Categories

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Follow BestAmPo on Twitter

« Happy Punctuation Day! | Main | On George Gershwin's Birthday »

September 25, 2012

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e54fe4158b8833017c321d47cb970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference DE-FAMILIARIZING THE FAMILIAR by Ira Sadoff:

Comments

Another beautiful column, Ira. My compliments. Like you, I love the Coltrane cover of "My Favorite Things" and marvel that such a sweet R & H number -- like, too, "The Surrey withe Fringe on Top" -- would hold such attractions for jazz musicians both pre- and post-bop. I think you're too hard on Doris Day -- and on "Tea for Two," which isn't a product of the 1950s but was a last-minute insert in the 1925 musical "No, No Nanette." Vincent Youmans wrote the catchy number and woke up happy-go-lucky lyricist Irving Caesar in the middle of the night. The latter says he promptly if grouchily wrote the words for "Tea for Two" as if it were a dummy lyric. In ten minutes, he said. It's a sophisticated example of iambic dimeter -- "Picture you / upon my knee, / just tea for two / and two for tea / just me for you / and you for me / alone!" (In the lines you quote, it's "Day will break and I'll awake.") As naively affirmative as "Love and Marriage" -- too beautiful not to be, in its musically comical way, true. I'm being very pedantic but only because I love the song as much as did Lester Young or Art Tatum. But let me not obscure, with these remarks, your wonderfully sensitive readings of, musings, on, Coltrane and Monk. -- DL

Hi David,
First, thanks for your kind words about the columns. Much appreciated.
I should have been more clear about the "Tea for Two' reference (got another smart email about it). What I should have added was that the Doris Day version was in the air, both as hit song and hit movie in 1950 with Gordon McRae. My guess is that's what Monk's thinking about in 1955 (he'd been playing it in clubs since '52). Sorry I don't share your affection for Doris Day's version (though she was an ok white jazz singer in the Forties). Way too much syrup in the content of the dream in her interpretation.Caesar's an interesting case and an interesting lyricist, though his composing those lyrics during the height of flapper-dom is already sentimental. And it's not that I lack affection for the melody (or the meter, which looks better on paper to me than as song); it's that Monk makes me hear the tune in such a way I can't be suckered by the Tea for Two dream again. Thanks for your feedback: my guess, though I share your love of Sinatra absolutely, is that we have different feelings about musical comedy: I have to admit too that it's far from my area of expertise.
warm regards,
Ira

The first time I heard Coltrane's interpretation of "My Favorite Things" I was stunned: how could he hear the possibilities in that song, written for so specific a purpose (to calm frightened children - hence those lyrics, which do work for the intended purpose, yes?). That Coltrane could locate the depth of the composition speaks to his genius and Rodgers's too. Coltrane's version always sounds somewhat mournful to me and that's one thing I love about it.
I don't hear sexism in the lyrics of either song and even though my feminist bona fides are unimpeachable, I've always found "Tea for Two" to be charming despite its conjuring of a domestic idyll that breaks down along conventional male/female roles. I've always wanted to bake a sugar cake! I haven't visited here in a while and am glad I stopped by during this week. It's been fascinating. More please.

These are great comments. Thank you for weighing in, Marissa. Ira, I don't know Doris's cover of "Tea for Two"; I was rising to her defense in general -- she has such a pure tone. BTW, and WAGBW, how did you know I'm a Sinatra fan? Speaking of the "hoodlum from Hoboken," he did a nifty duet with Doris Day on the radio in the 1940s: Berlin's "Let's take an old fashioned walk." -- DL

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Follow BestAmPo on Twitter
 
 

Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


Shop Indie Bookstores
 
 


This Way Out

THE RULE OF THUMB
by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.

 

 


A creative communications, branding, and resources consultancy founded by Victoria C. Rowan

 

Reach a Wide International Audience


Advertise on the Best American Poetry Blog