#059

Music Hall (ou as variedades de um cabaret burlesco)

Reza a lenda que terá sido no Eagle, taberna na esquina da City Rd com a Shepherdess Walk, na Shoreditch de 1821 que tudo começou. Pub é para os ingleses o diminutivo de public house e só isso já atesta à preciosidade de oferecer artes populares de entretenimento aos comensais que aí iam comer e beber e razão para onze anos apenas ser construído como anexo à sua implantação o Royal Grecian Theatre, pavilhão que em 1858, já com uma lotação de 2500 lugares e sob a direcção de Benjamin Conquest (até o nome remete para o foro teatral) receberia licença de espectáculo. Uma ultima alteração posterior demonstra bem a popularidade do local e das suas “variedades”, com uma expansão da capacidade de lotação, culminando numa ampliação em 1877 para 4000 lugares sentados. Tudo isso veio por aí a baixo (foi mesmo demolido) e no virar para o século XX voltou-se a construir no seu local o Eagle pub que ainda lá hoje existe e que eu por vezes visitei quando nos anos 90 vivia no East End londrino. Deixo aqui uma nursery rhyme que visa o local:

Up and down the City road,

In and out the Eagle,

That’s the way the money goes,

Pop goes the weasel.

Martin Fry dos ABC, com os quais começo esta semana com Theme from  Mantrap, um extenso videoclip feito quase um ano depois de Lexicon of Love, digna a tradição ancestral do musical popular assente no forte carácter da panto, pantomina teatral de raízes na extravagância burlesca. O mesmo panto teatral que mais à frente rege a batuta de Prince Charming por Adam and The Ants, o mesmo Adam que o Miguel Esteves Cardoso na altura cognominava de chique-pirata. De terras de Sua Majestade ainda escolhi coisas tão diferentes mas bastante propositadas:  Noel Coward com Mad Dogs And Englishmen, os Monty Python em Every Sperm Is Sacred ou os Prefab Sprout com The Venus Of The Soup Kitchen e que é possivelmente a razão de eu ter inventado esta semana uma m4we com tal temática. 

Estas tradições anglo-saxónicas iriam extrapolar big time no Novo Mundo a ocidente. Nos EUA o vaudeville que fosse mesmo bom ia parar à Broadway e para rebentar com a coisa até acabaria no grande ecrã do cinema. Directamente do Harlem escolhi Cab Calloway com Peck-A-Doodle-Do mas ele ainda aparece num clip dos Nicholas Brothers naquela que Fred Astaire considerou a best dance sequence ever: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBQOfyR75vY. No entanto dos irmãos Fayard e Arnold, também eles alumni do Cotton Club, escolhi o clássico I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo que ainda nos anos 90 dava direito a aplausos em palco. Herdeiro destas tradições do chorus-line nova-iorquino é o nosso multi-repetente August Darnell e que como Kid Creole & The Coconuts apresenta um precioso Maladie D’amour, numero magnífico editado em Of the Coast of Me, o mesmo disco onde também se decidia pegar em Lili Marlene mas que aqui não poderia deixar de incluir na versão por Marlene Dietrich que conheci originalmente.

Claro que muitas outras vedetas dão o ar da sua graça: Judy Garland acompanhada por Victor Young and His Orchestra canta The Jitterbug, tendo como resposta Marilyn Monroe com Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, mas como não era só na Radio City Hall que havia disto salto o Atlantico e de um Hambanine no Casino Estoril na voz de João Maria Tudella pulo para o Parque Mayer e as suas revistas, desta feita com Maria José Valério a cantar Rapazes, Cuidado, tema que um par de vezes consegui inserir em DJ sets nos anos 80 para grande admiração de quem estivesse ana pista de dança. E dou ainda uma volta pela varietà italiana de Peppini Di Capri que em Cinquo Minuti Ancora ainda estava a uns quantos anitos de ganhar o Festival Della Canzone Italiana de San Remo em 1973 e 1976.

