Song of the Day: Sammy Davis Jr., “The Birth Of The Blues”

Jim’s prompt this week is "birth, death, life," and I decided to go Rat Pack here.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about "The Birth Of The Blues"….

"The Birth of the Blues" is a popular 1926 song composed by Ray Henderson, with lyrics by Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown. It was used in the Broadway revue George White’s Scandals of 1926. It was recorded in its debut year by Paul Whiteman (with vocals by Jack Fulton, Charles Gaylord and Austin "Skin" Young), Harry Richman, and The Revelers.

Here’s Sammy Davis Jr.’s version from the 1955 album of the same name.

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

Oh… they say my people long ago
Where lookin’ for a different tune
One that we can croon
As only we can
We only had the rhythm
So, we started swingin’ to and fro
We didn’t know just what to use
But this is how the blues
I said the blues really began
Oh yeah

We heard the breeze
Through the trees
Singing weird melodies
And we named that the start of the blues

Then from a jail
There came a whale
From a down-hearted frail
And we played that
To be a part of our blues

From a whippoorwill
High on a hill
They took a new note
Pushed it through a horn
Till it was worn into a blue note

You better believed me we nursed it
And we rehearsed it
Than we gave out the news
That the South Land, gave birth to the blues

That’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for November 14, 2021.

20 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Sammy Davis Jr., “The Birth Of The Blues”

    1. Glad you like it! Sammy was maybe the greatest entertainer I ever saw. Fantastic voice, tremendous dancer, could act, tell jokes, and do Western-style gun tricks (I saw him several times on Carol Burnett when they’d do Western sketches). And just an overall good person. He had to deal with Jim Crow and the whole May Britt thing (in a day when mixed-race couples were taboo), but he always came up swinging.

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    1. Doesn’t surprise me. He, Frank and Dean were as close as any three entertainters could be. Frank did a lot for Sammy. When Sammy started playing Las Vegas, the hotel owners would make him stay in another part of town. Frank went to the owners and said “If he sings in your showrooms, he stays at your hotel.”

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