Spring has sprung! And with it, more cheerful tunes. In case of our first vocalist, we have yet another singer who's a mystery wrapped in a sphinx wrapped in a Rubik's Cube. Intrigued? I knew you would be.
The songbird is Nancy Steele, whose 1958 LP "Nitey-Nite" - a Sassy Steele Cheerful Exclusive! - is a breath of fresh air. Her song list might be familiar, but even on tunes like "Skylark," she manages to infuse them with her own mix of breathy yearning and stylish jazz vocal inflections.
But who the heck is she? There's actually two Nancy Steeles to consider. The one spilling out of her blouse above released several sexually-tinged LPs during the same era; the Nancy below released only one LP. Or are they one and the same? Unlikely, but possible. The only mention I was able to spot regarding any singer named Nancy Steele is that she was once an "acquaintance" of opera composer Carlisle Floyd in the early 1960s, which doesn't seem like a fit (I can't see either of them hobnobbing with the opera crowd). Can any of you out there in Internet Land shed any light? She's a lovely singer and it would be wonderful to know more about her.
Meanwhile, forget Batman vs Superman (no, really, forget it right now). Today's mash-up brings us John Adams vs John Corigliano (or that sly J-Co, as I like to call him, because he always looks like he's guilty of something naughty).
Actually, make that a three-way face off, because in addition to J-Co and Adams, there's Franz Waxman, and they're all performed by the insanely gifted violinist Chloe Hanslip with the Royal Philharmonic. It's a mash-up which shouldn't work, and perhaps her version of J-Co's "Red Violin" is lacking in subtlety, but her violent attack is perfect for Adams' "Violin Concertos." I almost jumped out of my skin several times - in a good way.
Speaking of naughty, I j'adore Ana Gasteyer and loved her "Martha Stewart's Topless Christmas" on "Saturday Night Live" from a few years back.
And, yes, Martha approved:
But did you know? In addition to being a witty comic actor (who trained at The Groundlings) (because of course she did), she also sings. Actually, she's had quite the Broadway career and originated the role of "Elphaba" in the musical "Wicked" (she also livened up that
And now, a guessing game. The guy below, whose first name is Luke, just happens to be emerging near-nudie from the briny deep (which totally happens when you dab Nautica on your pulse points) (just go with it). So here's the question: who is Luke's grandfather?
If you guessed this movie legend, you're correct! I send metaphorical bonbons your way. And don't forget to check out the tunes which accompanied his grandfather's best movies in "Epics: The History Of The World According to Hollywood." The word "history" is meant literally, because this terrif 2-CD set arranges all of its music chronologically. In other words, "The Ten Commandments" come before "El Cid," which comes before "The Sea Pirate," egg-cetera. And every track is composed by a who's-who of MGM's legendary best, like Franz Waxman, Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann and many more.
The Secret Song File is evergreen, ageless and always au courant (of course), and so are some pop acts (despite what you might think of them), like Madge, The Rollings Stones (Keeeeeeeef!), Bruce Springsteen and a certain British pop duo which first bounded onto the scene with a quasi-rap disco sing about gals who lived on the west end.
Throughout the years, they've continued to release new music with varying degrees of success. With their latest release hit a sweet-spot for the fans? It might, because like Madge's "Music" from years ago, this CD's song lyrics are completely inconsequential; it's all about the catchy electro beats. To be blunt, it's mindless, perfect for use with pharmceuticals (one assumes!) and a good accompaniment for dusting, too.
And who doesn't like dusting to a beat?
Clear away the cobwebs in the comments, if you like!