“CHLOE (Song of the Swamp)”: THEME AND VARIATIONS

Written in 1927 by Gus Kahn and “Neil Moret,” the pseudonym of Charles N. Daniels, this song is both lovely and durable.  The sheet music says it is to be played or sung “in a tragic manner,” but liberties are always allowed here.  

Duke Ellington: thanks to Tricky Sam Nanton, Barney Bigard, Jimmie Blanton, Sonny Greer, Juan Tizol, Wallce Jones, Ben Webster — that astonishing Victor Orchestra of 1940:

The Blessed Henry “Red” Allen, 1936:

The magnificient Louis Armstrong with Gordon Jenkins, circa 1952 (don’t let the swooshing strings and crooning voices put you off):

And Miss Chloe Lang (photographed by Lorna Sass).

The inevitable postscript is this recording of CHLOE, one I also knew in my childhood — cheerfully undermined by Spike Jones and his City Slickers:

Ancient vaudeville, with pokes at Ted Lewis, of all people, but still memorable fun.

Everybody sing!

Chloe! Chloe!

Someone’s calling, no reply
Nightshade’s falling, hear him sigh

Chloe! Chloe!

Empty spaces in his eyes
Empty arms outstretched, he’s crying

Through the black of night
I’ve got to go where you are
If it’s dark or bright
I’ve got to go where you are

I’ll go through the dismal swampland
Searching for you
For if you are lost there
Let me be there, too

Through the smoke and flame
I’ve got to go where you are
For no place can be too far
Where you are

Ain’ no chains can bind you
If you live, I’ll find you
Love is calling me
I’ve got to go where you are.

LOVE IS CALLING US: ALL MONEY GOES TO THE MUSICIANS!

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6 responses to ““CHLOE (Song of the Swamp)”: THEME AND VARIATIONS

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention “CHLOE (Song of the Swamp)”: THEME AND VARIATIONS | JAZZ LIVES -- Topsy.com

  2. I love this song, and the variations. I can remember my mother playing and singing this. Thanks for the words,,,I remembered the tune, but forgot some of the lyrics. I will no doubt be humming it the rest of the day!! Thank you, NM.. lots of love to you and Beloved

  3. Where are you, you old bat? LOL

  4. I played and replayed Duke’s version on the Blanton-Webster band boxed set, only to be heartbroken when I read Schuller’s scathing comments in The Swing Era, lol. ‘Ya live, ‘ya grow, ‘ya learn to ignore critics, lol.

    Love this tune. I actually always kicked around doing a similar column on “Four or Five Times,” or some opera aria. ‘Ya beat me to it, Steinman! =)

  5. I don’t know, Prof. Figg: the world needs a column from you on four or five versions of FOUR OR FIVE TIMES. And comparative listening is a rewarding pastime, whether you’re playing Ferrier or Frank Melrose! So go to it . . . .

  6. Hi MS- I’m not the aficianado(sp) regarding who or how many recorded any particular song so I learned something with this informative post on “Chloe” – I think my all-time favorite will remain the same: Bunk Johnson’s band recorded in the Carnegie Recital Hall in the late 40’s. Ed Cuffee was the trombonist, Garvin Bushell (Bushnell?) clarinet and a marvelous drummer with a press-roll to die for- Alphonso Steele. It was on a 12” Columbia. “Marie Elena” ala Latino was also on this album. All memories. mb

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