In his seriously masterful AMERICAN POPULAR SONG, Alec Wilder was unkind to “IT’S THE TALK OF THE TOWN,” calling it “nostalgic,” but adding that “its melody simply isn’t that good.” Songs have feelings, too, and I disagree. I’ve never been jilted at the altar (or a week before) but I always find the song touching and it works well as a ballad or in medium tempo. In my mind’s ear I hear Joe Thomas playing and singing it, getting particularly impassioned in the last eight bars. I wish he’d recorded a long vocal version. And that Louis had done so also.
First, the song as a new pop hit, performed by the marvelously emotive Connie Boswell (sweet and then swung gently):
Coleman Hawkins with Fletcher Henderson, 1933:
and with Sir Charles Thompson, 1945:
and from this century — September 14, 2017 — at the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party, a version nicely balancing melancholy and swing, by Rossano Sportiello, piano; Pete Siers, drums; Joel Forbes, string bass; Andy Brown, guitar; Dan Block, clarinet; Duke Heitger, trumpet. Keynote / Vanguard style, with split choruses, easy rocking lyricism, climbing to the stars:
May your happiness increase!