Lady, Be Good! As Fred maintained: "This was no hackneyed ordinary musical comedy. It was slick and tongue in cheek, a definite departure in concept and design" Riley, p.
Nevertheless, the book for Lady Be Good! Anyone who had time-traveled back from two decades later having seen Rodgers' and Hammerstein's Oklahoma to attend Lady, Be Good! It's songs, great as some of them were as mentioned above, "Oh, Lady Be Good," " Fascinating Rhythm ," and, until it was dropped before the Broadway opening, " The Man I Love "were were intended mainly as a means of providing opportunities for the star performers to do their thing, though they did in most cases at least relate to the plot.
The show featured four such stars: comic Walter Catlett, Cliff Edwards otherwise know as Ukulele Ike, an enormously popular vaudevillianand, mirabile dictuFred and Adele Astaire, who were then still relatively unknown. They were a down-on-their-luck sister and brother in the show as well as sister and borther in life and it was for them that the Gershwins were mainly creating their song and dance numbers.
Fred and George had known each other since they were teenagers working at or hanging around the Tin Pan Alley music scene. As far back as that, they had dreamed Somebody Loves Me - The Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet* - Plays Gershwin (CD) loud to each other about how great it would be if some day George created a show that would star Fred and his sister.
In fact, Lady, Be Good! We now know how modern Lady, Be Good! Gershwin biographer Edward Jablonski captures the essence of what the critics missed:. Though several reviewers made note of the songs they made no mention of the innovative sound, the spare sinewy melodies, the definitely non-operetta rhythms, the wit of the lyrics. A score that scintillated and crackled with the unsentimental contemporaneity. The show's origins can be traced to London during the summer ofwhere George was putting the final touches on the production of the British show Primrosefor which he had written the score.
In London, he met with American producer Alex Aarons, writer Guy Bolton and Fred Astaire about a show they were plannin to mount on Broadway later that year, a show that at that point bore the working title Black-Eyed Susan. On the steamship voyage back to New York, George met millionaire and arts patron Otto Kahn whom he tried to interest in investing in the show. The plot, which is far too complicated and melodramatic to render in anything close to its entirety, presents a character named Jack who was supposedly murdered in Mexico but somehow shows up in New York trying to inherit a large estate claimed by a Mexican in the name of his sister on the grounds that she had married the murdered character while vacationing south of the border.
Watty Watkins, the character played by Walter Catlett, is not only Dick Trevor's lawyer, but has been engaged by the Mexican to collect his sister's share of the inheritance. Watty tries to get Susie Trevor to impersonate the Mexican's sister to help in securing his new client's share. Whether or not Susie complies will determine if the lady will be "good" or not -- where "good" can mean either good or bad depending on which character is using the term.
Susie at first declines despite Catlett's lucrative offer and then suddenly reverses course turning a yacht club party into a riot -- concluding the first act. Don't worry, everything works out and the truly "good" guys and ladies which include Fred's and Adele's characters get the inheritance and preserve their virtue. Fred Astaire was crazy about the music in the show right from his first hearing, but years later confirmed a commonly held view of the nature of the story by stating in his autobiography Steps in Time : "What the plot of Lady, Be Good!
As one can tell, even from this abbreviated synopsis of Lady Be Good! It was the songs, Somebody Loves Me - The Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet* - Plays Gershwin (CD).
They with "their originality and excellence, their complexity and sophistication in rhythm, harmony and lyric writing raised musical comedy to new heights. The Gershwin songs were new and fresh and vital, perfectly attuned to America. Ragtime and jazz had been introduced to Broadway before, but the Lady, Be Good songs transcended the popular music of honky-tonks and cabarets.
George had combined Negro music with his own syncopation. And Ira's lyrics, perfectly cadenced to the complicated music and brilliantly rhymed, gave it a finish of worldly sophistication. Thomas also quotes the New York Times review of Lady, Be Goodwhich demonstrates the relative status of Adele and Fred near the beginning of their careers:. When she [Adele] left [New York for London] she was a graceful dancer--and she has returned not only with all her glorious grace but as a first-rate comedienne in her own right.
Miss Astaire in the new piece is as charming and entertaining a musical comedy actress as the town has seen on display in many a moon. Fred Astaire too makes a good account of himself. Deena Rosenberg in her book on the collaboration between George and Ira, elucidates the place the song and show titles came to hold in the culture of The Twenties, both popular and literary:. The phrase "Oh, Lady, Be Good! It was quickly absorbed into everyday speech as well as more esoteric literary language.
