Tag Archives: Cliff Friend

SWEET AFFIRMATIONS: ANDY SCHUMM, DAN BARRETT, DAN LEVINSON, JOHN SHERIDAN, GLENN HOLMES, BILL RANSOM (Jazz at Chautauqua, Sept. 18, 2011)

The 2011 Jazz at Chautauqua was full of delights, and this set was one, a congenial group of musicians taking their time through three late-Twenties pop songs.  Perhaps it’s coincidental, but you’ll notice that the titles of the first and third song say YES in their own ways, and the one-word title of the middle song is all about sweetness.

The heroes up on the bandstand are Andy Schumm, cornet; Dan Barrett, trombone; Dan Levinson, reeds; John Sheridan, piano; Glenn Holmes, string bass; Bill Ransom, drums.

And the songs?

After an affirmative ensemble, ‘DEED I DO shifts into gear with Dan Levinson’s sweet-sour solo and the chord backgrounds behind it.  Then Andy shouts for joy and the other gentlemen of the ensemble follow in their own way:

SUGAR has connections to Ethel Waters, McKenzie and Condon’s Chicagoans, Louis Armstrong and Vic Dickenson, and of course that Bix fellow.  The Schumm-Sheridan duet on the verse is a delight!  The lazy Trumbauer tenor solo by Dan L. and the more bumptious one by Dan B. are equally sweet, as is Sheridan’s quiet rollicking, with a very Lestorian Dan leading us out.  Andy’s little coda suggests both Lester and Bobby Hackett:

And the unusual one (although I believe it was a pop hit), THERE’S “YES YES” IN YOUR EYES, which starts with a hot cadenza, turns the corner into a sweet melody chorus — enjoy the transition into an improvised ensemble and the backing Sheridan gives the soloists — before the brassmen have a very concise exchange of ideas and Bill Ransom takes a volatile drum break to close things out:

I’m sorry that neither of the two Dans burst into song — I will bet that both of them knew the lyrics.  Here’s the chorus:

Your lips tell me no no
But there’s yes yes in your eyes
I’ve been missing your kissing just because I wasn’t wise
I’ll stop my scheming and dreaming ’cause I realize
Your lips tell me no no
But there’s yes yes in your eyes
And here are two covers:

I knew Bunk Johnson had recorded it, but not Dean Martin, Eddy Howard, as well as Ken Colyer.  And — since the twenty-first century is full of marvels, one site tells me that I could have THERE’S YES YES IN YOUR EYES as a ringtone on my cellphone.  Tempting, no?  Although the NO NO part of the lyric is less encouraging.

To this music, wouldn’t you say YES YES?

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IS YOUR DREAMBOAT AT HOME?

If, by this time, you are a little weary of FROSTY THE SNOWMAN and the remainder of the winter-holiday songbook, may I suggest this as an aesthetic panacea? 

It’s Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band, recorded by Rae Ann Berry on December 20, 2009, at Pismo Beach, performing WHEN MY DREAMBOAT COMES HOME.  Clint’s happy colleagues are Marc Caparone, trumpet; Dave Caparone, trombone; Mike Baird, alto sax; Carl Sonny Leyland, piano and vocal; Katie Cavera, banjo; Mike Fay, bass; Hal Smith, drums.  Highlights for me are the friendly two-teumpet conversation at the start.  Clint then shifts to trombone so that he and Dave can be a full section; Mike Baird sounds remarkably like Cap’n John Handy on alto; Carl shouts the vocal most endearingly, and that rhythm section rocks — at a tempo that’s not too slow and not too fast, either.

This clip led me into half an hour of etymological research into “dreamboat,” with the lexicographers getting the meanings right — the adored one or something that is adorable — but no one noticed that the song above was a hit in 1935 (music by Dave Franklin, lyrics by Cliff Friend).  Whether lyric writers invent new idioms or they simply make effective use of them in their songs, I wouldn’t say, but having Bing Crosby record this tune for Decca meant that it came into the public consciousness — with versions by Jimmy Rushing with the Basie band, the Bob Crosby Bobcats, Tommy Dorsey, and even Fats Domino, Benda Lee, and Cliff Richard (!) to follow.

Whatever one might make of the etymology, I send the best romantic wishes to all my readers.  May your dreamboat be close at hand, now and always.  And if you are temporarily dreamboat-lacking, may (s)he come to you in 2010 or even earlier!

Postscripts: the American and British sheet music covers, (where “dream boat” is two words), to inspire you: