Jul 19, 2015

A Fabulous Starr, Mel's Best, Jane Goes Cocoanuts, Plus Nikki's Coffee And An Amsterdam Secret Song!

Oh, such joyful treasures to share with you today! I scarcely know where to start. But why not begin with our old friend Kay Starr (above looking glamourama in middle-age). Yes, it's true, she's back for another Cheerfully Starr Exclusive!
I can't think of a happier summer CD to listen to than this brisk, thirty-minute collection of choice Kay tunes, including a version of "Honeysuckle Rose" that's new to me and a lot rowdier than I've heard her perform it before. In other words, it's fantastic.

Unfortunately, the CD didn't come with liner notes, and while I suspect that this is a compilation, I don't know what LP the tracks originate from, much less what year they were recorded. I'd do some detective work, but I'm too busy enjoying the music, so maybe a few of you Starr-heads (and I know you're out there; her posts are amongst the most popular on this site) can fill me in on the details 'n' such in the comments. For everyone else, enjoy; it's a fun CD no matter where it all came from. Oh, and did you know? Kay was one of Judy Garland's favorite singers. No matter where she was - at home, traveling, over the rainbow - she always had a few Kay LPs ready to play.

Recently, my Cuban Luvuh re-introduced me to Jane Morgan, the luminous, big-voiced nightclub and Broadway star who was married forever to the recently deceased producer Jerry Weintraub (so Jane surely knows this guy, which somehow seems fitting). And, yes, she's still kickin' at ninety-one!

Recorded mid-career in 1962, "At the Cocoanut Grove" (a Just Jane Cheerful Exclusive!) is a terrific summary of Jane's life at that point, including a medley of Paris-themed songs - which hearken to the start of her showbiz career; she first found success in Europe and the UK - and a ribald look back to old-time burlesque numbers popularized by Lilian Russell in the early 1900s. Yet what's most astonishing about the LP in the power of her voice in a live setting, something that doesn't come across as sharply in her studio recordings.

In "The Day the Rains Came," originally a French-language song, she all but blows the top off the nightclub rooftop, and in "Don't Throw Stones At Your Mother," she infuses the lyric with a controlled force, even anger, that seems to cut a direct vein into the song's core. Go on, give a listen. You won't be disappointed, I swear.

Few people can be described as sublimely funny, but let's be honest, is there anything more sublime than Madeline doing Marweena Marlene Dietrich? Or rather, is there anything funnier than Madeline in any Mel Brooks movie? Yeah, I don't think so, either.

Madeline performs as Marlene ("I'm so ti-i-i-ired," she warbles) in "High Anxiety: Mel Brooks' Greatest Hits," a must CD with oodles of songs and tunes from "Young Frankenstein," "The Producers," "Twelve Chairs" and lots more, plus John Morris' sprightly satirical music for "Silent Movie." But for me, it's Madeline who steals the show, but then she always did. Oh, and guess what? There a new bio out about her life, and it not only sounds definitive, but a whole lot of fun. Which is likely just how she'd want it to be.

Meanwhile, where the hell have I been? I've only lately caught on to the multi-talented Nicki Parrott. And I fully admit that she first caught my attention because of her name. It's just too good to be true (but it is).

Not only is the Australian-born Nicki an irresistibly smokey-voice jazz singer, she's also an accomplished bassist, which is never far from her side. Her 2010 "Black Coffee" is a scrumptious collection of jazz classics, and yes, even those who think modern vocalists are incapable of bringing a singular style to the old standards will be wowed. Though she's knocked 'em flat at Feinstein's in NYC and the world over, strangely, she's not as well known as I'd assume she would be. Why is this? To whom do I complain? Let's change this together, m'k? Her vocals are very much like her bass playing - just another instrument, and she plays them both with an infectious, what-the-hell dexterity that few are capable of these days (male or female). No, really. She's that good.

Sometimes the Secret Song File just needs to kick back and relax, whether it be at home or a bar or while shopping. Which means the music shouldn't be too serious, but it can't just drone on like drool, either. This is the time she prefers trance, baby, trance; the musical equivalent of half a Valium. In fact, it goes wonderfully with Valium (so I hear).

Luckily, there's a new 3-CD trance thingie out by some "hawt" Dutch DJ who's dedicated this release to sunrise, or specifically, sunrise in his "Venice Of The North," as some people refer to this city. But whatever, it's a perfect CD to recline and and chill with (though be careful with that Valium).

Will Jell-O pudding ever taste the same?

What is it the rainbow feels? Tell us all in the comments!


Luis said...

Hi! When trying to d'load Nicki Parrot's file after entering the Captcha I always get 'This link to the file is invalid. If you wish to download the file, please, click the Download button again.' Can you confirm if the link is correct? Thanks

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

It works for me, but here's an alternate link:


Luis said...

Many thanks. This second link does the job! Cheers

espo said...

Hi Cheerful...Thanks for The Nicki P's you certainly are introducing me to some new and great vocalists...NOW a couple of technical questions...I had to change the files from M4A files to MP3 before I could play then my players wont play them...It's no problem it only takes a couple of mins to do it...BUT what player have you got??..If I take a wild guess and from the excelent way your blog is set out you have a "APPLE BELLS AND EVERYTHING"!! computer...Also is there any reason you don't use "Zippyshre" Or "MEGA"...thanks once again for all the great and different music you are posting...last question where in the world are You !!!!....Cheers form LUIGI !!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hi Luigi,

You’re right, I’m on a Mac, but I use regular ol' iTunes. As far as I know, all iTunes players - whether on Mac or Windows - play M4As. But I’m glad you have no issue coverting them for yourself.

As far as Zippyshare and Mega, I like them, but there's a few issues with both. With Zippyshare, I generally avoid it because they delete the files fairly quickly, which means people repeatedly ask for reups and I have to keep uploading the same CD over and over and I’m lazy. ;) As far as MEGA goes, I love it, but there’s many visitors on the Cheerful who live overseas where, apparantly, MEGA doesn’t work, so for their convenience, I avoid that site, too (but not always).

Glad you’re enjoying Nikki! She’s new to me, too.

espo said...

Hi Cheerful...thanks for the quick annswer...I Knew it! AN Apple Mac with all the bells and whistles !!...Have you the back cover of the "Nikki's" like to have a little more information about her !!could "Google" her I suppose but I am Lazy as well...are you being coy about what part of the world you are in ..or did you forget to tell me !!....cheers....Luigi !!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Oops. I forgot that part. I'm in Hollywood.
And here's Nicki's back cover:

espo said...

Cheerful !!..your a star !!..and you live in the right place !!...Luigi...

Raymond Kolle said...

Thank you for the Nicki Parrott CD. However, when I try to open the zip file it asks for a password, which I can't seem to find on your site.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hey Raymond, the password is: thecheerful.
In case you come back and forget, it's on the right side of every page in orange lettering.
Enjoy Nikki!