Category Archives: Friday Cocktail Hour

Can We Still Be Friends

Cocktail Hour Todd Darryl

I’m sticking with blue-eyed soul this week. I’m still hoping to be invited for a drink with Daryl and Todd. You never know what might happen.

Todd Rundgren wrote Can We Still Be Friends for his 1978 album Hermit Of Mink Hollow. A weird title for an album featuring one of Todd’s biggest hits.

We begin with the maestro:

Here’s a bossa nova version from With A Twist:

Robert Palmer had a minor hit with Todd’s tune in 1979.

Finally, Todd and Daryl Hall on the latter’s teevee show.

That’s it for this week. Let’s drink to a trash-free New Orleans. An unlikely prospect but I can dream. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.

I Saw The Light

Cocktail: Todd Darryl

Welcome to an atypical edition of the Friday Cocktail Hour. It’s tightly focused on one artist, Todd Rundgren. It’s a sign of the times: Todd and Utopia have been the soundtrack of my Hurricane Ida experience.

I Saw The Light was written by Todd Rundgren in 1971. In twenty minutes. I am not making this up. It first appeared on the Something/Anything? album on which Todd played all the instruments and sang all the vocals. He wasn’t kidding when he later dubbed himself A Wizard, A True Star.

We have two versions of this Todd tune. We begin with the studio original.

The featured image is of Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren on Live From Daryl’s House. The episode was shot at Todd’s spectacular digs in Hawaii.

I love it when those Philly boys sing together. They sound like brothers.

That’s it for this eventful and tumultuous week. I’d like to propose a toast to everyone in South Louisiana and those who came to help. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.

Saturday Odds & Sods will return on September, 18.

A Fine Romance

In 1952 Norman Granz of Verve Records convinced Fred Astaire to record some jazz versions of tunes he sang onscreen. The band leader was Oscar Peterson. The featured image shows Astaire at the piano and Oscar with Ray Brown’s bass. I have no idea why.

A Fine Romance was written in 1936 by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields for the George Stevens directed Astaire-Rogers movie Swing Time. It was a duet between Fred and Ginger. We’re skipping that and beginning with Fred jazzing it up.

We begin our survey of A Fine Romance with The Astaire Story:

Speaking of Oscar Peterson, he plays on this Ella-Satchmo duet.

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You Make Me Feel So Young

This feature began life with torch songs, the sadder the better. I’ll continue to post them but given how grim things are this summer, I’m keeping it light today.

You Make Me Feel So Young was written in 1946 by Josef Myrow and Mack Gordon. It was recorded several times before the patron saint of the Friday Cocktail Hour took ownership of the song in 1956. That’s where we begin.

Ella Fitzgerald put her own spin on it 3 years later.

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I Was Doing All Right

I Was Doing All Right is one of the Gershwin brothers lesser-known songs. It was written for a lesser-known 1938 movie, The Goldwyn Follies.

I’ve had a tough week (more about that tomorrow) so I thought something lyrically upbeat was in order. Besides, it means I can use the Louis and Oscar featured image.

We begin with two of my musical heroes, Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson.

The Gershwin songbook was one of the highlights of Ella Fitzgerald’s distinguished career as a recording artist:

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Try A Little Tenderness

Try A Little Tenderness is an old song that was transformed into a Sixties soul classic by the great Otis Redding. It was written in 1932 by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, and Harry M. Woods. It’s unclear what if anything those gentleman thought of the way Otis took control of their song.

One of the first hit versions of Try A Little Tenderness was by Bing Crosby. That’s where we begin.

Since Otis Redding took ownership of the song in 1966, here’s the studio original and Otis live at the Monterey Pop Festival.

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Black and Blue

A note about the featured image. Louis Armstrong was the first to record this week’s song, but Oscar Peterson did not record it. I used the picture because of my Louis-Oscar love. Besides, it’s a stunning image.

