Here is an endearing favorite — and a rare song, a beautiful “rhythm ballad” in the best style, a superb band, echoing Louis . . . I don’t want anything more than this.
The song,to give it its full title, is WAS I TO BLAME FOR FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU? But — rather like WHAT CAN I SAY, DEAR, AFTER I SAY I’M SORRY — the title gets split in two. When Louis recorded it in 1935, very early in his Decca contract, it was called FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU — and the composers are Victor Young, Newman or Neuman, and Gus Kahn. An online source says the song goes back to 1932, and “M. Neuman” is really a pseudonym for Chester Conn. I leave such matters to better researchers, and say only that I’ve never seen a copy of the sheet music. But my hypothesis is that if Louis was handed a song with this title, written by Victor Young and Gus Kahn, he would have been interested in it. Or perhaps he heard it on the radio and his deep romanticism was stirred. We don’t know, but his performance is inspiring. (You can search it out on YouTube at your leisure, as well as a a later homage by Ruby Braff.)
But my delight is to offer you this twenty-first century version by some Masters of Romantic Swing, recorded on November 30, 2014, at the San Diego Jazz Fest — Tim Laughlin, clarinet; Connie Jones, cornet; Doug Finke, trombone; Chris Dawson, piano; Katie Cavera, guitar; Marty Eggers, string bass; Hal Smith, drums:
I could write at length about the beauties of this performance, but I will point out only the deep love of melody, the subtle flow of the rhythm section, the individual sounds of each soloist, the use of space, the new melodies created. All delicate and purposeful at the same time. Bless these artists. They so generously bless us.
May your happiness increase!