Ka-pow! Bam! Hot-cha! Anita's back in town. It's always a happy day for me when I'm able to get my paws on new Anita music, or rather, Anita music I've never heard, in this case from 1991's "I Told Ya I Love You, Now Get Out," a Go, Anita, Go! Cheerful Exclusive for you and yours. When you listen, just picture yourself watching Anita live, because as much as she was a renown jazz vocalist, she was a pretty jazzy treat for the eyes, too. Some people are just born with style...
And more style:
What's so special about "I Told Ya I Love You, Now Get Out?" First, it's early Anita, but late enough so that she'd already battled with her vocal imperfections, the main one being her lack of sustained vibrato (due, as you probably know, to a botched tonsillectomy as a child). Second, she'd managed to turn those flaws into winning, even triumphant, assets. No one sounded like her - no one. She was twenty-seven when these recordings were made, her first as a soloist, and it's a wonderfully eclectic set, including what I believe is her first recording of "What Is This Thing Called Love?" - her varying rhythms cause the song to both rush at you and slow to a swoon - along with fantastic renditions of "Ace In The Hole" and "I Ain't Gettin' Any Younger," the later a quintessential Anita performance in that she doesn't so much sing the notes as slap them upside the head. Pure Anita.
Sometimes I think I'm drawn to singers who are complete individuals; it's the singer, not the song, that initially hooks me in. Sadly, many singers and bands are so much alike, it can start to sound like a Niagara of aural mush. For every disposable Diana Krall, there's an equally forgettable Cassandra Wilson; for every windbag stadium group like U2, there's a similarly turgid Arcade Fire; and, of course, for every creaky, would-be swing group like The Glenn Miller Band, there's their modern equivalent Kenny G (come at me lovers of Arcade Fire, Kenny G, et al, I'm ready for you). Then there's the strange case of Kay Starr:
When Kay first started out, she only wanted to do swing, blues and jazz. That's it - commercial considerations be damned. She stuck to her guns, too, and in the process, hardly made a dime for over a decade. But times soon changed. As she once told an interviewer, her tone surprisingly blunt, "With a little daughter to bring up, I've had to get commercial. Am I happy? What do you think? I was brought up to be a jazz singer. You think I like singing a song like 'Hoop-De-Doo?'" And so began the unfortunate "Rockin' Kay" phase. She made it work, but it wasn't really her. It wasn't what made her unique.
Happily, she was able to return to jazz in her later years (her 1960 LP "Jazz Singer" is a classic), and luckily, her early jazz years have been wonderfully remastered in "A Rising Starr," a 2-CD collection that covers her work from 1939 to '46. She sings with a host of terrific musicians and bands, such as Les Paul, Benny Carter, Nat King Cole, Charlie Barnet and, yes, Glenn Miller (but only on two tracks). Here's the young Kay in all her hillbilly-accented glory, her vocals deceptively artless, bringing a distinctive, unvarnished mastery to each and every number.
Least you all think I'm some sort of music snob (I'm really not) (though my Cuban Luvuh begs to differ) (I'm much more of a movie snob) (and before you ask, it might be a li'l dicey to share movies on this blog), I give you Miss Patti Page:
There's no sane reason to like Patti Page. Her voice wasn't that good, yet there's something undeniably good-humored about her. She's so darn peppy, as they used to say. And if it's more fun to listen to her if you've imbibed large quantities of alcohol or a now mostly legal herb...
...maybe it's because she sang such silly songs, like "Mockin' Bird Hill" ("Tra-la- la, twiddly-dee-dee!") or sounded like she was so bored and filing her nails during ballads like "Try To Remember" and "Allegheny Moon." She just can't help being Patti. Plus, did you know? She used to sell genuine Patti Page maple syrup. It had a singing cap! For reals! The cap "sang" to you when you twisted it off the bottle. I'm not kidding:
So do yourself a favor. Embrace your inner Patti (we all have one). Just don't blame me if you start tra-la-la-ing and twiddly-dee-dee-ing down the street. It will happen. And it's okay.
What's not okay? The Secret Song File won't judge. However, she'll probably sneak into your home or office and look through all your things, because who knows what CDs of yours she might find? Okay, so she might judge you if she finds this CD, but generally, she keeps an open mind about all things music-like. And that includes a certain 70s-era singer/songwriter who made the songs that made the young girls cry, yet now makes everyone cry - and shriek and howl and gasp! - given what he's done to his face.
I won't even judge you if you like this thing (ohhhh, yes, I will).
Share you assessments in the comments, of you like!