Jul 15, 2017

Super-Exclusive Ruth, Lucky Lucy, Plus The Doctor Gets Jazzy And A Horny Secret Song!


Cocktails, anyone? Ruth's serving. And it's a good time to knock one back, because the Cheerful Earfull is still here! Can you bee-lieve? It's a good day to be visiting, too, because our friend Ruth is doing it live in this Remarkable Ruth Cheerful Exclusive!

The 1960 LP, "In Person, Recorded Live at Mister Kelley's," has her letting it rip at the famed Chicago nightclub at a time when the circuit was close to extinction. Mr. Kelley's, beset by a a fire and new ownership, barely hung on in later years.

As for Ruth, her deeply expressive voice - which can rocket from sharp jazz stylings to operatic flourishes - is certainly one for the ages. And, yes, this is the only available live LP of hers (besides a super-obscure recording in Ojai which I've been unable to locate). The audience, as you'll hear, is plainly thrilled. Who wouldn't be? She was one of the last of her kind.


As for the lovely lady below, she had a remarkable career singing with all the great bands and musicians of the day, like Dave Pell, Les Brown and Lionel Hampton.


Yes, it's Lucy Ann Polk. Though she started in the biz with her sister and two brothers in their group "The Four Polks," it was her work as a soloist in the 1950s - for a myriad of popular bands - that earned her notice, so much so that she was named "Best Girl Singer With Band" for three years straight from the venerable jazz monthly Downbeat Magazine.


And for good reason. When she's smooth, she's smooth as buttah, and sexy, too, all perfectly captured in 1957's "Lucky Lucy Ann," her only solo LP. When she swings, as she does in Dave Pell's 1953 LP "Burke & Van Heusen," her voice feels delightfully, even joyously, liberated.

Strangely, though she was popular, Lucy never quite broke through to the mainstream - many expected her to reach the solo heights of Doris Day - but by 1960, her career was essentially over. Still, jazz aficionados at the time absolutely adored her. Just give a listen to any of her tunes and you'll understand why. The warmth of her voice, and her technical prowess, shines through beautifully. 


Believe it or not (and you'd better!), I was much too young when TV's "Doctor Kildare" was making housewives everywhere swoon over Kildare, played by none other than Richard Chamberlain, who had a li'l secret several other celebrities at the time had, but kept it well hidden for years.


Yet apparently, the housewives had a limit to their devotion, because once a rival network starting twitching its nose, "Doctor Kildare" plummeted in the ratings and was cancelled. Which says something about what? I'm not exactly sure. Magic? Girl power? A preference for more playful closet cases?

At any rate, renown jazz trumpeter and composer Harry Betts jumped on the "Doctor Kildare" bandwagon before it sputtered out, releasing a collection of jazz-inflected tunes in his 1962 LP "The Jazz Soul Of Doctor Kildare," which includes riffs not only on Kildare, but "National Velvet," "The Asphalt Jungle" (my favorite track), and many more. It's what we all need for a day that's muuuuuuch too hot, dont'cha think?


The Secret Song File is reaching new levels of exhaustion with our Dear Leader. Just listening to him talk gives her hives. And so she's turned to a spanking new diva of jazz - a Lonestar State native who's been compared to Betty Carter - to help her make sense of the world (it will never make sense), or at least push it aside for a few minutes. Simply put, this is a glorious debut.


By the way, The Secret Song File, being oh-so tricky and devious, has come up with a back-up plan just in case The Cheerful should suddenly vanish one day. She's created a new site here, which will only begin posting should this blog go ker-phlooey (though hopefully that won't happen). Pretty sneaky, huh?

The world demands that we be shady!

Get all sly 'n' such in the comments, if you like.

17 comments:

Reggie Wilcox said...

WOW! A new Ruth album I've never heard of. This is an incredible find. Thank you, Cheerful!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're welcome, Reggie. Enjoy!

John said...

I have wanted to hear the Ruth Olay Live album for ages. I gave out the loudest gay gasp as soon as I saw it. I AM THRILLED , Thank you pussycat!!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Hooray! In all the years I've been blogging, this is the first Genuine Gay Gasp™ I've ever received! Thank you, John. I'm honored!

Corto Maltese said...

Hie !
the the "Doctor Kildare" link is dead ...
bye

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Should be okay now.

tony said...

Thanks a bunch for these very listenable gems from the past. Try not to miss the reruns of "Bewitched (8 seasons!)." They are still a hoot, and love the period in which they are filmed. Great cast with the original Darrin.

LUIGI said...

Hi Cheerful..got tired of doing nothing so had another go at new blog !!still using Blogger..BUT cant seem to track it when I google it....New BLOG is...
Espo's Vinyl Right Angle...or it Could be...Mickluigi.blogger...the process has definatly changed since 2011....or I'm getting Older !!!!have a go and see if you can find me TA !!!!Luigi / Mick / Espo !!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

I still watch "Bewitched," too, Tony. Especially any episode with Aunt Clara!

Luigi, I tried the addresses you mentioned and no luck. Try copy/past the EXACT address from your browser here in the comments and I'll try again.

LUIGI said...

something has definatly not ticked...or I'm going daft !!!...ok cheerfull sorry to be a bore but this is it..I Hope !!

https://mickluigi.blogspot.co.uk/...Luigi

RonH said...

Keep us informed Luigi please. I miss you.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

It worked!
Lugui's back, everyone!
Go here: https://mickluigi.blogspot.co.uk/

Corto Maltese said...

Merci !!!

Faze said...

Got that backup link bookmarked -- just in case. Thanks for being so thoughtful.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Fingers crossed, Faze! ;)

LUIGI said...

Hi Cheerful....Just a short note..."LUIGI'S BLOG IS BACK !!"...no comunication it just appeared !!!...DI DAH !!!!....Luigi...

Daddy Squeeze Me! said...

I HAVE BEEN AFTER THIS RUTH ALBUM FOR AGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GOOD LORD!

BTW, YOU GOT ANY JOE WILLIAMS? I WOULD LOVE IT IF WE FOUND SOME OF HIS EARLY WORKS IN THE 50S AND 60S, THAT MAN IS AMAZING.