In SELF-RELIANCE, Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home.” BACK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD, written by Dave Dreyer, Billy Rose, and Al Jolson in 1928 (I would give almost all of the credit to Mr. Dreyer) makes the same claim in a different way. It proposes that home is so lovely that it makes travel unnecessary, and that those who roam find their greatest happiness when they return — nostalgia more than transcendentalism, perhaps, but the effect is the same.

Rebecca Kilgore doesn’t present herself as a philosopher, although she does hail from Massachusetts, home of Emerson, Thoreau, and the Alcotts, but she makes this philosophical statement exultant in its hopefulness and its swing.

This performance was recorded at the 26th San Diego Jazz Party, on February 22, 2014.  The other philosophers on the stand are Chuck Redd, drums; Nicki Parrott, string bass; Eddie Erickson, guitar; Johnny Varro, piano; Bria Skonberg, trumpet; Antti Sarpila, clarinet.

Home is where such music is.

May your happiness increase!


  1. Don "Zoot" Conner

    This is the best version of “back” since Billie’s in the late thirties. Ms Kilgore swings out wildly. Nice post.

  2. I would say that this post and video contains the best of the best! Kilgore, Parrot, Varro, Skonberg, are to say the least, experts in the swing world!

  3. This really is a fine version of “Back in Your Own Backyard,” which has always been one of my favorite songs of the 1920s. Al Jolson does a great job with it, as does crooner Russ Columbo in one of his earliest recordings. We could say that Frank Sinatra makes a similar statement when he closes his album ‘Come Fly with Me’ with “It’s Nice to Go Trav’lin’.” After a whole concept album devoted to the theme of travel, Sinatra also finds that “it’s so much nicer to come home”! A very nice post!

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