years into it, tres scandal - and the removal of every link by dastardly foes. But  fear not, great music refuses to back down, and so here we are today (which, of course, is a good time to remind you to grab everything you want when it's posted, because it could happen again) (you can always delete stuff later if it's not a keeper for you) (but you knew that).

So why not mark this occasion with "A Cheerful Earful" from Lew Davies and his orchestra? (note that two "L's" are used on this blog for "earfull") (the extra "L" is for "lusciousness") (but you knew that). It's brassy, it's peppy, and, yes, it's cheerful as all get out!

And now on to two Cheerful Exclusives!, starting with a fairly rare live CD with the one and only Nell Carter, who left us too early in 2003 after overcoming a cocaine addiction, two aneurysms, three miscarriages and diabetes. Despite this, Nell gave back, and in 1999, raised money to fight AIDS by performing with The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.

The sound quality's not always perfect, but the concert's unexpectedly moving. A Broadway diva for many years, Nell knew well the devastation she was fighting, and it's likely some of the chorus members knew first hand. The result -  with its mix of solos by Nell and several choral numbers - is likely to leave a lump in your throat by concert's end. But don't get too choked up. The loss of Nell and countless bright lights may be heavy, but they've left their indomitable human spirit on this CD.

On a lighter note, what can I say but, "Kay! Kay! Kay!"

Oh, what a happy day it was when my Cuban Luvuh gifted me with this diffy-to-find CD, "The Uncollected Kay Starr In The 1940's." These are the radio versions of Kay's jazziest, jumping-est songs and hits. Kay had her own sound, as we know - jazz tinged with a relaxed country vibe; she simply didn't sound like any other singer at the time - and in this terrific interview, she tells you how it all came about.

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen. We've got hot ovens. We've got steamy bathrooms. We've even got hot seats! Have you heard? There's a new book out called "Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age Of Industrial Musicals." Just imagine, Broadway composers and luminaries (Kander & Ebb! Florence Henderson!) putting on original shows for companies like Coke and Ford Motors in the 50's and swingin' 60's - and with a disco beat in the 70's.

If the book is as wonderfully strange as the music itself, then I'm so in. In the meantime, give a listen to this collection of songs, which includes a sassy opener about ovens called (wink-wink) "I've Got A Wide Range Of Features."

Sometimes people believe they can duplicate an original - but honestly, a cracked reflection of the real thing is no substitute. So take note, bitches ("bitches" or "bitch" being what Britney would say these days) (The Secret Song File is so on trend!). There's only one Secret Song, and after six years, she's here to stay.

Speaking of, some singers are here to stay even after they're dead, including a certain disco Queen who long ago left her cake out in the rain. But wouldn't you know, a group of today's "hot" DJs got together to remix her best-selling songs. I say "hot" in quotes, because some are considerably better than others, which means that some are (ahem) questionable (especially the first song). Still, if you're willing to to forage through this spanking new CD, you'll find more than a few winning tracks, I swear.

Sometimes you have to dig a little, don't you think? 

Prod and burrow in the comments, if you like!


James Sanford said...

RE: "Everything's Coming Up Profits." My father Tom Sanford was one of the people behind Westinghouse's "'79 Fever" campaign. I remember hearing the album and thinking, "This is where disco died..." But it was apparently a big hit with the office furniture community, so what did I know?

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I love it! It'll probably be interesting for you to read the book, if you haven't already. My favorite part isn't just the song's disco beat, though, it's the way the announcer calls out all the employees names - like a super-cheesy Bob Barker! If you still have the complete LP, by the way, you must share.

Tom said...

I love these wacky old Industrial Musicals! Such a strange phenomena. One of the best is the "Spirit of '66" JC Penney show. There's also a hilarious one caled "Got To Investigate Silicones" where GE proclaims silicones to be the answer to everything. I have a few of them if you'd want me to upload them. I have those two, as well as another GE one and an Exxon one.

Anonymous said...

Happy 6 Year Anniversary! Long may it continue!

Faze said...

Congratulations to you on the sixth anniversary of this outstanding blog. We will look back on this as a golden age when all this material danced at our fingertips with such witty and intelligent curation.

What a different world it would be American corporations had invested progressively increasing amounts in musical theater. Their stock may have become competitive on the basis of better songs and dance routines, until the entire national economy revolved around which company could mount the most tuneful, tap-crazy extravaganzas. We should encourage this.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thank you, Faze & Anonymous! And Faze, I'm all for the world competing for "the most tuneful, tap-crazy extravaganzas." Sounds like a worthy new Olympics category to me.

And Tom, I think I speak for everyone when I say, yes-yes, we'd love to hear your industrial goodies! :D

Tom said...

I've combined all four into one zip file:


Hope you enjoy them!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

OMG! I think I’ve died and gone to Industrial-Musical Heaven! Thank you so much, Tom. This is a treasure trove.

And hey, everyone, grab these goodies while the link’s still alive. IT’S WORTH IT.

James Sanford said...

There must be a copy of "'79 Fever" in my Mom's basement somewhere -- we had a dozen of 'em at one time! I will take a look the next time I visit and see if one survived. We also had a Westinghouse ASD neon disco light, which was very cool -- but I suspect that disappeared years ago.

E Craig said...

Congrats on 6 years!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thanks Craig, though like most things in life, this blog is older now. ;)