Ezra Pound wrote in his 74 of his Pisan Cantos. Bullington lay on his back like an ape singing: O sweet and lovely O Lady be good. It is difficult to follow the recording history of "Oh, Lady Be Good! Gioia attributes the songs success both to George's "ear for the innovations of jazz" as well as to Ira's for the "new vernacular twists in the spoken language of the day. These include Lester Young's performance with Count Basie from which includes "one of his most studied and emulated sax solos" and led to his performance with Charlie Parker inColeman Hawkins' London recording fromand the Benny Goodman trio version from Gioia, pp.
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Notes : Whiteman's Victor recording B reached 2 on the charts in April, Music-Video : Please complete or pause one video before starting another. The first interracial group to appear regularly in public, this outlet gave BG an opportunity to stretch out and interact with his peers. Helen Ward contributes two fine vocals but the emphasis is on the close interplay between these brilliant players. Video : Please complete or pause one video before starting another.
Recorded live, the album features a set of expanded renditions of pop and jazz standards, including "a jubilant interplay" on "Oh, Lady, Be Good. Music-Video: Please complete or pause one video before starting another. It was merely a musical comedy number designed to further the plot. Some commentators, however, See Lasser and Furiathis page. The score for Scandals included the show's best remembered song, "Somebody Loves Me.
For five seasons Gershwin cut his songwriting teeth composing for White's revues, but from this point on he would cease to write songs each of which was designed to be the focal point for an individual sketch, as was required in a revue, and instead write groups of songs all of which were intended to carry forward the story of an entire show.
This new format forced George to change his composing modus operandi. For revues he could depend much more heavily on song ideas jotted down and stored away in his ever-present notebooks, but to make an entire score of songs fit a single story line, he had to start each, more or less, from scratch.
These shows with a single story from opening to closing curtain were termed book musicals, the form that became the future of the American musical theater as well as the future for George Gershwin on Broadway and later in Hollywood. According to Ruth Leon, one of George's biographers, "Gershwin had felt a revue format like George White's Somebody Loves Me - The Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet* - Plays Gershwin (CD) was the right showcase for his talents," and a song as good and lasting as "Somebody Loves Me" seems to bear that out; nevertheless, the revue form, at the time of that song's composition, was something Gershwin was leaving behind.
And, in truth, only two out of Thirty-four songs from the five scores he wrote for The Scandals are still remembered: " Stairway to Paradise " and "Somebody Loves me. He was, according to another biographer, Howard Pollack, "outgrowing the genre's limits" p.
Afterwards he wrote solely for book musicals, first on stage and then on the screen -- along with, of course, composing his concert pieces. The first and most significant of these was Rhapsody in Bluealso written during before "Somebody Loves Me".
Later in the same year, Gershwin, along with his brother Ira, who about this time became his permanent writing partner, wrote the score for their first significant book musical, Lady Be Good. It should be noted that George had previously written the score for a lesser known musical with a book, La, La, Lucille in Of the two lyricists who worked on "Somebody Loves Me," Gershwin says it was Ballard MacDonald who started the ball rolling on the song by saying, "George, let's write a song that will be simple yet strong enough to catch on and become a hit," which in fact it did, the only song from the show to do so; furthermore, Gershwin claimed MacDonald was mostly responsible for the song's lyric and admired Ballard as a "typical, colorful popular songwriter of the first rank.
Winnie Lightner introduced "Somebody Loves Me" in a Scandals sketch, the premise of which is that a young, contemporary woman suffers frustration and confusion because she knows she is loved by someone but doesn't know who.
The sketch sets her amongst her heroes all of whom surround her on stage as she sings, and includes figures from various periods as diverse as Mark Antony, Romeo, Harold Lloyd, William S.
Hart, and even twenties child star, Jacky Coogan for comic relief. She does not, however, know or discover who is meant for her, and her plight and resulting frustration serve as the source of energy that drives the song. Alec Wilder does not believe "Somebody Loves Me" is a great song but recognizes that jazz musicians have found it one to "have fun with," often choosing to play it because it is "spare"; that is, is a song not cluttered with too many notes.
Wilder goes on to note that another important reason for the popularity of "Somebody Loves Me" with jazz musicians is the novelty of its out-of-key b-flat whole notes. Of the many explanations of how George Gershwin used blue note s to inflect his compositions with a jazz flavor, the clearest, and probably the best, especially for non-musicians, comes from Gerald Mast.
