Can you ever get enough Anita O'Day? I know I can't. And, c'mon, admit it, don't you want that genuine Anita O'Day paper doll featured below?
The only thing missing is a cocktail in one hand (and a syringe in the other) (I kid, of course) (hahaha) (not really) (we all know what she got up to). Still, I'm pretty certain she'd never have been caught dead in that outfit on the right with - what are they? - Cayenne peppers? Carrot sticks? Red hot pokers? (and let's not even talk about those vomit green shoes).
On some songs, she dispenses with the lyrics halfway through; on others, they're gone entirely, since she wasn't concerned with words, per se, but with the exact sound and texture of her voice, which, she insisted, was "just another instrument" intended to blend or diverge with the sounds being made by the other jazz players. Some of the songs, like the opening track "Take the A Train'" have since eclipsed the originals, while others, like "Stompin' At The Savoy," are (for me, at least) definitive.
From one Anita to another, though the one pictured below has an extra "n." As in Annita. No, really. I'm not sure why. It's like meeting someone named "Johnn" or Suue" or "Macc" (and how do you pronounce Annita? (do you stutter?).
Annita had a unique career. In the 1960s, she and Diane Hall were known as "bookends" for bandleader Ray Anthony - or singing window-dressing for the more "important" Ray and his musicians. By that time, Annita was likely used to being undervalued.
Years earlier, in the 1956 film "Shake Rattle & Roll," with the likes of Fats Domino, she had a featured appearance as the "Slum Teen" singing "Rockin' On A Saturday Night," but she wasn't heralded (as she should have been), and thereafter, she recorded a series of one-off singles for a variety of labels. Yet in 1963, she scored her one deal for a full LP, "Slow Glow" - a Cheerfully Luminous Annita Exclusive! It's a wonderful surprise. Her song selection, a mix of upbeat rousers and come-hither scorchers, are a perfect match for her surprisingly rangy alto swoon. If you've had a bad day, she's the perfect tonic.
Are there any Broadway Babies out there? I'm certain there are. Well, step right up, because Caroline is ready to cut loose:
Caroline O'Connor, that is. If you're American, you might think I mean this Carol O'Connor. Being an American myself, I hadn't even heard of this British-born, Australian-bred theatrical dynamo - but then I listened to Theatre Du Chalet's fantastic production of "Sweeney Todd," with Caroline playing Mrs. Lovett to hilarious perfection, and I've j'adored her ever since. In England and Australia, she's justly celebrated. Here? We have "What I Did For Love," her 1999 LP in which she takes on songs from "Side Show," "Chicago," "Grease," and many more - and yes, she truly does make them her own. If you're in doubt, listen to her take on "What I Did For Love," a song I never thought I'd want to
Sometimes you just want to kick-start your night with a li'l sleaze, amirite? And though I haven't seen the 1962 film "Satan In High Heels," the title and its poster below look promising:
Let's see, sex-crazed carny characters? Check. Heroin? Check. A producer who published "Exotique," a popular fetish magazine in the 1960s? Check and double-check. The movie may be forgotten by cinephiles, but the soundtrack - originally released under the title of the movie, as well as the title "Blues For A Stripper" on the Charlie Parker label - has long been a favorite of jazz enthusiasts given guitarist Mundell Lowe's ultra-razzamatazz hard-bop score. I love playing it with my afternoon espresso. Trust me, if the caffeine doesn't get me going, Mundell does.
The Secret Song File is legendary for many things; a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants. Ha! But really, isn't it nice when a legend comes back and shows the kids how things are really done? In this case, it's a gospel and R&B singer, as well as an actress, who's been thrilling audiences from the late 1940s and bee-yond.
Need a few hints? Let me look at the, um, stapled document (*cough*cough*) and I'll take you there (*cough*cough*). Actually, you may already know that Bob Dylan once proposed to her. More shocking? She had to wait till 2011 for the Grammy's to give her her first award. That's a crime. But does she worry? Nah. Why bother? That's only for the lovely (*cough*cough*).
And the cranky, too. Though no one likes a crank.
But hot-tempered? Let 'er rip in the comments, if you like!