Mar 7, 2015
Cat Fights Mouse, Dakota's Moon, Dudley's Piano, Plus Bartender's Best And A Fat-Shaming Secret Song!
For those of you still grappling with winter, I won't tell you that it's a breezy 79 degrees where I am (oops, my bad), but I will tell you that I found a delicious polpettone recipe earlier this week (I substituted ground turkey for the veal) and it was a hit. But more to the point, while I was making it (and it's easy, by the way) I listened to Scott Bradley's music from the "Tom & Jerry" cartoon series.
I can't tell you how much extra-added fun this brought to my brewing, stewing and broiling and such. There's something about Bradley's music - with it's intermittent whomps! booms! and ka-pows! - that makes even the most mundane activity, like cracking an egg, seem like so much fun. Bradley, as you may know, was a self taught musician who scored all of MGMs cartoon shorts from the 1930s through the 50s. He took his work very seriously, though the recording sessions were sometimes halted by giggling musicians, who appreciated his absurd, rubbery tunes, even if they proved taxing to play. As one violinist said at the time, "He writes the most blankety-blank toughest fiddle music in Hollywood." It's great for cooking or cleaning or re-organizing your old CDs along with, or really anything that could use an extra whomp! or two.
Not surprisingly, several posts with music by Dakota Staton have proved especially popular on the Cheerful. And why not? She's that good.
So let's all enjoy this Screamin' Staton Cheerful Exclusive!, her 1972 LP "Moonglow." By the time she recorded it, she was nearly forgotten in the U.S., her record contract with United Artists having been terminated in the early-1960s given the rise of rock 'n' roll. Not knowing what to do next, she hopped a flight to the UK and performed at various hotels and on cruise ships. When she returned to the US in the 70s, the jazz scene was newly rejuvenated, so she only had to cut a few LPs, "Moonglow" among them, to let everyone know that the husky-voiced jazz diva was back. You'll notice a heavier blues influence in "Moonglow," and she sounds all the better for it, though the entire spectrum of her styles is on full parade. She slays, I tell you, slays.
When I was just a tiny seedling, I remember when everyone - and I mean everyone - was all agog about Bo Derek. She was sexy, she smoked the ganja and she (unfortunately) popularized cornrows for a lot of stupid white people.
The movie which popularized her also introduced Dudley Moore to U.S. audiences. It was Blake Edwards' comedy-drama "10," of course (a masterpiece which seems just as modern today as it did in the 70s, and just as funny). Did you know? Dudley was a gifted pianist, too, and he loved jazz, having graduated with a degree in music composition from Oxford. He began his career not in acting or comedy, but by being an accompanist for a wide variety of singers, such as Cleo Laine. Even after his acting career took off, he never left music behind, so if you only know him as a crack comedian, prepare to be surprised (as I was) by "Jazz Tribute," a lively CD which brings together some of his best live performances.
When I'm out and decide to have a drink, I order a Lemon-Drop cocktail, or, if I know the place has a handle on what they're doing, a Cosmo, and, yes, I know, I know, those drinks are so 2000-and-late, but I can't help it. When made correctly, they're dee-licious. And perfect for springtime.
Spring isn't here yet, but there's no reason we can't herald its coming with a few cocktails, or, if you prefer, a wine or beer (I never got into beer 'cause it makes me pee and you have to drink a whole lot of it to get a decent buzz going, so I'm like, "And the point is...?"). For that, we need a good drinking compilation to quaff along to, and "Hey, Bartender!" is just the ticket, with tunes like "Me & My Gin" and "Belly Up To The Bar, Boys" and great singers like Sammy Davis, Jr., Julie London, Lou Rawls and scads more. So let's just do it, okay? I'll knock back my screwy cocktails and you can guzzle your tired ol' cans of beer. We'll see who's swinging from the chandelier first.
The Secret Song File is fond of many adult beverages, though as you can see below, she prefers expensive gifts. And yet there's no law which says you can't have gifts while also belting back a few shots and enjoying a slice of cheesecake. But be careful with that booze and, good God, watch it with that cake or the fat shamers will come after you! They're an especially virulent bunch, and they're currently on the attack against a certain artist with a brand-new CD.
But I say breakaway (*cough*) from that nonsense, because during a moment like this (*cough*cough*), there's no better time for cheesecake and ice cream and really good chocolates. Or if you favor the ganja like Bo, there's no better time for cheesecake and ice cream and really good chocolates. Or as a noted big girl says, the ganja is good for other things, too.
Frankly, I'd much rather stupid-shame while devouring something chocolatey.
So go on, leave a guilt-free comment, if you like!