Inevitávelmente teria sempre de ir dar um pulo até ao cabaret, como numa Rive qualquer à escolha do freguês mas com a temperatura a ser medida por Caterina Valente que em 1959 gravava 39 de Fièvre a traduzir o original de Peggy Lee com Ça pétille et ça continue à monter / Quarante ça grésille / Ah quelle jolie façon de brûler… Bobino, Lido ou Moulin Rouge, le festin continue jusqu’a la kermesse num Boum!! por Charles Trenet ou com o Quintette of the Hot Club of France de Django Reinhardt e Stephane Grappelli com After You’ve Gone. Como quem não quer saber de logística transportadora navego do rio Sena em Paris até ao Rio de Janeiro, de um Brasil de onde nos chegam palavras estranhas que quase obrigam à dança: a nativa de Marco de Canaveses que acabou diva em Hollywood, Carmen Miranda com The Man With The Lollipop Song, piruli, piruli, piruli enquanto Luiz Humberto em Teleco Teco n.1 tira da manga folhada em balão um sambalanço desta feita sem onomatopeias (pudera, é instrumental) mas pleno de ritmo para ajudar à festa.

Mas festa é mesmo nos desenhos animados de onde trago duas referencias de peso: Betty Boop com I’m An Indian e o pato mais endoidado de sempre em Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody. Betty era nitidamente uma flapper, curvada no peso do amor desvairado que vinha dos anos 20. Max Fleisher e Grim Natwick estrearam a independente e provocadora miúda (o seu cinto de ligas sempre à vista) na curta Dizzy Dishes a 9 de Agosto de 1930. Nitidamente inspirada na actriz Clara Bow, era no entanto quase uma caricatura da cantora Helen Kane que por sua vez era uma imitação branca de Baby Esther Jones. O código Hayes viria a atenuar a sua sexualidade mas a personagem continuou até aos nossos tempos principalmente pela via do merchandising. Daffy (e na realidade quase todos os outros personagens dos Looney Tunes) eram interpretados por Mel Blanc que aqui até nos dá uma cançoneta engraçada com todos os trejeitos a que me habituei desde tenra idade. Não há mesmo nada como crescer a ver um pato absolutamente chalupa a dar beijos na boca não importa bem a quem quando já não sabe o que fazer para resolver uma situação.

E quase que estou a chegar ao fim. Se pelo caminho fiz tangente ao strip em Las Vegas com a dupla de Margaret Whiting e Dean Martin em Don’t Rock The Boat, Dear, passei também pelo bairro de LA onde vivia Groucho Marx para poder aqui incluir Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! do seu vizinho Allan Sherman. Tornado famoso em 1962 pelo seu primeiro disco My Son, The Folk Singer, o cómico tinha constantes recusas por parte de outros compositores e letristas que não admitiam o uso das suas obras por humoristas. Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, George e Ira Gershwin, Meredith Willson, Alan Jay Lerner e Frederick Loewe, bem como os administradores dos direitos autorais de Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein, Kurt Weill e Bertolt Brecht todos negaram a Sherman acesso ao uso das suas obras. A música que aqui apresento tem a sua melodia pilhada da Dance of the Hours, parte do terceiro acto da ópera La Gioconda de Amilcare Ponchielli.

Mas melhor que uma “amostragem” que tal uma completa re-interpretação de um clássico grunge para acabarmos em beleza? Black Hole Sun gravado em 1994 pelos Soundgarden tem aqui o Steve & Eydie full treatment. Edith Gormezano, prima de Neil Sedaka e Steve Lawrence, nascido Sydney Leibowitz, foram um exemplar duo e casal maravilha que juntaram os trapinhos para em 1954 começarem a trabalhar juntos no programa de tv Tonight Starring Steve Allen. Aqui rebentam a escala com esta versão originalmente concebida para o disco Lounge-a-Palooza editado pela Hollywood Records em 1997. Na altura Dawn Eden escrevia na Salon “exceeds one’s wildest expectations. They probably don’t understand lyrics like “call my name through the cream” any more than the rest of us do, but they belt ’em out as though it were their last shot at a follow-up to “Go Away Little Girl.” Which it probably is”. Originalmente escrita por Chris Cornell e terceiro single do album Superunknown é uma canção tão boa que iria sempre aguentar qualquer tipo de tratamento, até mesmo fazer dela um sing-along de music hall. Não é Offenbach, é pura pop.

Que seja um fim de semana pleno de música no coração.

