Not all sweethearts are easy to deal with. When they’re ON PARADE, they remind you that you’re alone. Nobody wants you to join in the amorous festivities. That pretty young thing with the rouged cheeks? She’s fallen from grace and is NOBODY’S [ ] NOW.
Here, the mightily eloquent yet light-hearted EarRegulars — the Saints of Soho, known far and wide — give us two musical dramatizations of Sweetheart-ness gone awry. They are Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Matt Munisteri, guitar; Attila Korb (visiting from Hungary), trombone AND trumpet; Scott Robinson, bass saxophone AND taragoto.
The first composition is the 1919 BLUES MY NAUGHTY SWEETIE GIVES TO ME — whose lyrics are a complete theatrical performance — read them here — an encyclopedia of sure-fire jokes of the time. For me, this song comes in to the jazz repertoire with the lovely slow-drag version by Jimmie Noone and his Apex Club Orchestra, later by Eddie Condon on the JAMMIN’ AT CONDON’S recording (whose cover features Cliff Leeman’s right leg and the essential thermos). But this SWEETIE offers up some mean blues in the eye and heart of the beholder, or perhaps the endurer.
The EarRegulars adopt a tempo that honors both ideas, and the result is glorious, a masterpiece of versatility, as Scott moves from bass sxophone to taragoto, and Attila takes up his trumpet to have a fascinating chat with Jon-Erik:
Later, they explored SOMEDAY, SWEETHEART (I am used to it with the comma) — written that same year, a song of sullen unhappiness, sung by the lover who has been betrayed. Oddly enough, the furious hurt lyrics are married to a very sweet melody, both of which can be explored here.
And here is the EarRegular performance — superficially less ambitious, with no instrument-swapping, but expressing the highest degree of lyricism and sonic variety:
I don’t know the moral of this offering, except to wish that all Sweeties be Naughty in the most gentle pleasing way, and that no Sweetheart be a betrayer. I hope for nothing but Sweetness for all of you. And that the EarRegulars continue for as long as they want to, since they bring the deepest pleasure and restoration to us. Catch them almost every Sunday night from 8-11 (approximately) at The Ear Inn, 326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City.
May your happiness increase!