Jul 27, 2017

Anita Sizzles, Peggy Rides A Velvet Swing, Plus Betty's Polite, Spelman Spellbounds And A Thermonuclear Secret Song!

Yes! She's back. Another Cheerfully Awesome Anita Exclusive! for you and yours. Because every summer deserves a little sizzle from Anita.

This will be my last post until after Labor Day - me and The Cuban so need a vaca - but I can't depart without leaving behind a bevy of goodies. And trust, when you hear Anita oozing hepcat cool on "Ride On," you'll thank me. I almost didn't get this CD, because I thought it was just another compilation, but thanks to the Anita O'Day Facebook Page (started by Patrick O'Moore, who tragically left us in April of this year), I discovered otherwise.

It's actually a collection of live radio broadcasts, in which Anita performs with Stan Kenton, Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman, the later who was miffed that Anita stole the show right out from under him by toying with the structure and cadence of the songs - much to the audience's delight. So he sent her packing. Unbelievable. Fools be fools, amirite?

Anita, of course, had the last laugh, 'cause she kept right on truckin'. She had many wonderful collaborations throughout the 1940s and 50s. She basically made Stan Kenton's career with their collaboration on "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine" (which she felt was corny) (but I still love it). Also included is her work with Gene Krupa, like "Let Me Off Uptown," a duet with Roy Eldridge which brought Anita her first big hit.

After these collaborations, she was off on her solo career, though there were more than a few bumps along the way, including her then-shocking arrest and imprisonment for pot possession, which earned her the moniker, "Jezebel Of Jazz." We chuckle now, but that headline-making arrest almost derailed her entire career. Below, along with the album, there's a terrif overview of her life from NPR, which is definitely worth a listen.

And now, behold the come-hither mug of Peggy Connelly.

At one time the wife of "Laugh-In's" Dick Martin, Peggy was a popular singer, dancer and TV and movie actress in the 1950s and 60s, and a choice escort about town for Ol' Blue Eyes below, whom she had a "serious affair" with at the apex of his career. Which meant that she had to contend with songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen, who was Sinatra's "whoremaster," according to Peggy (and she didn't mean it kindly). She was also no one's protege, least of all Sinatra's. "I got all my jobs myself," she once noted.

After her music fell out of style in the late 60s, she did what a lot of gals at the time did. She jetted overseas and enjoyed an entirely new career - from the early 70s through the late 90s - performing at nighteries across Europe. Her 1956 solo LP "Peggy Connelly with The Russ Garcia 'Wigville' Band" - a Cheerfully Perky Peggy Exclusive! - is an excellent time capsule, with Peggy's sharp, tough-cookie vocals telling us a lot more than may have been intended about what women had to put up with in order to have a career at the time.

Now let's get down with some blues, with the incomparable Betty Roche.

Betty isn't as well-known as she ought to be, probably because she her career was initially stalled by a musician's strike. Because of this, her early-1940s collaboration with Duke Ellington, "Take the 'A' Train" which should have been her first big hit, was never recorded. But she kept on keepin' on, working with Count Basie, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk and more. Happily, she was finally able to record three LPs. Her last, "Lightly and Politely" is her best.

A question por vous. Is Charlie Hunnam ever going to become a movie star?

By any normal metric, the mesmerizing movie "Lost City Of Z" should have made him one, but in our weary age of superheroes and emojis, this haunting, beautifully mounted production about a true-life, 1920s explorer badly bombed at the box office. In the 1980s, it would have racked up Oscar nominations like "Out Of Africa" (which it's far superior to) (but I digress).

AnywayIshouldstopbitching, catch it if you can, and listen to the gorgeous, dreamy, emotionally immersive soundtrack by Christopher Spelman, a composer I was unfamiliar with before this movie. Like most soundtracks, there's a few skippable tracks (I've unchecked 2, 8, 10 and 14 on my iTunes for this) (but that's me) (your mileage may vary), though overall, this has to be one of the most enthralling soundtracks I've heard this year.

Just so you know, the Secret Song File will not be taking her vaca at the French Riviera this year, but gives a hearty bon chance to those who are. She will, however, be retreating to her private isle (don't ask where it is) (she won't tell you), but not before hopscotching to her local cinema to catch a certain atom-powered blonde shake things up.

She's already a fan of the soundtrack, a groovy compilation which includes Bowie, 'Til Tuesday, The Clash and many more. She also a fan of skimpy bathing suits (obvi), but not when worn by things like this, or this. But has she told you how much she likes this?

Have a wonderful rest of the summer!

Leave a comment, if you like, but try not to spill the tanning oil. 


tony said...

Thanks for the posts, especially for Peggy Connelly, a new one for me. Will try to catch "Lost City of Z." Above all, enjoy your "vaca" and try to avoid annoyances, such as current news.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thanks, Tony. And, yes, I plan to avoid all news sites as best I can! ;)

Schmo said...

Enjoy the vacay!
Looking forward to your return.

Michael Thompson said...

Loved 'Lost City' although for the life of me can't remember the soundtrack, however I'll take your advice, download and give it a go. Thanx and enjoy your well deserved getaway.