The song IF I WERE YOU, by Buddy Bernier and Robert Emmerich, might have vanished entirely if not for memorable recordings. I feel it comes from that postage-stamp of inspiration where songwriters seized on a commonplace conversational phrase for a title and made a song out of it. I’ve not been able to find out much about it, nor has sheet music surfaced online. But it has a wonderful auditory lineage: it was recorded in quick succession — between April 29 and July 1, 1938 — by Nan Wynn with Teddy Wilson (featuring Johnny Hodges and Bobby Hackett), Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, and by Hot Lips Page’s band, although he left the vocal to one Dolores Payne.
In our time, it’s also been recorded by Dawn Lambeth and Rebecca Kilgore. Beautifully.
Now we can add warm-voiced Dawn Giblin to that list, as of August 20 of this year, where she and eminent friends performed the song at the Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dawn is accompanied by Mike Karoub, cello; James Dapogny, piano; Rod McDonald, guitar; Gwen MacPhee, string bass. And, fortunately for us, this and another performance was filmed by Laura Wyman for Wyman Video.
Before you plunge ahead to this latest delight, perhaps you’d like to hear other performances by Dawn Giblin: a gorgeous IF I HAD YOU from last January (no relation to the 1938 song), and a session from May, featuring GIVE ME THE SIMPLE LIFE, ALL MY LIFE, and LOVER, COME BACK TO ME.
And now, the pleasures of August:
Here’s a swing instrumental, with neatly gliding dancers Robin and Lois, Grotto regulars who obviously love to dance and love music by Dapogny and friends:
The new Person in the band (to me, at least) is the admirable string bassist Gwen MacPhee, of whom Dawn says, “I met Gwen at Wayne State University. She was in my ear training class and took me under her wing. She was the first friend I made there.” And now she’s a friend of ours.
I’m happy in New York, but I wish Ann Arbor were closer. However, it’s delightful to have Wyman Video on the scene for all of us. Laura, modestly, says she doesn’t deserve to be in the credit line with the musicians, but as a fellow videographer, I politely disagree. We may not bake the cookies, but we make it possible for you to have a taste.
May your happiness increase!