Feb 14, 2016

Felicia's Just Felicia, Pat's Standing Up, Connie's Alone, Plus The Return Of Hot Espresso And A Frenchy Boy Secret Song!


Happy "Valentine's Day," everyone! Isn't February wonderful? Because of leap year, we get a whole extra day in 2016, along with so many terrific holidays. Did you know? "National Tooth Fairy Day" is in February. And "National Hoodie-Hoo Day" (I'm not kidding). And, yes, it's also Black History month (though Morgan Freeman doesn't want that). Here on the Cheerful Earfull, February is Jazz Babe Appreciation Month! And why not? Whose going to stop me? Who would want to?

Let's kick it off with Felicia Sanders, a vastly under-appreciated big band and jazz singer who frequently performed at L.A.'s Cafe Gala, an ultra-glitzy gay nightclub which attracted Hollywood luminaries of all persuasions in the 1930s and 40s - and boasted headliners such as Dorothy Dandridge, Phil Moore and Bobby Troupe & His Trio.

Though Felicia had already been knocking around (and for many years), Cafe Gala is where Benny Goodman first spotted her - and from there her career took off. He recommended her to Mitch Miller, Percy Faith, and soon she was cutting LPs and singing at Manhattan's revered Blue Angel. Her self-titled 1957 LP - a Fab Felicia Cheerful Exclusive! - highlights her diverse, silky vocals, from her intensely hushed opener "I Wish You Love" to her slyly playful "I'm Through With Love" and practically every variation in-between.


Below, behold Pat Morrissey. Standing:


Evidently, standing was a thing with her. How else to explain the title of her exhilarating 1957 LP - a Poised Pat Cheerful Exclusive! - entitled, you guess it, "Standing Pat." I don't know much about Pat, but what I do know is this: apparently, her career started when her friends dared her to stand up and sing one evening at Mother Kelley's in Miami, a legendary night spot where Billie Holiday often held forth. Pat killed. So much so, in fact, that Mother Kelly (who was actually an aging Russian gentleman with bushy gray hair) hired her for a ten week gig. Right on the spot. For reals.

Then she hit the road, performing in New York, London, Vegas and Hollywood. According to a few reviews I've been able to scare up, she created quite the impression: "Morrissey's a buxom blonde who crouches low in front of her microphone and rubs her derriere against the piano. She 'sells sex' in her songs - and there are plenty of buyers. (She's) a singer who's both intriguing and disturbing to watch." What that last part means, exactly, I've no idea, but color me fascinated. I wish I knew more about her. Her LP, which is alternately snappy and soulful, and, yes, sexy, is well worth including in our Jazz Babe Appreciation Month, I promise. And, hey, next time you're standing up, think of Pat!


Some singers don't so much sing as coo. Or in the case of sassy Connie Russell, they coo and trumpet. Below, look at her work it. Oomph! Hot-cha! Wowza! Connie works hard for the money, as all busy gals do


Connie, as you may know, was a sometime-Hollywood actress in the 1940s and 50s, though she found her greatest success as a brassy, knock-em-dead singer at nightclubs, jazz haunts, and later, on TV variety shows. A competitor with the likes of Mitzi Gaynor - whom she was routinely compared with - she worked those pin-up looks for all they were worth. And why not? It was second nature to her; she learned everything she knew from her parents' vaudeville act, which she joined at age two, before turning solo at age eleven. In 1959's "Alone With You" - a Rousing Russell Cheerful Exclusive! - you can practically see her maracas shaking on songs like the deliriously hyper-active "Take Me In Your Arms" and "You And The Night And The Music."


And so endeth our Jazz Babe Appreciation Month posts. But fear not. Since the gals have been shaking it, the guys decided to join in:



They're so excited because there's a new release from an old school compilation series - with its ubiquitous espresso 'n' li'l cube of sugar. Yes, it's Saint-Germain Des-Pres Cafe. Have you missed them? I didn't realize I had till I learned they put out a new CD. Like a good espresso, it starts mellow, then hits hard, then goes up-down, up-down, up-down. I used to love all those Saint-Germain CDs in the 1990s, didn't you? And go on, admit it, didn't we all look great back then?


Since it's Valentine's, the Secret Song File would like to chat about our friends on the Seine - because if anyone knows V.D., it's the French (amirite)? To celebrate, the Secret Song File is listening to a spanking new CD by a celebrated French DJ - because if anyone knows white boy funk, it's those darn French. But who is this mystery figure, you may wonder? Let's just say that he's no friend of Bruno Mars, whom he once accused of copying one of his songs. Sacre bleu! The shade of it all!


But they've both moved on (they say), with our French boy pointing out that since they both come from the copy and paste sample generation, accusations of plagiarism are tres tacky (You want to know tacky? This is tacky) (but I digress). So shake that DJ derriere, French boy. We're all listening.

Remember, February 22 is National Margarita Day!

Celebrate any way you like in the comments!

15 comments:

tony said...

Thanks for posting music from wonderful artists who may not be too well-known or may have pursued careers dubbing actors who could not carry a tune!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

My pleasure, Tony!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great posts and always entertaining commentary.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're welcome, A! :D

Anonymous said...

Connie Russell can also be heard on her album Don't Smoke In Bed. Great cheesy album cover.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Yes, it is something to behold:

http://www.israbox.download/uploads/posts/2012-02/1328861105_front.jpg

tony said...

Regarding Saint-Germain-Des-Pres-Cafe: The French indie film "Eden (2015)," is a movie about the French-house music/scene in the 90's/00's. Good music, good story.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Funny you should mention that. A friend recommended it to me and the Cuban last night while we watched the Grammys. We'll have to check it out.

KH said...

I have no recollection of using megashares recently, but your link is insisting that I need to pay, or else wait for "00:119:10" before DLing. Any chance of an alternate link? It seems that megaspores is really greedy…

Thanks!

KH said...

Oops- megashares, not "megaspores."

Or maybe that's philosophical context from auto-correct. ;)

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I think megaspores is down; I'll reup shortly!

KH said...

Cool - thanks- Happy 2016 to The Cheerful Earful!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You, too, KH. All should be well now. Megaspores be gone!

KH said...

Worked like a charm- thanks!

Coercin' A Bull said...

Thank you so much for Felicia,quite beautiful :)