Mar 16, 2017

Carl's So Loony, Daniele's So Sleazy, Plus Jeanne Loves You And A Beastly Secret Song!

Dance, Bugs, dance! If it were suddenly revealed that the makers of all those classic Warner Bros. cartoons were flying on smack, no one would be surprised.

Whether the animators were juiced or not, you can't beat their comic timing, and that goes for the music, too, which pounces on each gag, adding emphasis, and sometimes even topping, the joke on screen. The melodies are a cavalcade of original tunes, old school Vaudeville razzmatazz and insane percussive kicks. It's madness, really, and it hasn't been matched since, likely because no modern cartoon moves so fast from one sublime verbal and physical joke to the next.

If you grew up watching these cartoons after school or on Saturday morning, then the name Carl Stalling is familiar to you. This is the second LP collection of his tunes (the first one is readily available) and I think it's the best of the two. Just remember, listen to it in bits and pieces. If you listen to the whole thing at once, then you really will know what it's like to be a loony tune.

Very few men can get away with a pornstache, but voila! Or rather, ecco! Italian composer Daniele Luppi wears it well. Bell'uomo! 

There's something swingin', yet smarmy, about Luppi's picture above, and the same might be said of his music (I mean this as a compliment!). In "Italian Story," which put him on the map in the early 2000s, he mixes and matches a little Ennio Morricone here, a touch of retro Italian porn music there, then shellacs it with a glossy electro sheen. So-o-o yummy.

Every time I listen to it, it reminds of New York City in 1981. I had just arrived, and the sleaze from the 70s was just beginning to rot. 42nd Street was rife with prostitutes of every variation, drug dealers, crumbling Triple-X venues and countless wig shops for drag queens. In other words, it felt like home.

Talent doesn't stay hidden long. After "The Italian Story," everyone was clamoring to work with Luppi, including the film industry, which wanted to add his swagger to their soundtracks, and musicians and groups like Danger Mouse, Jack White and Norah Jones, all of whom contribute to "Rome," an equally lively bit of raunch and moody glamour. Really, you can't go wrong.

And now, ladies and gents, make way - make room - for the one and only Jeanne Trever:

If you live in St. Louis, Missouri, or lived there in the past forty years or so, then you know Miss Jeanne, who's justly famed as St. Louis' First Lady Of Jazz. Though she'd been packing them in for decades at various jazz haunts since the late 1950s, she only got around to recording her debut LP "Love You Madly" in 1988. She was worth the wait.

Though some compare her to Billie Holiday, she's a warmer performer than that, and just as skilled. Listen to her gorgeous, languorous take on "Lazy Afternoon," or her joyfully winged version of "Stompin' At The Savoy," where her unique scatting puts the silliest smile on my face every time I listen to it. Now brace yourself. "Love You Madly" is her only LP. Which is a crime, I tell you, a crime.

The Secret Song File is not immune to the charms of so-called "family musicals." She had to be dragged to see "Frozen," yet found it amusing; she reluctantly saw "Moana," but enjoyed the eye-trippy colors immensely. Both did things that only animation can do, so she's not sure why we need beastly live-action remakes of already successful cartoon musicals.

The live-action remake don't look promising. It definitely won't have the swift pacing of the original, which ran 87 minutes. This one clocks in at just over two fucking hours. But what about the soundtrack LP? I'm on the fence. All the famed songs are there, but there's new ones, too, and they kinda suck. Meh. Whatevs. A money grab, as The Secret Song says, is a tale as old as time.

But Ariane Grande Latte? Really? Was that absolutely necessary?

Gripe and giggle in the comments, if you like!


tony said...

Another chock-full of goodies. Thanks for the intro to Daniele and Jeanne. Enjoyed Daniele's well-recorded "An Italian Story," and wished it had some extended versions. Grande Latte? Ah, no,thanks..

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Glad you're enjoying, Tony.
BTW, there may be remix versions of Daniele's work out there, I just haven't looked yet.

Michael Thompson said...

Some Jeanne Trevor to explore for my week in the country. Thanks mista!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You'll love her, I promise! ;)

Faze said...

I thought that beastly film was a bit too much, and a bit too little at the same time. But thanks for the Times Square photos from the 70s and 80s. Those who weren't there will never know, would never believe ...

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're very brave! I haven't yet summoned the courage to see that beastly musical yet - and now you're making me think I can wait till it hits cable.