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Some posts in another thread inspired me to start this. Readers on this forum know that I'm a lover of the "Great American Songbook." Unfortunately, a lot of people either don't know what it is, or think that those songs are passť. Happily, there are quite a few younger artists who are keeping it alive. Some of their performances may not always measure up to the best, but many are delightful in their own right. And, it is always fun to compare then to now. That is what I want this thread to be about: The Great American Songbook, Then and Now.
To start it off, here is a "then and now" on the great Cole Porter tune, "I've Got You Under My Skin." First, the "definitive" version by Frank Sinatra with the fine Nelson Riddle orchestral arrangement. Then, Chris Botti and the Boston Pops with the young singer Katharine McPhee. Notice how closely the orchestra follows the original Riddle arrangement in the Botti version.
OK...it's confession time: Although I've been a lifelong badboy rock 'n' roller, the Drummerboy has a sentimental soft spot for some of the old crooner songs, and this one is one of my all-time favorites. I get misty everytime.
First up, "Lady Day," Billie Holiday, singing the beautiful tune, "Violets For Your Furs." When this was recorded, Holiday was reaching the end of her very difficult life. Her voice (indeed, her whole being) was tired, but few singers could ever touch an emotional nerve in her listeners better than she could. Less than two years after this album was recorded, she was dead. In her version, this happy, hopeful lyric is tinged with pathos and loss--likely the real world merging of Holiday's life with her art.
In the later version here, Stacey Kent, a lovely vocalist in her own right, sings this tune in an entirely different mood--one molded in the romantic hope of a young lover recalling falling in love. The difference in approach between the two versions could not be more noticeable, but both are delights.
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