#staysafe #musicfortheweekend

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Legend has it that it was at the Eagle, a tavern on the corner of the City Rd and Shepherdess Walk, on a 1821’s Shoreditch that it all started. Pub is for the English the diminutive of public house and that alone attests to the preciousness of offering popular entertainment arts to diners who would eat and drink there and reason for just eleven years after to be built an annex to its implantation, the Royal Grecian Theatre pavilion that in 1858, already with a capacity of 2500 seats and under the direction of Benjamin Conquest (even the name refers to some sort of theatric tradition) would receive a performance license. A last subsequent alteration clearly demonstrates the popularity of the place and its “varieties”, culminating with an expansion of the capacity in 1877 to 4000 seats. All that came tumbling down (it was demolished) and at the turn of the 20th century the Eagle pub was rebuilt in its place, which still exists today and which I sometimes visited when I lived in London’s East End in the 90s. Let me leave you with a nursery rhyme aimed at the place:

Up and down the City road,

In and out the Eagle,

That’s the way the money goes,

Pop goes the weasel.

ABC’s singer Martin Fry, with whom I start this week with Theme from Mantrap, an extensive video clip made nearly a year after Lexicon of Love, serves well the ancestral tradition of popular musicals based on the strong characteristics of panto, theatrical pantomime rooted in burlesque extravaganza . The same theatrical baton that later conducts Prince Charming by Adam and The Ants, the same Adam that Miguel Esteves Cardoso at the time labeled as pirate-chic. From Her Majesty’s kingdom I still chose such different but very purposeful things: Noel Coward with Mad Dogs And Englishmen, Monty Python in Every Sperm Is Sacred or Prefab Sprout with The Venus Of The Soup Kitchen and that is possibly the reason why I have invented a m4we with such a theme.

These Anglo-Saxon traditions would extrapolate big time more to the West in the New World. In the USA, American vaudeville that was really good would transit on to the Broadway stages and to blow it all up sky high, it could even end up on the big silver screen of the cinema. Directly from Harlem I chose Cab Calloway with Peck-A-Doodle-Do but he still appears in a clip by the Nicholas Brothers in what Fred Astaire once considered the best dance sequence ever: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBQOfyR75vY. However, from the brothers Fayard and Arnold, who were also alumni of the Cotton Club, I chose the classic I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo, which got big cheers on stage right into the 90s. Inheritor to so many New York chorus line traditions is our multi frequent flyer August Darnell who, as Kid Creole & The Coconuts, presents a sultry Maladie D’amour, magnificent number put out on Of the Coast of Me, the same album where Lili Marlene was also included even though I couldn’t help but choose the originally heard version by Marlene Dietrich.

Of course, many other stars show the air of their grace: Judy Garland accompanied by Victor Young and His Orchestra sings The Jitterbug, while Marilyn Monroe answers with Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, but as it wasn’t only at the Radio City Hall that this existed I cross the Atlantic and from an Hambanine at Casino Estoril in the voice of João Maria Tudella I leap to Parque Mayer, this time with Maria José Valério singing Rapazes, Cuidado, a tune that I managed to insert in DJ sets a couple of times to great astonishment of anyone on the dance floor. Bu I also take a detour on to the Italian varietà of Peppini Di Capri which in Cinquo Minuti Ancora was still a few years away from winning the Festival Della Canzone Italiana in San Remo in both 1973 and 1976.

Inevitably I’d always have to go cabaret crazy, as if mine the choice of a Rive, but with the temperature being measured by Caterina Valente who in 1959 recorded 39 de Fièvre translating the original by Peggy Lee with Ça pétille et ça continue à monter / Quarante ça grésille / Ah quelle jolie façon de brûler… Bobino, Lido or Moulin Rouge, le festin continue jusqu’a la kermesse in a Boum!! by Charles Trenet or with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s Quintette of the Hot Club of France with After You’ve Gone. As someone who doesn’t want to know about transport logistics, I sail from the Seine River in Paris to Rio de Janeiro, to a Brazil where strange words almost impel us to dance: Marco de Canaveses’ native who ended up a Hollywood diva, Carmen Miranda with The Man With The Lollipop Song, piruli, piruli, piruli while Luiz Humberto in Teleco Teco n.1 takes out a sambalanço from his frilly balooned sleeves, this time with not a single onomatopoeia in sight (no wonder, it’s an instrumental wordless track) but so full of rhythm as to help the party feeling.

