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Sunday, January 04, 2009

My Musical Obsessions

For a time, I was pretty obsessed with the song "Baby It's Cold Outside"; I blame the French. Actually, I blame my friend Deborah who lives in France. She turned me onto the Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams version of the song that appeared in the 1949 film Neptune's Daughter. Subsequently, I learned that Red Skelton and Betty Garrett reprise the song in the same film.

The Montleban-Williams version was recorded, but it was not the first one released. That honor went to Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, one day before Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, and BOTH of those recordings charted on the same day.

One of the best versions was done by Louis Armstrong with Velma Middleton. The story of the Satchmo version can be seen here.

What reminded me of all this was a version of the song on Coverville by Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone from the Elf soundtrack.

Also on the Coverville Annual Holiday Cover Show was Mele Kalikimaka/Waters Of Babylon by The Priestess & The Fool. The first song, of course, is the classic Hawaiian-sounding song by Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters. The second, though, is a song by Don McLean, the "American Pie" guy, originally called Babylon.

LINK.

Initially, I thought: "what a bizarre segue!" Babylon is based on Psalm 137, scripture most pastors I've known dreaded preaching about, as it's depressing as hell. BTW, Psalm 137 is also the source of Rivers of Babylon by the Melodians from The Harder They Come soundtrack.

But the I began rethinking my objection to Babylon. Though it's not very "Christmasy", one of the earliest events after the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1 and 2 was the slaughter of the innocents, ordered by King Herod in Matthew 2:16-18, not unlike the events around Moses' birth. Maybe the musical segue is not so strange after all.

The great thing about blogs is that it lets me obsess, then ideally, release it.


ROG

3 comments:

cd said...

One of our fave versions of Baby It's Cold Outside is by Ray Charles and Betty Carter.

I love the song Babylon, and find myself with it in my head at odd times. I'd forgotten that it's done in a round, like "Row row row your boat." But what's with the imagery in that video? The biblical stuff makes sense, and then suddenly Barney from the Andy Griffith show appears. Weird.

EM said...

Linda Ronstadt did a cover of "Rivers of Babylon" on her Hasten Down the Wind lp that was pretty nice.

Keith frequently chooses "Baby It's Cold Outside" to be our wake up song during the winter. I heard a version in the grocery store the other day with Dolly Parton, but I didn't recognize the male singer.

GayProf said...

Pearl Bailey and Frank Sinatra also did a version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" too. She has the sense of humor to add something to the song.