Song Lyric Sunday: “Something Cool”

I’m going to take this week’s prompt, Cool/Groovy/Hip/Nifty/Radical/Swell, in a completely different direction than just about everyone else. At least, I hope so.

June Christy is a favorite singer of mine. She got her start singing with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, one of the big names in West Coast or “cool” jazz. She met husband Pete Rugolo when he was with the band, and when June decided to go solo he helped her record her first album, 1952’s Something Cool. In 1953, the album was expanded to 12 songs from 7, and in 1954 she recorded the album in stereo; this is the version that caught on and brought her to prominence. The title track was written by Billy Barnes. From a 1959 appearance on Playboy After Dark, Miss June Christy, “Something Cool.”

The lyrics, from Genius:

Something cool
Something cool
Something cool
I’d like to order something cool!

Something cool, (something cool)
I’d like to order something cool, (something cool)
It’s so warm here in town
And the heat gets me down
Yes, I’d like something cool! (something cool)

My! It’s nice to simply sit and rest awhile
Now I know it’s a shame
I can’t think of your name
I remember your smile!

I don’t ordinarily drink with strangers
I most usually drink alone
You were so awfully nice to me
And I’m so terribly far from home

Like my dress? I must confess it’s terribly old
But it’s simple and neat
It’s just right for the heat
Save my furs for the cold!

A cigarette? Well I don’t smoke them as a rule
But I’ll have one
It might be fun
With something cool!

I’ll bet you couldn’t imagine
That I one time had a house
With so many rooms I couldn’t count them all!
I’ll bet you couldn’t imagine
I had fifteen different beaus
Who would beg and beg to take me to a ball

I’ll bet you couldn’t picture me
The time I went to Paris in the Fall
And who would think the man I loved was quite so handsome
Quite so tall?

Well it’s true, (something cool)
It’s just a memory I have, (something cool)
One I almost forgot
‘Cause the weather’s so hot!
And I’m feeling so bad (something cool)
About a date
Oh wait!
I’m such a fool!
He’s just a guy
Who’s stopped to buy
Me something cool!

That’s Song Lyric Sunday for May 26, 2019.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “All Or Nothing At All”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

“All Or Nothing At All” was written in 1939 by Arthur Altman with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. It was recorded that year by Frank Sinatra and The Harry James Orchestra, but not released until 1943, during a musician’s strike. Sinatra said this song got them fired from the Club Victor Hugo, and that it was the song he auditioned with for Tommy Dorsey. Here is the original, which is not in the running (meaning any votes for it will be ignored). You’ll understand why in a moment.

This has become a standard over the years, recorded by hundreds of artists, including the three lovely ladies who will be competing in this battle. Listen to the three versions and decide which of them you like the best.

CONTESTANT #1: Sarah Vaughan From her 1962 album Sarah + 2, where she was accompanied by Barney Kessel on guitar and Joe Comfort on double bass.

CONTESTANT #2: June Christy From 2000’s A Friendly Session, Vol. 1 with the Johnny Guarnieri Quartet.

CONTESTANT #3: Billie Holiday Title track from her 1958 album. The band included Joe Mondragon (bass), Alvin Stoller (drums), Barney Kessel (guitar), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Ben Webster (tenor sax), and Harry Edison (trumpet).

So, you know the drill: listen to all three versions, decide which is your favorite, and vote for it in the comments. Then, go over to Stephen T. McCarthy’s Battle of the Bands page, where he has a list of other participants, and visit their Battles. I’ll announce the winner of today’s battle next Thursday, June 8, so be sure and cast your vote before then.

The lines are now open. Best of luck to Sassy, June, and Lady Day!

Two For Tuesday: June Christy

2fortuesdaybadge

First, like the new badge? I made it with Retype, like I’ve used for every other badge. I’m thinking I might need to make it smaller. But that’s for later.

Back when Dad was still alive, his brother Ed upgraded his stereo equipment and we got his old one. Either Ed forgot it or it was in our record collection at home (which would make no sense, since we didn’t have a record player), but I remember June Christy’s album Something Cool appeared around the same time. I’m pretty sure it was the 1960 stereo release, to demonstrate the wonders of stereophonic sound. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember when stereos were a relatively recent phenomenon.) It was on Capitol Records, the same label as The Beatles, so I gave it a listen one day. Not quite what I expected, but she sounded good to my nine-year-old ears. When I was much older, I learned that she was one of the voices of “cool jazz,” with its relaxed tempos and lighter tone that came from the West Coast after World War II.

Born Shirley Luster in Springfield, Illinois, June started with the Bill Oetzel Orchestra when she was 13, and replaced Anita O’Day as the vocalist for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Richard Cook, in an article for The New Statesman, called her “one of the finest and most neglected singers of her time.”

June sang on “Tampico,” which was Stan Kenton’s biggest hit. From 1945…

June’s first solo album was the aforementioned Something Cool, backed by Pete Rugolo’s orchestra. It was originally released as a 10″ EP in 1954 and was re-recorded as a full album the following year. They had the foresight to record the album in stereo, and it was released as a stereo LP in 1960. The title track from the album, from 1960…

June semi-retired in 1969 to cope with alcoholism. She sang at the 1972 Newport Jazz Festival in a reunion with Kenton, then performed at festivals with a band composed of West Coast musicians. Her last album, Impromptu, was released in 1977, and her last performance was with Chet Baker in 1988.

June Christy, your Two for Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “I Remember You”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

“I Remember You” was written in 1941 by Victor Schertzinger, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Mercer had a crush on Judy Garland, who was set to marry David Rose, and he presented her with the song on her wedding day. It was used in the 1942 movie The Fleet’s In which starred Dorothy Lamour, Eddie Bracken, William Holden, and Betty Hutton.

Maybe the most popular version of the song was done in 1962 by British country singer Frank Ifield. His version went to #1 and stayed there for seven weeks and sold over a million copies in the UK alone, and reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Easy Listening Charts in the US. It was originally issued on Gary, Indiana’s Vee Jay label, so he was a labelmate with The Beatles and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Here’s his version, for reference purposes only; it’s not one of the contestants.

The song is both a jazz and country standard. It’s been done by jazz players Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, and Tal Farlow, and country artists such as Slim Whitman (as you might expect) and John Denver. I’ve chosen a sample of both styles for you to choose from, so if you’re quite ready…

CONTESTANT #1: Glen Campbell

Glen covered the song on his 1987 album Still Within The Sound Of My Voice. It rose to #32 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1988.

CONTESTANT #2: June Christy

June wrapped her lovely voice around this standard on the 1958 album The Song Is June!, backed by the Pete Rugolo Orchestra.

Now, it’s time to vote…

So, which did you prefer? Glen Campbell’s countryfied version, influenced by Frank Ifield but with his own touches, or June Christy’s presentation of this standard? Leave me a comment and tell me which one you liked better. I’ll tally the votes and publish the results on Wednesday, June 22.

Then, how about visiting some of today’s other battles? All or some of these blogs have battles today:

Tossing It Out
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands *
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
ReInVintaged
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Janie Junebug Righting and Editing
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter
NovelBrews

* Check Stephen’s blog for further updates to this list!

Once again, results will be announced next Wednesday, June 22. Best of luck to Glen and June!