But party is really when you get to choose stuff from cartoons and this week I bring not one but two references with a load of weight: Betty Boop with I’m An Indian and the most cuckoo duck ever in Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody. Betty was clearly a flapper, bent over by the sheer weight of the love that came from the frantic 1920s. Max Fleisher and Grim Natwick debuted their independent and provocative creation (her garter belt always in full display) in the short film Dizzy Dishes on August 9, 1930. Clearly inspired by the actress Clara Bow, she was however almost a caricature of the singer Helen Kane who was in turn a white imitation of Baby Esther Jones. The Hayes code would attenuate her sexuality but the character has survived into our times mainly through a lot of merchandising. Daffy (and in fact almost all the other characters from Looney Tunes) were voiced by Mel Blanc who gives us here a funny song with all the grimaces I got used to from an early age. There’s really nothing quite like growing up watching an absolute wacky duck kissing the lips of no matter who when he doesn’t know what to do to solve a problematic situation.

And I’m almost near the finish line. If along the way I did a tangent to the strip in Las Vegas with the duo of Margaret Whiting and Dean Martin in Don’t Rock The Boat, Dear, I also passed through the LA area where Groucho Marx used to live as to be able to include Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! by his neighbour Allan Sherman. Immediately made famous in 1962 with his first album My Son, The Folk Singer, Sherman had constant refusals from other composers and lyricists who would not admit the use of their works by comedians. Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, George and Ira Gershwin, Meredith Willson, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, as well as copyright administrators of the state of Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein, Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht all denied Sherman access to use their works . The music I present here has its melody taken from Dance of the Hours, part of the third act of the opera La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli.

But better than a “sampling” how about a complete reinterpretation of a grunge classic to end up all rosy and daisy? Black Hole Sun recorded in 1994 by Soundgarden gets a Steve & Eydie full treatment here. Edith Gormezano, cousin of Neil Sedaka and Steve Lawrence, born Sydney Leibowitz, were a wonderful duo and an exemplary couple who “joined their rags” and started working together in 1954 on the TV show Tonight Starring Steve Allen. Here they explode the scale with this version originally conceived for the album Lounge-a-Palooza released by Hollywood Records in 1997. At the time Dawn Eden wrote for Salon “exceeds one’s wildest expectations. They probably don’t understand lyrics like “call my name through the cream” any more than the rest of us do, but they belt ’em out as though it were their last shot at a follow-up to “Go Away Little Girl.” Which it probably is”. Originally written by Chris Cornell and third single from the Superunknown album, it’s such a good song that it would always take any sort of treatment, even the decision of making it a music hall sing-along. It’s not Offenbach, it’s pure pop.

May it be a weekend where the hills are alive with sound of music.

#staysafe #musicfortheweekend

ABC – Theme from  Mantrap

Katie Lee – The Will to Fail

Charles Trenet – Boum!!

Mel Blanc – Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody

Nuria Feliu – Ja Estic Be Així

Judy Garland with Victor Young and His Orchestra – The Jitterbug

Luiz Humberto – Teleco Teco n.1

Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Maladie D’amour

Cab Calloway – Peck-A-Doodle-Do

Maria José Valério – Rapazes, Cuidado

Marilyn Monroe – Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Allan Sherman – Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!

Ñico Membiela – En Este Cabaret

Adam and The Ants ‎– Prince Charming

Noel Coward – Mad Dogs And Englishmen

Monty Python – Every Sperm Is Sacred

Peppini Di Capri – Cinquo Minuti Ancora

Carole Bennett – Haunted Lover

George Formby – It’s Turned Out Nice Again

Laurel & Hardy with The Avalon Boys – Trail of the Lonesome Pine

Lucille Mapp – On Treasure Island

João Maria Tudella – Hambanine

The Sunshine Boys Quartet – Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb

Lucha Reyes – Canción Mexicana

Betty Boop – I’m An Indian

Cliff Ukelele Ike Edwards – When You Wish Upon A Star

Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five – Is You Or Is You Ain’t My Baby

Caterina Valente – 39 De Fièvre

Ray Stevens – Bubble Gum The Bubble Dancer

The Andrews Sisters with Vic Schoen and His Orchestra – The Cock-Eyed Major Of Kaunakakai

Nicholas Brothers – I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo

Margaret Whiting and Dean Martin –  Don’t Rock The Boat, Dear

Jeannette MacDonald – Italian Street Song

Carmen Miranda – The Man With The Lollipop Song

Prefab Sprout – The Venus Of The Soup Kitchen

Marlene Dietrich – Lili Marlene

Southside Johnny – Dead and Lovely

Spike Jones & His City Slickers –  Cocktails For Two

Quintette of the Hot Club of France – After You’ve Gone

Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé – Black Hole Sun

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