Hooray! It's nearly Halloween, a time for tricks, treats and candy! And look, actress and singer Gale Robbins is gettin' in the mood!
"Gale who?" you may ask. Pull up a chair, because Gale was beauty wrapped in glamour wrapped in all kinds of sass - and polished to a sheen, it's been said, with Iodent tooth polish. After attending "Miss Vera Jones Modeling School" in the early 1930s - and striking a pose in many popular newspapers and magazines - she hit the band circuit, becoming a popular gal singer in clubs, on radio and early TV.
She was also in a plethora of movies, mostly in small roles, the best of which let her sing a song or two, as in 1949's "The Barkleys Of Broadway," where she played the irrepressible bimbo understudy, "Shirlene." Unfortunately, she only cut one LP, 1957's "I'm A Dreamer" - a Glorious Gale Cheerful Exclusive just for you! - and it's as wonderful as you could hope for. Gale's seductive, though never bawdy, vocals work their magic in numbers like "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Them There Eyes," where she takes full advantage of her woo-woo-woo lower register. She's a trick and a treat all in one!
Speaking of tricks, here's another one-LP-wonder, the gorgeous Vicky Lane:
Hailing from Ireland, Vicky hit Hollywood in the early 1940s and found small roles in a number of features. Yet she's best known (I kid you not) for playing Paula, a literal ape woman, in 1945's schlockfest "The Jungle Captive." She was over Hollywood by the late 1950s and abandoned her career entirely a few years later, and I can't say I blame her. Especially since she wasn't appreciated for her beauty or her voice.
She was only able to cut one LP, 1959's "I Swing For You," a frolicsome, jazz-inflected album which she recorded with her husband, trumpeter Pete Candoli. It's a shame she didn't make more.
And now for a treat, Anita in Brazil! Live!
Recorded in 1984 with John Poole on drums and Harold Dank on piano, this rare LP features Anita in fine, crackling form at the Club 150 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A reporter at the time alleged that she "mistreated" her musicians during rehearsal, yet another instance in which Anita - who knew exactly what she wanted from each instrument in every song - was singled out for routine professionalism, at least in comparison to her male jazz counterparts (plus, it's mighty hard to imagine Poole batting an eyelash at her precise directions). No matter, as the set is a winner - and it hits a blissful high with her rendition of "Body and Soul," which she breaks down into a bravura, seemingly improvised, scat between herself and the band.
Oh, look. Talk about a trick that keeps on tricking. It's Joan Crawford in her early days, wishing all of us a fabulous Hallows Eve:
Are you going out this year our staying home and hurling mini-candy-whatnots at visiting kids (or maybe you're waiting for the Not-So-Great-Pumpkin)? If it's the kids option, then you'll need some music to set the mood for. Try this giggly little CD of old-time scary songs, which includes the blues/barrelhouse "Skeletons In The Closet," and Rudy Vallee's classic "With Her Head Tucked Under Her Arm," amongst many others. And for God's sakes, don't give kids fruit or homemade anything. Kids will think it's a total gyp - and they'll be right. They want candy, dammit, and that's exactly what they should get.
Halloween is coming and terrible things are liable to happen. The Secret Song File knows about such things. Years ago, she was a tormenting ringleader of one such awful incident in the girls locker room. Forgive? Pretty-please?
Many things are forgivable (though not this). For example, a certain singer who likes her peas - *cough*hint*cough* - claimed that she once urinated in her undies while performing on stage. Do we forgive her? Sure. It's not like she popped a squat and laid out a log for all to see, amirite? The Secret Song File is listening to her brand new CD - which is only her second solo effort. Is it "all that," as the kids say? Why, yes, a lot of it is, mixed with some "meh," and one or two "oh, no she di'nt!" Kind of like your trick or treat bag when you get home.
I prefer mini Kit Kat bars (in case you were wondering) (you were, weren't you?) (nod yes).
Trick around in the comments, if you like!