Midweek Music – Norah Jones

I missed Tune Tuesday for a couple weeks, so here is a musical blog.

In 2003, I was surfing from radio station to radio station and came across a song that “stood out” to me.  The singer had this sultry, smokey voice that peaked my curiosity.  I had no idea who she was and had never heard the song before.  I stood out to me because it sounded almost like a jazz standard, something like Frank Sinatra would have recorded.  The song was “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones.

Norah Jones

The served as the title track of Norah’s debut album.  In 2003, Norah was about 24 years old.  She recorded the album in late 2000-2001 (so she would have been around 21). The album was very successful, peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200.  It also was a Grammy winning album walking away with Grammy’s for Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year!

The song is so simple.  Her vocal is beautiful on this song (and all of those on this album).  It is one of my favorite songs to just sit and relax with.

Come Away With Me

“Come Away With Me”


Come away with me in the night
Come away with me
And I will write you a song

Come away with me on a bus
Come away where they can’t tempt us
With their lies

I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come

Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I’m safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me in the night
Come away with me

Norah Jones

Another song on the album that is just amazing is “Don’t Know Why”.  The song was written by Jesse Harris and had actually appeared on an album he did in 1999.  He teamed up with Norah at some point and she recorded it.  The word is that the song on the album is actually the first and only take of the song.  Norah told performingsongwriter.com:

“It was a demo I sang for Jesse in May of 2001. That was the first take of the song on that recording, and that’s the one we used for the record. I think it was really beautiful. It was so spontaneous. That’s what made it so cool. I feel like that’s why people connected with it. We were lucky we captured some kind of spark.”

In another story I read, the bass player thought he was too loud and almost stopped the take.  He admits, he is glad that he didn’t, as he calls the take “magic”.  I would agree.  It truly is an amazing cut.  In 2003, it won Grammy’s for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

 

 

Don’t Know Why

“Don’t Know Why”

I waited ’til I saw the sun
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I left you by the house of fun
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I don’t know why I didn’t come

When I saw the break of day
I wished that I could fly away
Instead of kneeling in the sand
Catching teardrops in my hand

My heart is drenched in wine
But you’ll be on my mind
Forever

Out across the endless sea
I would die in ecstasy
But I’ll be a bag of bones
Driving down the road alone

My heart is drenched in wine
But you’ll be on my mind
Forever

Something has to make you run
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I feel as empty as a drum
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I don’t know why I didn’t come

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The album remains one of my favorites.  She does a great cover of “Cold, Cold Heart” and other songs on it.  Whether you want to call the album Jazz, Pop, Blues or Folk, it doesn’t matter to me.  I call it – AMAZING!

Tune Tuesday – Mack the Knife

 

bobby2

Bobby Darin was a talent.  He was a songwriter, a singer, an actor, and played multiple instruments.  Today is the anniversary of his birth – he was born May 14, 1936.  As a baby, he had bouts of Rheumatic Fever, which caused some damage to his heart.  He beat many odds and lived longer than most doctors expected him to.

He began his career writing songs for Connie Francis, and eventually recorded his first song, “Splish Splash” which was a hit in 1958.  He followed it with many other hits including “Dream Lover,” “Beyond the Sea,” “If I Were a Carpenter”, and “Mack the Knife.”

Mack the Knife was Bobby’s biggest hit spending 9 weeks at #1.  It was the #1 record of 1959.  It won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1960, and Bobby won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist of the Year.  The song later received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.  But it was almost NOT released as a single.

The song is from The Threepenny Opera.  Bobby saw this show at a theater in Greenwich Village in 1958 and thought he could present it in a more “jazzy” way.  He began to sing it in his nightclub act and got a good response.  He recorded it on an album and the sales of the album and his nightclub act had audiences wanting more of it.  Originally Bobby did not want to release the song as a single.  After all, he was a teen idol and had an image to uphold.  A old song about a murderer could easily tarnish that.  The record label decided that it should be released – and the rest is history!

One cool piece of trivia (at least for me, as a trumpet player):  Doc Severinsen, who would go on to work with Johnny Carson as the bandleader of the Tonight Show Band, is one of the trumpet players on this song.

Mack The Knife

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And he shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old Macheath, babe
And he keeps it out of sight

You know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, though, wears old Macheath, babe
So there’s never, never a trace of red

Now on the sidewalk, ooh, sunny morning, uh-huh
Lies a body just oozin’ life
Eek, and someone’s sneakin’ ’round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

There’s a tugboat down by the river, don’t ya know
Where a cement bag’s just a-droopin’ on down
Oh, that cement is just, it’s there for the weight, dear
Five’ll get ya ten, old Macky’s back in town

Now d’ya hear about Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe
After drawin’ out all his hard-earned cash
And now Macheath spends just like a sailor
Could it be our boy’s done something rash?

Now Jenny Diver, ho, ho, yeah, Sukey Tawdry
Ooh, Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Oh, the line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town

I said Jenny Diver, whoa, Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town

Look out ol’ Macky’s back!

There are many biographies available about the life of Bobby Darin.  His son, Dodd, wrote one entitled Dream Lovers which talks much about his dad and his mom (Sandra Dee).  It’s an honest read.

Bobby had health issues throughout his life and his heart already had issues.  In 1973, he neglected to take the antibiotics he was prescribed for his heart before a dentist visit.  He ended up developing sepsis which spread throughout his body.  This made him weak and affected one of the valves in his heart.  He checked himself into the hospital for another open heart surgery (he had two heart valves replaced in 1971).  After a six hour surgery, he died in the recovery room on December 20, 1973.  He never regained consciousness.  Bobby Darin was 37 years old.

Bobby