For me, this beautiful story started in a thrift store in Westbury, New York. Details (and music) here.
More friends helped me find Pat Kirby herself — a person as gracious and gentle of spirit as her singing; I met David Fletcher, who’s really a new addition to my family, and then, springing up from the maze of Facebook, there appeared the wonderfully generous Anthony DiFlorio III — who opened his toybox to share this gem with me, and with you: Pat Kirby singing I’M GLAD THERE IS YOU, which resulted in my rapturous post here.
Last night, I saw the Facebook notification that someone had sent me a message, which is usually a pleasure, and it was Anthony with this astonishing manifestation, which I can now share with you.
If you think I am overdoing it (and who am I to argue with you?) simply understand this: it is one thing to hear a voice come out of a speaker from a piece of flat plastic. And with many of our musical heroes, this is all we will ever have. Perhaps a photograph or two to muse over. But then you are offered the opportunity — now opportunities — to see that person in action, especially meaningful when the person is a singer.
Once again, there is a good deal of Steve Allen prelude, but what follows makes the world seem brighter: Pat Kirby, posed in what is apparently the same theatrical simulation of a forest glade, singing THE BOY NEXT DOOR, by Ralph Blaine and Hugh Martin. A few words first. I was at first amazed to see and hear Pat adopt a “bigger” approach to this very tender melody, which makes sense: each song is its own script, and the quiet restraint of her performance of I’M GLAD THERE IS YOU — which is a kind of secular hymn — might have been too restrained for the yearning of this song. Too, THE BOY NEXT DOOR was powerfully associated with Judy Garland, who’d performed it ten years earlier in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. In no way is Pat attempting to emulate Judy — she was her own artist! — but there is more open expression of passion in this performance.