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Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book

Mark Barnett By

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It snaps, it cracks, it sizzles, and all the lines are intact—including one that might recall the English Lit class you took a few (or more) years ago. Remember the poem that went "a book of verses underneath the bough, a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou beside me singing in the wilderness."? It's from a collection called "The Rubiyat of Omar Khayam." You may not remember it (I didn't) but Hart remembered, and he worked it into the lyrics: "Underneath the bough, we'll take a lesson from Mr. Omar, beneath the eyes of no Pa and no Ma, where Mother Nature is boss." (Note that the rhyme works best for New Yorkers, who say "Omah" for "Omar.")

Does a song improve when a singer embellishes it with "personal touches"? Not often. (Can you say "self-indulgent"?) Torme defies that rule with a tiny touch of rare beauty. Listen for this triplet in the first verse: "Eat and you'll grow fatter girl, s'matter girl, attagirl." He tosses off the first two in a hard, teasing tone, then, after the briefest pause, delivers the third with great tenderness. Larry Hart would have loved it.

Track Listing: Have You Met Miss Jones?; You Took Advantage of Me; A Ship Without a Sail; To Keep My Love Alive; Dancing on the Ceiling; The Lady Is a Tramp; With a Song in My Heart; Manhattan; Johnny One Note; I Wish I Were in Love Again; Spring Is Here; It Never Entered My Mind; This Can't Be Love; Thou Swell; My Romance; Where or When; Little Girl Blue; Give It Back to the Indians; Ten Cents a Dance; There's a Small Hotel; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Ev'rything I've Got; I Could Write a Book; The Blue Room; My Funny Valentine; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered; Mountain Greenery; Wait Till You See Him; Lover (Stereo Take); Isn't It Romantic?; Here in My Arms; Blue Moon; My Heart Stood Still; I've Got Five Dollars

Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald: Vocals; Buddy Bregman: Arranger, Conductor

Title: Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book | Year Released: 1956 | Record Label: Verve

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