The full title of this week’s song is (What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue. It was written in 1929 by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks, and Andy Razar for the Broadway musical Hot Chocolates.

Black and Blue is a rare “race song” from the jovial Waller. It still packs a punch to this day.

We begin with an instrumental version from the tunesmith.

Louis Armstrong was the first to record Black and Blue. I prefer the 1955 version from Satch Plays Fats. It’s one of the great man’s finest albums. It will show up as tomorrow’s Saturday Classic.

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Crazy He Calls Me

Last week I featured a “guy song,” this one is for and by the ladies with an exceptional exception. Crazy He Calls Me, however, was written in 1949 by two men, Carl Sigman and Bob Russell.

The song quite rightly is associated with the great Billie Holiday who was the first artist to record it. That’s where we begin our musical journey.

Here’s the aforementioned exceptional exception. What was it with Nat and sweaters? The man lived in LA. I guess he was trying to Crosby-fy his image; either that or he got cold easily.

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Walkin’ My Baby Back Home

I never drop gs in my writing or speech. It sounds rural and I’m anything but. I drop a g today in the interest of accuracy. Oh well, what the hell.

Walkin’ My Baby Back Home was written in 1930 by Fred E. Ahlert and Roy Turk. If I were more alert I’d make a pun on Ahlert’s name. Sometimes I don’t know when to stop…

Walkin’ My Baby Back Home was recorded many times before Nat King Cole and Billy May cut the definitive version. That’s where we begin.

Nat also recorded the song on an all-piano album.

Louis Armstrong’s version was recorded before Nat’s, but the latter is the king of this tune; make that King Cole. Louis had the last laugh because he was King Zulu.

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The Tracks Of My Tears

Since I complained about the lack of uninterrupted music in my Summer Of Soul review, here’s a stone-cold soul classic. The Tracks Of My Tears was written in 1965 by Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, and Marv Tarplin.  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles first cut this great song, but it’s been recorded over 100 times.

We begin with Smokey and the gang; not to be confused with Kool even though the Miracles *were* cool.

One of the talked over numbers in Summer Of Soul was by Gladys Knight & Pips, so I’ll STFU.

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Witchcraft

I reused the Rita, Frank, and Kim image from Pal Joey because I like it so much, not because Witchcraft comes from that movie. It was, however, written for Sinatra by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh. It’s one of the Chairman of the Board’s signature songs.

There’s only one place to begin this week:

Not long after Elvis Presley got out of the army, he appeared on a Sinatra teevee special and traded verses with Frank. Elvis sang Witchcraft and Sinatra Love Me Tender in this meeting of popular music deities.

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Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, and Kim Novak in Pal Joey.

Magic week continues here at First Draft. This time we skip the demented dummy and focus on the music.

Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart wrote Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered for their smash hit 1940 Broadway musical Pal Joey. The song title is often shortened to Bewitched but I prefer it in its long-winded glory.

We begin with the first known recorded version by Benny Goodman and Helen Forrest:

Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers and Hart Songbook is an underrated part of her canon. I have no idea why.

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Stars Fell On Alabama

I had other plans for this space until I wrote my Stupid Fell On Alabama post. It would be stupid not to follow up on that.

Stars Fell On Alabama was written in 1934 by Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parrish. It was inspired by a spectacular meteor shower 100 years earlier.

My favorite version of Stars Fell On Alabama comes from Frank Sinatra’s A Swingin’ Affair album. I posted it on Wednesday, so we begin with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong with my main man Oscar Peterson on piano:

Next up, another small group arrangement featuring Friday Cocktail Hour regular Billie Holiday.

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All The Way

Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn, and their pal Oscar.

Ace lyricist Sammy Cahn is back this time with his favorite collaborator, Chester Babcock DBA Jimmy Van Heusen. He took his stage name from the shirt on his back: Van Heusen. His cronies still called him Chet.

