Jul 26, 2014

A Twosome With Mancini, Anita Swings With Stan, Plus A Oui-Oui Affirmative Secret Song!

Behold the glamor! Few Hollywood actresses were as beautiful, much less as talented, as Lee Remick. As a wee li'l tot, I first discovered her in the original "Omen" movie (her blue eyes popping open in horror is an indelible image). Only later did I learn that she made an enduring mark on the Broadway stage - in a cult Stephen Sondheim musical, thankyouverymuch - and starred in countless movies. Her best, I think, was Blake Edwards' "Days Of Wine And Roses" (an absolute must if you haven't seen it), which boasted an Oscar-winning score by Henry Mancini.

Though he's known mostly for his infectiously buoyant tunes, Mancini could score drama and suspense with the best of them, and it's these tracks which stand-out in the 1964 LP below, which has Quincy Jones putting his mark as arranger on several of Mancini's more memorable tunes. Not all of it works - some arrangements seem a bit too close to the originals to matter all that much - but most, like "Days Of Wine And Roses" and "Charade" (from the lovely Audrey Hepburn movie) and even "The Pink Panther Theme," really spring to life in new and surprising ways. It's so very Quincy, yet oh-so Mancini, too.

Meanwhile, witness Lana Turner, whose unusually large bed allows her plenty of room for lounging 'n' such.

Lana, as you may know, starred in the likably frisky 1961 Bob Hope comedy "Bachelor In Paradise." It's not a movie you need to urgently seek out if you haven't seen it, but if it turns up while you're channel-surfing one day, you could do worse. Plus Agnes Moorehead is along for the ride, and she always adds a peppery charge to anything she's in.

The score by, you guessed it, Mancini, is creamy, quintessential lounge music at its peak, without any post-modern "irony." Which means it's perfect for lounging 'n' such on your own big bed, ironically or not. Just like Lana!

Hold up. Get ready. She's back. It's Anita. Here to deliver another rock 'em, sock 'em serving of vocal bop and jazz. Go, Anita, go!

Did you know? Anita was already a well-known and seasoned solo artist when she was convinced by her management to do a fairly lengthy tour with Stan Kenton and his orchestra. She was wary. Stan didn't treat any of his vocalists all that well - he was the "star," and wanted it kept that way - yet something equivalent to don't-fuck-with-me-I-won't-fuck-with-you detente developed between them, and they turned out some of the best swing and bop tunes of their careers.

In this Cheerfully Go, Anita, Go! Exclusive, Anita kicks it off with "Ride On," her vocals shooting past the trumpet blares, and it only gets better from there. Plus plenty of tunes, like "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine," include fantastic alternate versions, something unusual for any Anita LP or CD.

The Secret Song File is a bit miffed. New CD releases really bite this summer, and she was all ready to simply pose for your pleasure - without anything for you to listen to - when she stumbled upon an old favorite with a new CD. You know him, of course, because he's always, um, waiting for a rocket or two to come around (aren't we all?).

Will you like it? Affirmative! Absolutely! Yes! (*cough*) He's been called a "blue-eyed soul" singer, an "acoustic pop rock" singer, and so on and such forth and the like. The Secret Sing File calls him "that dude who comes out with CDs I enjoy, and then they evaporate from my head after I'm done listening to them." Fair? Probably not. But then the Secret Song File is a bit of a bitch contrarian. And this is one of so-and-so's better CDs, too. For reals!

Remember, it's summer, so keep cool. I worry about you!

And by all means, kibitz in the comments, if you like!


Anonymous said...

You're last of the great bloggers of this great music! Thank you!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thank you, Anon. That's very nice of you to say. :)

Michael Thompson said...

I often come under cover of darkness and take, take, take without a word. I'm feeling remorseful and want to offer a hearty thank you for all you've given or introduced me to. Keep 'em coming until they take you away in shackles. Hello to the Cuban.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Turn on the lights, Michael! And take, take, take! I won't stop till the Internets explodes, I tell you, ex-plodes! Glad you're finding stuff you like. The Cuban just waved at you.

John Daly said...

Howdy, love your taste and style. I have just bought the mp3 (such a dirty word), of Bettye LaVette's, Hustlin" (mmm groovin' soul). No mention of this wonder in your home? I am going to ebay for some purchases of a great voice. (I am sure there is room in the 7th CD tower somewhere.(My ever present 'Spaceist' will object.{he can always move out so there is more room for CD's}) All the best, John

tony said...

Just turned on the laptop only to find Lee Remick pop up on the screen. Wow! What a beauty! What a great actress! A classic example of a "handsome woman." She left this world way too soon.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Yes, she was a class act all the way, Tony.
And, hey, John, j'adore Bettye! I really should include here.

KH said...

Yes, I need to add my praise for the coolest music blog on the Internet. Overdue. The CE + Cuban should take bows. We are all in your debt.

Hank Mancini + Quincy Jones? Who knew?

Answer: the CE. ;)

KH said...

And if you get Manhattan way, the beers are on me!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thank you, KH! *blush*
(and Adele is on her way back up, btw!).