Dec 20, 2013

Fred's Early Years, Kay's Different Day, Plus Keely's A Fool, A L'il Classic Costes And An Electrified Secret Song!

It's almost time for holiday break - hooray! - so this will be the last Cheerful Earfull post until the new year. Will you miss me? What wonders will the new year bring? World peace? An end to hunger? Less of this? Oh, I hope and pray for all three. In the meantime, three Cheerful Exclusives! just for you.

Let's start with Fred Astaire. No, he can't really "sing" in the traditional sense, but jeez, does he ever have rhythm (obviously). There's also something else going on here. Call it a certain tone in his voice; one that's so lively, yet so soothing, you can't help but be drawn in. Ever since I got this, I've been listening to it non-stop, over and over. It's a great CD to play when you're preparing for company for the holiday, whether it be cooking, cleaning, or knocking a few back for no good reason at all.

Meanwhile, whoever's responsible for Kay's Starr's eyebrow situation below must be commended. They're...why, they're perfect (apologies for the pause, I was almost at a lose for words).

In this supah-rare 1949 session, Kay kicks it with blues guitarist Les Paul, jazz violinist Joe Venuti (who really shines here) and trumpeter Billy Butterfield in a collection of songs that includes "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen," which is perfection, and a swingin' version of "Betcha I Getcha." If you're still not done buying Christmas gifts, pop this in your iPod and put in your earbuds. It'll make shopping a breeze!

Don't you hate wrapping gifts? I do (and I'm awful at it). Don't worry. Keely will get you through it.

1962's "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" finds Keely sidelining jazz for a string of ballads - and the results are both wonderful and unintentionally giggly. Don't get me wrong, she's in fine voice, but the cheeseball orchestrations come at you like a brickbat. So much sugary sorrow, and so loud, as if you're being bear-hugged by a Douglas Sirk movie (and you know how I feel about that). But Keely transcends it all, her voice booming, as if she's trying to obliterate the orchestra (she nearly succeeds).

No, the picture below is not an adult, still-living Carrie White commanding the chandelier to fall on her fellow bar mates. It's some stoned-out-of-her-gourd French woman at Hotel Costes who's, like, sooooo amazed by the chandelier's crystals. Don't judge. We've all been there.

Which is as good a time as any to recommend having some cool, down-tempo lounge tunes for apres holiday. You know, you're exhausted. Feeling fat. You are. Over. It. All. So play 2001's "Hotel Costes Quatre." It's still one of my favorite Costes compilations, and it hasn't aged a lick.

The Secret Song File would like to party tonight. She's already gifted everyone with her mere presence, she's tired of hanging out with her relatives, she's ate some Christmas ham. She just wants to hang with a smart crowd and get dowwwwnnnn.

She has the perfect music to play for such a gathering. It's the new CD from an American, tuxedo-wearing, R&B songstress who no longer has to audition (*cough*) or walk a tightrope (*cough*cough*) to get your attention. Yes, this lady is that (*cough*cough*cough) electric.

Have a wonderful holiday and New Years!

Spread some cheer in the comments, if you like. 


Faze said...

Man, look at Fred and Cyd's ankles, each turned in at precisely the same angle. Same for the hands. Both left heels raised from the floor at same height. All that intense synchronization, yet the final effect was so loose and lively. Great shot! Good insights on Kay and Keely. I avoided Kay Starr for many years, for some reason having confused her with Ella Mae Morse ("Cow-cow Boogie" is a song with bad associations for me). Your several Kay-riffic posts since last summer have cleared up that little misunderstanding and freed me to enjoy this fine artist without compunction.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hooray! A Kay Starr convert!
Hope you have a great holiday, Faze.

James Sanford said...

Love the Astaire set. Hope you are enjoying the merriest of holiday seasons!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thank, James. Happy New Year!