Tag Archives: Neil Moret

TALENT DESERVING WIDER RECOGNITION: “SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY,” WITH VOCAL REFRAIN

To me, and I admit it’s a hugely subjective judgment, women ballad singers outnumber their male counterparts.  I’ve thought for the past decades that if I wanted to hear, let’s say, SKYLARK, sung tenderly, I’d have a better chance hearing it from a woman.  Reverse sexism, you say?  No, just observation.  Follow along with me, and save the quibbles for later.

I’d almost given up on male singers. But that was before a friend — who keeps his hand in — shared this brief compelling video of an unidentified singer with me.  I haven’t yet tracked down the singer, but his rendition of SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY went straight to my heart.  His inherent drama.  His unerring pitch.  His breath control.  His deep emotions.  The pure pathos.

I realize that the singer’s unusual appearance might put some viewers off at the start, but put your preconceptions away for some of the finest heartfelt singing you will hear, this year or any other.  And don’t let the pseudonym unsettle you: I believe he is under restrictive legal contracts, characteristic of the music business, so his name must be hidden for the moment.

The performance is brief, so put down your water bottle, coffee cup, or tuna wrap to hear and admire.

I’ll keep doing the detective work of “Who IS this phenomenon?” to uncover the facts, and I will keep admiring this performance.  I hope you share my enthusiasm.  Young singers, take note.  Or notes.

May your happiness increase!

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“CHLOE (Song of the Swamp)”: THEME AND VARIATIONS

Written in 1927 by Gus Kahn and “Neil Moret,” the pseudonym of Charles N. Daniels, this song is both lovely and durable.  The sheet music says it is to be played or sung “in a tragic manner,” but liberties are always allowed here.  

Duke Ellington: thanks to Tricky Sam Nanton, Barney Bigard, Jimmie Blanton, Sonny Greer, Juan Tizol, Wallce Jones, Ben Webster — that astonishing Victor Orchestra of 1940:

The Blessed Henry “Red” Allen, 1936:

The magnificient Louis Armstrong with Gordon Jenkins, circa 1952 (don’t let the swooshing strings and crooning voices put you off):

And Miss Chloe Lang (photographed by Lorna Sass).

The inevitable postscript is this recording of CHLOE, one I also knew in my childhood — cheerfully undermined by Spike Jones and his City Slickers:

Ancient vaudeville, with pokes at Ted Lewis, of all people, but still memorable fun.

Everybody sing!

Chloe! Chloe!

Someone’s calling, no reply
Nightshade’s falling, hear him sigh

Chloe! Chloe!

Empty spaces in his eyes
Empty arms outstretched, he’s crying

Through the black of night
I’ve got to go where you are
If it’s dark or bright
I’ve got to go where you are

I’ll go through the dismal swampland
Searching for you
For if you are lost there
Let me be there, too

Through the smoke and flame
I’ve got to go where you are
For no place can be too far
Where you are

Ain’ no chains can bind you
If you live, I’ll find you
Love is calling me
I’ve got to go where you are.

LOVE IS CALLING US: ALL MONEY GOES TO THE MUSICIANS!

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