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When I get up, it’s still quite dark — and cold in New York — and even though the groundhog is (in his own way) predicting an early spring, it remains to be seen. This morning, prompted by whatever feeling of “But I don’t want to go to work!” I found myself humming
Up in the morning,
Out on the job,
Work like a devil for my pay . . .
lyrics from a rather simple hymnlike pop song written before I was born, one of those songs that purports to come from the mouth of a laboring man who wishes he could be in Heaven rather than slaving away on Earth.
I know it’s hilariously self-indulgent of me, because it’s a very good thing to be employed and complaining about it is bad manners . . . but . . . still.
YouTube, blessed YouTube, helped me out — you, too, can sing along.
Some of my readers will groan at the choir and the swooping strings, but since the Decca sessions of Louis and Gordon Jenkins were the first jazz I heard that hit me, hard, I love this music. And the sweetness of the arrangements brings out Louis’s most tender side — a man who knew what it was to work hard, that he might have remained a laboring man himself forever if not for luck and fate and that pistol . . . perhaps also remembering Joe Oliver and his vegetable stand.