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Johnny Mercer was a class act as a lyricist. He, alone, could well populate the jazz songbook of standards. Singer Tom Culver pays special tribute to Mercer with I Remember You, a sporting collection of Mercer's finest that include "Day In, Day Out," "Skylark," "Moon River," and the title cut. Culver is a vocalist cut from the same bolt as Roger Cairns, both men possessing distinct and joyful voices and an expert knack for the American Songbook. Both also sport honest voices, and never ask too much from them, thereby delivering consistently fine products.
Train songs have been a part of the swing vocabulary since the first steam whistle blew. Mercer, in company with Harry Warren, composed one of the best in "On the Atchinson, Topeka and the Santa Fe" originally written for the 1946 movie, The Harvey Girls, and originally sung by Judy Garland, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song that same year. Culver sings the song with an easy slur, navigating the song's train-track rhythm with a boisterous, lopping glee. Pianist Rick Hils and guitarist Tom Bethke provide the railroad soundtrack, over which Culver plays engineer on this most fine of train songs.
Personnel: Tom Culver: vocals; Rick Hils: piano; Lou Shoch: bass; Tom Bethke: guitar; Gerryck King: drums.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.