Mast describes Gershwin's "partiality" for blue notes as being characterized by their unexpected arrival at a given point in a song, "rupturing a simple melodic pattern, usually at the very end of a musical phrase.
This occurs in the refrain of "Somebody Loves Me" every time the word "who" is used. The flatted third or blue Somebody Loves Me - The Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet* - Plays Gershwin (CD) used for each "who" makes the refrain repeatedly "leap out" at the listener Mast, p.
Somebody loves me, I wonder who, I wonder who she can be. Thomas Hischak in the entry for "Somebody Loves Me" in his Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia despite noting the distinctive use of blue-notes on the word "who" tilts decisively toward the song having a happy outcome:.
De Sylva and Ballard MacDonald wrote the nimble lyric about a true love who has not yet appeared on the scene, but one is confident that such a person exists p. William Hyland takes the opposite tack from Hischak, asserting the result of using the blue note on the word "who," makes "the simple question, 'I wonder who,' take on a different meaning.
He suggests that the answer to the question will be "an unhappy one" Hyland, p. Presumably, Hyland means the answer to the question will become a cause for the singer developing a case of the blues.
This notion may be confirmed by those performances of the song which are taken at a ballad tempo which Wilder says Gershwin called for or, on the other hand, undercut by those sung up-tempo, as if the singer knows he or she will be thrilled by whoever turns out to be the 'somebody.
As to whether "Somebody Loves Me" casts a negative light on the outcome of the singer's predicament of not knowing who loves or doesn't love him or her, Allen Forte claims the musical structure in association with the lyric finally clears up any ambiguities associated with the "plaintive quality of the melody. For the details of his technical analysis in support of this conclusion, see p. It seems inevitable. Vernon Duke's piano-vocal arrangement takes advantage of the many held notes to insert Gershwinesque piano breaks.
These are bits of chromatic counterpoint and they come off especially well in and around the release. A partial, but very good summary of the performance history of "Somebody Loves Me," especially as it relates to the varying tempos at which the song has been recorded, comes from Howard Pollack in his book George Gershwin: His Life and Workp. He notes how the song "quickly attracted popular and jazz musicians.
Benny Carter and Earl Hines sped it up even more. Lena Horne in the movie Broadway Rhythm begins the song as a ballad and speeds it up as she goes. Horne also shifts the verse from its usual introductory spot and inserts it after a chorus ; and that's where the speed-up comes.
Another swinging version not mentioned by Pollack is Lee Wiley's version recorded at a rehearsal session at George Wein's Storyville club in Boston with Wein on piano, Johnny Windhurst on trumpet, et. Twenty-first century versions worthy of note include Jessica Molaskey accompanied on piano by Ray Kennedy and Ken Peplowski on clarinet, which takes the song at a very appealing intimate ballad tempo on her album A Good Dayand Bill Charlap's jazz piano rendition fromaccompanied by a septet including Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Slide Hampton on trombone, Phil Woods on alto sax, and Frank Wess on tenor sax.
Margot Bingham playing Daughter Maitland in the HBO series Boardwalk Empiresings "Somebody Loves Me" in a night-club setting taking it at a moderate pace and in a tone appropriate to the carefree environment of a speak-easy that suggests she is not overly concerned about who will turn out to love her.
Whether the song is a sad or happy one Howard Pollack writes that it hovers between "the comfort of believing 'somebody loves me and the regret of not knowing who. For them this is true not only because of the points made above that it was written for Gershwin's last revue; but also because it was "the best and one of the last of Gershwin's Tin Pan Alley Songs.
The singer is "befuddled" because although she is confident that somebody loves her, she doesn't know who it could be. She is so worried about who it might be that she "frantically accosts men in the street" to determine which one loves her. Finally, "in a classic Tin Pan Alley 'finish'," she turns to her audience and "coyly" exclaims, "Maybe it's you! The persona of the singer as depicted by Furia and Lasser is similar to the the character in the original sketch in George White's Scandals of Of course, the original rendition of the song included its versethe purpose of which was to set up the sketch: There "should be a girl for every single man" Note the double entendre of "single.
The audience attending the show has had an advantage over Somebody Loves Me - The Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet* - Plays Gershwin (CD). We who haven't heard the verse are much more dependent on the latter-day singers to convey through tone and phrasing what we are supposed to think about their state of mind.
The answer was, of course, supplied in the now rarely sung verse: This is the way the world was made, with someone for everyone. So why am I an exception? Probably most modern singers understand that in this case of existential angst, less is more. The singer does not need to tell us how the world was made.