Van Heusen and Cahn were a perfect fit for Frank Sinatra. They wrote 3 Oscar winning songs for the Chairman of the Board; one of which was this week’s selection.

All The Way was written in 1957 for the Sinatra flick The Joker Is Wild. Frank loved Chet and Sammy and the feeling was mutual.

With the exception of Lena Horne, the best and most interesting versions of All The Way were recorded by male singers. I guess it’s a manly man tune.

We begin at the beginning with the patron saint of the Friday Cocktail Hour:

Most of the subsequent recordings of All The Way followed the Sinatra model of a string heavy arrangement. Who wants to mess with Frank? Lena Horne did not.

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Teach Me Tonight

This week’s featured image is of Billy May conducting as Nat King Cole sings. We’ll return to those two estimable gentlemen in a moment.

Teach Me Tonight was written in 1953 by Gene De Paul and Sammy Cahn. The latter is better known for his work with Chet Babcock DBA Jimmy Van Heusen.

Teach Me Tonight is an oft recorded tune so if I miss your favorite you’re SOL.

We begin with Nat King Cole and Billy May.

Dinah Washington had a big hit with this week’s tune in 1954.

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Cole Porter Month: The Grand Finale

Cole Porter month has been delightful, delirious, and de-lovely. But all good things come to end, bad ones too for that matter.

We’re wrapping up Cole Porter month with seven Porter gems. Enjoy.

Our first selection was written in 1950 ending up in the film version of Kiss Me Kate. It features the vocal stylings of Francis Albert Sinatra:

You’re The Top was written in 1934 for the smash hit musical Anything Goes. Ella Fitzgerald’s version has a suitably whimsical arrangement by band leader Buddy Bregman.

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You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To

It’s a special day at Adrastos World HQ: Dr. A and my 28th anniversary. She’s remarkably tolerant to have put up with me for all these years. The puns alone would have driven away a lesser woman. This edition of the Friday Cocktail Hour is dedicated to you, babe.

Cole Porter month continues with a song written in 1943 for a long-forgotten movie, Something To Shout About. The only memorable things about it are Don Ameche and You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.

We begin with the patron saint of the Friday Cocktail Hour, Francis Albert Sinatra with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

It’s swing time with Anita O’Day and Billy May.

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You Do Something To Me

Cole Porter month continues with You Do Something To Me. He wrote it in 1929 for the musical, Fifty Million Frenchmen. The song is best known for one line, “Do do that voodoo that you do so well.” I’ve used it myself more than a few times. I only steal from the best.

We begin with Marlene Dietrich emoting the song. She couldn’t really sing but, boy, could she emote.

Ella’s Cole Porter Song Book is the gold standard for all such records.

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I Get A Kick Out Of You

I hereby declare May to be Cole Porter month at the Friday Cocktail Hour. Why May? Why the hell not?

Cole Porter wrote I Get A Kick Out Of You in 1934 for the Broadway musical Anything Goes, which starred Ethel Merman. Porter loved Merman’s brassy-n-hammy voice. I do not. She used to scare the beejesus out of me when she appeared on variety shows in my youth. I bear the musical scars to this very day.

Since I love the featured image of Louis and Oscar so much, we begin with their version, which always gives me a boot as well as a kick:

Perhaps the best known interpretation of the Porter classic comes from the Sinatra-Riddle team. Dig that crazy lamppost.

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Too Marvelous For Words

I’m in a good mood this week so it’s time for an upbeat, uptempo song in this space.

Too Marvelous For Words was written in 1937 by Johnny Mercer and Richard Whiting for a forgettable 1937 movie, Ready, Willing, and Able. The song itself is memorable for Mercer’s word play. Rumor has it that I like word play. I even like typing the phrase.

We begin with my two favorite versions of Too Marvelous For Words: Frank Sinatra followed by Ella Fitzgerald. Both feature arrangements by Nelson Riddle but are just as unique as if the Riddler was not involved.

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