Mar 14, 2015

Anita in '75, Nancy & George Get Swingin', Plus Marlene & Burt And A Lazy Secret Song!

Feel the sizzle, yo! Anita in her dressing room. Seconds before her landmark Newport Jazz Festival performance. She hadn't yet decided on those white gloves. And she was flying on heroin. Wheeeeee! Years later, having finally kicked the habit, she wowed the jazz world with one of the most jaw-dropping comebacks they'd ever seen. It wasn't just that she survived, though that was part of it, but that she sounded better than ever.

In this fantastic set (a Go, Anita, Go! Cheerful Exclusive for you, your besties and anyone else you feel is deserving), she dives headlong into a wide range of songs from seven decades of jazz . With some, she expands their emotional content, with others, she reduces them to their barest rhythmic components, while several numbers, like "I Get A Kick Out Of You," seem the distillation of purest joy. It's a classic Anita performance and a must for Anita fans everywhere. Who says you can't kick the horse and still have fun?

Speaking of sizzle, let's consider the one and only Nancy Wilson. That smile. It's all about that smile. And the voice. Of course the voice. Did you know? They called her "Fancy Miss Nancy" back in the day because she's simply that divine.

Like many African-American songbirds, she was first noticed in her church choir. In her teen years, she appeared on Ohio's local TV show "Skyline Melodies" - and shortly after became its twice-weekly host (because of course she did). It wasn't long before New York and multiple recording contracts came calling, of course, and she went on to record in all genres, from jazz to blues to funk and everything in-between. She even had her own network TV show, "The Nancy Wilson Show" (because of course she did and who wouldn't want to watch?).

In 1962, she hooked up with jazz ace George Shearing. Classy meets classy, I'd say. This is that rare jazz pairing that gets better with each listening. There's something about Shearing's cool jazz xylophone and Nancy's icy-hot intonation that's just perfect. And, yes, this is a Fancy Nancy Cheerful Exclusive! and comes complete with bonus tracks.

Meanwhile, Marlene. Just Marlene.

Pictured above walking aimlessly in the desert for no good reason other than looking sublime, Marlene has a voice that I cannot defend on rational grounds. It's somewhere between a croak and a snarl, and yet, if ever there was a case where style wins over vocal substance, it's Marlene. She took what she had and worked it like no one's business, and just like Nancy and George, she met her match with Burt Bacharach, though for different reasons entirely. Here it's the sharp contrast between Marlene's smooth as glass, vampish delivery and the feathery good spirits of Burt's arrangements and tunes. Of course, where there's Marlene, there's drama. She was so smitten with Burt during their near decade-long professional run together that when he married Angie Dickinson, she had Dickinson voodoo dolls specially created in South Africa and stuck pins in them.

The Secret Song File was lounging around watching TV the other day and thinking about all sorts of things (shopping, poetry, murder), when she decided it was time to forgo the TV and listen to some spanking new tunes, preferably by an Aussie indie singer who enjoys sitting around (*cough*) as much as she does.

It's a lazy weekend, pedestrian, at best (*cough*cough*), which means that after listening to the CD, she'll yank out the slow cooker, toss a side of pork inside it - because who can be bothered to cook tonight? - and pet the kittykat. By the way, if you need a lesson in lazy, watch a kitty. They're experts.

Don't try anything ambitious like coloring your hair. Not today!

Loaf 'round in the comments, if you like!


KH said...

Ok, I think may be the new champ. Super-fast, and no decoys/detours/booby-traps!


schmo said...

Thanks for the Marlene/Burt combo!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I hope so KH..Fingers crossed that it stays that way.
And Schmo, you're very welcome. :)

Luis DuLac said...

Hi there! Cheers from Portugal. I am quite new here. Me too, I am a devoted fan of Anita O'Day and of the many of the great jazz singers of the past. Your blog is now one of my browser's start up page. Thank you for this fantastic 1975 album. However, after listening to it I did not think that it was recorded live. As a matter of fact I found someplace else in the internet the following description "1975 Japan Only Original Recorded At Whitney Recording Studio, California. Anita O'Day, Vocals; Ronnell, Bright, Piano; George Morrow, Bass; John Poole, Drums; Don Raffell, Reeds. Songs Are: "A Song For You," "Undecided," "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life," "Exactly Like You," "When Sunny Gets Blue," "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "It Had To Be You," "Opus One" And "Gone With The Wind." (
Again thank you for the oustanding jewels that you are sharing here. Luis DuLac

Anonymous said...

An additional note. This Anita's album is also listed as I Get a Kick Out Of You

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thanks for the correction, Luis. There's so many different versions of various Anita set lists that I sometimes get confused!

tony said...

Nice tunes. Thanks! Shearing's collaboration album with Nat Cole is also nice listening. Great album cover with Nancy.."Dig" those classic modern white chairs...would command $$$ today!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're right! I hadn't even noticed those chairs...and now I want them.

tony said...

No...I want them..ha ha

pluisjemp3s said...


The Cheerful Earfull! said...

They don't, but Google is afraid of "Refhide," a site which refers you to the download site. You can get around this, though. If the link takes you to a page which says danger is ahead, look at the address. It will read something like this:

Simply remove the first part of it...

...and then hit return. Voila! You'll be safely taken to the download site.
I don't use "Refhide" anymore, so with more recent posts, you won't have this problem.