There are, however, recorded versions that include the verse. Isabelle, who was not herself in the cast, recorded the song in August,on which she sings the full llyric, including the verse. Howard Pollack notes that her rendition was taken at a slower tempo than Whiteman's, what Pollack calls "a moderate pace," which picked up when her brother Tom entered during the second chorus at "a swinging gait.
Marion Harris' version also includes the verse. Isabelle was not in the original show. Recording artists and club performers regularly change lyrics around to customize them for their own particular needs. The most common form of such customization is the changing of gender specific words to suit the needs of the singer. Even though the Ella Fitzgerald lyric for "Somebody Loves Me" given at the "Click here" link indicates that she uses the pronoun "she" and the noun "girl," at those spots where one would expect her at least at the time Ella recorded the songto invoke the male gender, she, in fact, uses "he" and "guy" on her recording.
Nat King Cole, as one would expect, uses "she" and "girl" on his. Versions of the sheet music often provide both. Click here to read Cafe Songbook lyrics policy. Warren W. Borrowed material text : The sources of all quoted and paraphrased text are cited. Such content is used under the rules of fair use to further the educational objectives of CafeSongbook. All such images are linked to the source from which they came i.
Any other images that appear on CafeSongbook. Such permission will be acknowledged in this space on the page where the image is used. For further information on Cafe Songbook policies with regard to the above matters, see our "About Cafe Songbook " page link at top and bottom of every page. Notes : Paul Whiteman's instrumental version of "Somebody Loves Me" reached number 1 on the charts in November, and remained in that position for five weeks.
Please complete or pause one video before starting another. Notes : "A hit maker who was recording before the end of World War I, Marion Harris sang a Broadway version of the blues several years before it had cracked the commercial consciousness, near the end of the s.
In that, she was a harbinger of the Jazz Age, although her hits dried up by the mid-'20s" from iTunes biography. Her recording, of "Somebody Loves Me," in which she includes the versereached number 7 on the charts in January, The vocal here is by members of the orchestra. The identity of the vocal soloist is currently unknown to us.
Jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden once referred to Ruby Braff as the "Ivy League's Louis Armstrong." That legacy of great trumpet performance and recording is brought to readers in Thomas Hustad's Born to Play: The Ruby Braff Discography and Directory of Performances. Braff's uncompromising standards, musical taste, and creative imagination informed his consummate artistry in creating music. This CD reissue from cornetist Ruby Braff and guitarist George Barnes is like vintage wine -- it's better today than when it was first released in The interplay between the two leads, with fine back-up from guitarist Wayne Wright and bassist Michael Moore, makes for an enjoyable concert of Rodgers and Hart's finest/5(4). Ruby Braff / George Barnes Quartet メンバー: George Barnes, Michael Moore (2), Ruby Braff, Wayne Wright (2). 's wonderful --I got rhythm --They can't take that away from me --Nice work if you can get it --Somebody loves me --But not for me --Summertime/Bidin' my time --Love walked in --Embraceable you --Liza. Other Titles: Ruby Braff George Barnes Quartet plays Gershwin. As has been pointed out on the Cafe Songbook page for "Somebody Loves Me," was a pivotal year both for the Gershwin brothers as well as for Broadway itself. It was the year George ceased writing songs for revue s and ventured completely into the realm of the book musical, what later became known as the musical comedy, the form that. The Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet: Ruby Braff: Primary Artist, Trumpet, Cornet: The Rodgers and Hart Songbook: Tony Bennett: Guest Artist, Cornet: Ruby Braff and His International Jazz Quartet Plus Three: Ruby Braff: Primary Artist, Trumpet, Cornet: Plays Gershwin CD music As with other products from Elation Records (and Dennis and Christy Soares) the tracks on this CD reflect love, hope, sadness, joy, and a kind of idealism that is somewhat uncommon The CD contains 11 tracks of adult contempory/easy listening music. This CD was recorded and produced in by Dennis and Christy Soares. Song information for Somebody Loves Me - Ruby Braff, Ruby Braff - George Barnes Quartet on AllMusic AllMusic. New Releases George Gershwin. Ballard MacDonald. Ruby Braff & the George Barnes Quartet Play Gershwin. Concord Jazz: Read and write album reviews for Ruby Braff & the George Barnes Quartet Play Gershwin - George Barnes on AllMusic. "Somebody Loves Me" and the year in which it was written, , together represent a turning point in George Gershwin's career. He, Buddy De Sylva and Ballard MacDonald wrote "Somebody Loves Me" for the edition of The George White Scandals, a series of .
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