Category: Song Of The Week

Song Of The Week category

Lullaby of Birdland

Lullaby of Birdland by Ella Fitzgerald, 1954
Song of the Week #010

Originally recorded in 1952, with music by George Shearing and lyrics by George David Weiss, this song refers to Charlie "Bird" Parker and the Birdland jazz club that was named after him. The song has become a Jazz standard.

A lovely smooth medium tempo jazz track, this is great for dancing too when you want to take it easy and just enjoy the moment.

Recorded by many artists (including Amy Winehouse), this version was recorded by the inimitable Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) in 1954.

Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey

Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey by Ella Fitzgerald, 1962
Song of the Week #009

Originally titled as "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?" this popular song published in 1902 is commonly referred to as just simply "Bill Bailey". Its words and music were written by Hughie Cannon (1877–1912), an American songwriter and pianist. It is still a standard with dixieland and traditional jazz bands.

This version was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996),  an American jazz singer often referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

Wade In The Water

Wade In The Water by Eva Cassidy, 1997
Song of the Week #008

It' not only swing & jazz music that is great for swing dancing. This song relates to the Old and New Testaments and reflects the Israelites' escape out of Egypt. The original version of this song goes back as far as the 1920's. It has been recorded by many artists over the years and this version is especially great for slow swing and blues dancing.

Eva Cassidy was an American vocalist and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country, rock, and pop classics. She passed away in 1996 and this version was released a year later.

Sure Cure For The Blues

Sure Cure For The Blues by Shirley Haven & The Four Jacks, 1952
Song of the Week #007

A spirited song with lots of lovely energy by the Four Jacks, who consisted of Ellison White (bass), Bowling Mansfield (1st tenor), Buell Thomas (2nd tenor), and George Comfort (baritone). They recorded a half-dozen recordings in a ten-month period for Ralph Bass' Federal Records in the early 1950s.

They were joined here by California-born actress Shirley Haven. Shirley tried for a movie career in Hollywood but talent scouts told her she could not get movie roles because she "did not look Negro enough." After getting nothing but extras jobs, she gave up and joined Charles Brown's orchestra on a Southern tour. She also  toured with the first black USO troupe to entertain the troops fighting in Korea.

Lindy Hoppers Delight

Lindy Hoppers Delight by Ella Fitzgerald, 1939
Song of the Week #006

This is a song that every swing dancer should know!! Used many times over for performances, this is still a great tune just to dance too.

Composed by William Henry "Chick" Webb, an American jazz and swing music drummer as well as a band leader. He died on June 16, 1939 (aged 34) and never got to record this song. Instead it was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald a few months afterwards, who led his bad until 1942.

Tain’t What You Do

Tain't What You Do by Jimmie Lunceford, 1939
Song Of The Week #005

James Melvin "Jimmie" Lunceford (June 6, 1902 – July 12, 1947) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era.

This song was written by jazz musicians Melvin "Sy" Oliver and James "Trummy" Young. It was first recorded in 1939 by Jimmie Lunceford, Harry James, and Ella Fitzgerald and again the same year by Nat Gonella and His Georgians.

The "Shim Sham" is often danced to the Lunceford recording of this song. The Shim Sham was originally a tap dance routine and is regarded as tap dance's national anthem. For today's swing dancers, it is a stroll (line dance).

The Shim Sham was attributed to tap dancers Willie Bryant and Leonard Reed. Besides the tap dancing version, there are other Shim Sham versions, among which those choreographed by Dean Collins, Leon James (the Savoy Shim Sham) or Frankie Manning.

In 2009, dancers from all around the world danced the Shim Sham  as a tribute to the late great Frankie Manning, for his 95th birthday. For more information on this, click << here >>.

Opus One

Opus One by The Mills Brothers, 1955
Song Of The Week #004

The great Sy Oliver arranged and conducted this update of the big band classic that he had written for Tommy Dorsey a decade earlier.

Words had also been added in the 1940s, but these 1955 lyrics were altered to reflect changes that had occurred in musical tastes over the past decade.

All That Meat And No Potatoes

All That Meat And No Potatoes - Fats Waller, 1940s
Song Of The Week #003

Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano.

His best-known compositions, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose", were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1984 and 1999.

Shout Sister Shout

Shout Sister Shout by Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Lucky Millinder
Song Of The Week #002

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an acclaimed gospel singer from the late thirties to her death in 1973, she was also one of the earliest exponents of the electric guitar.

Her earliest recorded work was for Decca Records in the Thirties, where she was backed by Lucky Millinder's jazz orchestra. The majority of the tracks Tharpe recorded come from the traditional gospel repertoire, their titles alone tell us Tharpe was religious and despite popularity outside the church, she never lost her evangelist heritage.

The Java Jive

The Java Jive by The Ink Spots, 1940
Song Of The Week #001

Celebrating that "cheery, cheery" bean of the caffeinated variety with the Ink Spots (Hoppy Jones, Deek Watson, Bill Kenny, and Charlie Fuqua).

The song went largely unplayed during World War II for its reference to the wily Japanese detective Mr. Moto (played by Peter Lorre in a series of movies).

Likewise, the Japanese occupied the Dutch colony of Java (Indonesia) which cut off that source of Coffee to the American market for several years...Brazil picked up the slack.

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