2015-07-30

The Roaring Twenties.

My friend Errol of the late lamented Debs and Errol singing duo and creator of the My Neighbor Errol web-comic, has requested some tunes from the '20s that his former partner Debs could sing. Check out her lungs in any of these or other tunes.
For example:



Or seek out one of their CDs such as...


Scamming from the Wiki pages of 20s tunes, here is a smattering of the tunes I like and some Japanese ones I hope to learn.

Not too many from 1920 that I know yet this one called The Japanese Sandman looks intriguing.
Written by Richard A. Whiting and Raymond B. Egan, it was scammed a lot for use in Propaganda cartoons.

I like this Artie Shaw version but it's only instrumental.



So let's try this Andrews Sisters version instead.



Nope. It's a little too boring for Debs. So it's on to 1921...

"Ain't We Got Fun". Hey, it's also by Whiting and Egan. I remember this tune mainly as a one-liner in a Bugs Bunny cartoon but this version by Peggy Lee is nice.
ps. Happy 75th birthday to Bugs!





It's a little livelier when warbled by Doris Day.



How about "April Showers"?



oops. I'm most familiar with Al Jolson's take on it, yet this one by Mel Torme is jazzier.



Not very seasonal though, so let's try "I'm Just Wild About Harry". The best version ever is from "One Froggy Evening"!



Any of the above songs would be okay, this one is from the 55 second mark.

On to 1922, I've like this song ever since I heard Stephanie Mills sing this on All in the Family. "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" is a little inappropriate for a nine-year old, but Debs could kill it. You can sit through the entire episode below or wait until the 20:20 mark. (For a more adult version, try Michelle Peyroux.)



From 1923, there is a Japanese version of "Dinah" sung by Mine Takeuchi or this version by Enomoto Kenichi.



The Japanese one may be a bit tough for Debs, so let's try this one by Josephine Baker instead.



Ooh, that's a little screechy. Let's move on to 1924 and "The Man I Love" by the Gershwins. I found an anachronistically inaccurate version from Young Indiana Jones and the Scandal of 1920 (it states the episode is 1920, the song is 1924) but the singer has gusto.



Either "Indian Love Call" or "Rose Marie" are good Slim Whitman tunes written in '24, the former can be sung if any Martians decide to attack the theatre.

There are lots of tunes from 1925 that I like. "Squeeze Me", "I'm Sitting on Top of the World", "If You Knew Suzie", "Sweet Georgia Brown" or "Tea for Two" are all songs I like.

Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, or Lena Horne all knock it out of the park, let's go with Canadian Diana Krall though.



I'm most familiar with Al Jolson's styling but I think "I'm Sitting On Top of the World" by Arethra Franklin would suit Debs better.



"If You Knew Suzie" may not be the best choice for Debs, but I'm partial to the Kelly and Sinatra tune.



I'm most familiar with "Tea for Two" when Johnny Carson bombed a joke. It might make a nice duet with Errol though. Listen to Doris Day warble it.



"Sweet Georgia Brown" is a cool tune popularized by The Harlem Globetrotters though I'm not too sure whether Debs is that a good whistler.

Moving on to 1926, if Debs doesn't sing "Blue Skies", I'm certain everyone will be disappointed. This version by Ella is the one I always listen to in the car.



I'm sure she could pull off the Geek version based on Ol' Yellow Eyes, Data.


 
Absolutely everyone has covered "Bye Bye Blackbird" so let's go with Ringo Starr...



I have a gag about "Someone to Watch Over Me", the ultimate stalker song. Before the Ridley Scott movie began, I quipped, "More like 'Someone to Watch while I Pee'" and sure enough bodyguard Berenger had a scene when he had to view Mimi Rogers in the bathroom.
When in doubt, go with Ella.



"S' Wonderful" is a wonderful song with lots of made up words to make Grammar Nazis cringe. Let's check out Diana Krall again.



I think Errol should sing "Ain't She Sweet" in honour of his former partner.

The song "Stardust" starts off my favourite movie, "My Favorite Year". You'll have to take my word for it, it doesn't show up in this clip.



You can't go wrong with any of Hoagy Carmichael's songs, especially when sung by Nat King Cole.



Speaking of Nat, how about "My Blue Heaven"?



I first remember Cole Porter's "Let's Misbehave" from Woody Allen's Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex. Let's not forget about Chris Walken's striptease in "Pennies from Heaven".



Moving on to 1928, I'd be remiss if I didn't include Mack the Knife from Three Penny Opera. I sing the Bobby Darin version though Debs may be more comfortable with the ubiquitous Ella.



Lots of versions of "Embraceable You" though Billie Holiday has the definitive one. (If Debs and Errol want to reunite, they could try the Judy Garland/ Frank Sinatra duet).



If you want to add to your Geek cred and sing (offensively) about "Nagasaki", follow in the steps of Jeeves and Worster:



Finally, 1929. If Debs has a soft-shoe routine, she could try the original version of "Singing in the Rain" (I don't really need to link that, do I?) Or she and Errol could do a Young Frankenstein version of "Puttin; on the Ritz".



Put on a Catwoman costume and try "Ain't Misbehavin'".



The last suggestion I'm going to make (it's now 4 a.m.) is "Honeysuckle Rose". I like how Holly Cole nails it like she did in Tokyo when I saw her a a few years back.



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