Easy Go

Before I’d even had a serious love affair, there were things I seemed to understand about them anyway.

There were songs about breakups that for whatever reason captured my imagination and moved my emotions. My heart knew what they were about.

One that really resonated with me then, and still today, is a little known song “Tell Me on a Sunday” from the musical “Song and Dance,” with lyrics by Don Black and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The musical is not great, and it’s not a great song musically (sorry, Mr. Webber,) but what the song says is lovely, and it always comes to me when I think about how difficult it is to end something that was once beautiful.

Tell Me on a Sunday

Don’t write a letter when you want to leave

Don’t call me at 3 a.m. from a friend’s apartment

I’d like to choose how I hear the news

Take me to a park that’s covered with trees

Tell me on a Sunday please

Let me down easy

No big song and dance

No long faces, no long looks

No deep conversation

I know the way we should spend that day

Take me to a zoo that’s got chimpanzees

Tell me on a Sunday please

Don’t want to know who’s to blame

It won’t help knowing

Don’t want to fight day and night

Bad enough you’re going

Don’t leave in silence with no word at all

Don’t get drunk and slam the door

That’s no way to end this

I know how I want you to say goodbye

Find a circus ring with a flying trapeze

Tell me on a Sunday please

Don’t want to fight day and night

Bad enough you’re going

Don’t leave in silence with no word at all

Don’t get drunk and slam the door

That’s no way to end this

I know how I want you to say goodbye

Don’t run off in the pouring rain

Don’t call me as they call your plane

Take the hurt out of all the pain

Take me to a park that’s covered with trees

Tell me on a Sunday please

Here’s a nicely acted version by Marti Webb:

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: zoo

Anna & The King & I

One of my favorite songs in musical theatre is the song sung by the character Anna in the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I.

I have always loved it, even when I was very young. I watched the movie version with Deborah Kerr, one of my favorite film actresses of all of the many Hollywood movies I watched after school.

Of course I wanted to be Anna. Never mind that she was a widow and having to go to a country far from home to make a living as a tutor and raise her son. Those things went over my head, I think.

She had a wonderful accent and wore gorgeous costumes. And she and the King had such a romantic and special relationship. I practiced talking and moving like her, and sang her songs, preparing myself for the day that I, too, would be a Hollywood starlet like her.

The lyrics of this song have grown more meaningful to me as I age. I feel I can sing this song with real conviction at this point in my life, having known great loves of my own.

Here is the scene from the film. Anna (Deborah Kerr) sings to the king’s many wives, letting them get to know her:

Hello young lovers whoever you are
I hope your troubles are few
All my good wishes go with you tonight
I’ve been in love like youBe brave young lovers and follow your star
Be brave and faithful and true
Cling very close to each other tonight
I’ve been in love like youI know how it feels to have wings on your heels
And to fly down the street in a trance
You fly down a street on a chance that you’ll meet
And you meet, not really by chanceDon’t cry young lovers whatever you do
Don’t cry because I’m alone
All of my mem’ries are happy tonight
I’ve had a love of my own

I’ve had a love of my own like yours
I’ve had a love of my own

Back then, I was not fully cognizant of the seriousness of the situation the lovers in the story find themselves in. They are servants to the King, and their love is forbidden. They indeed must be brave to try to be together, literally risking their lives to do so.

One would think that this ancient story would no longer be relevant. Sadly, it continues to resonate truthfully, reflecting the danger that still can exist between people simply trying to love one another.

I often catch this song floating through my psyche, when times get tough.

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star. Be brave and faithful and true.

It never ceases to bolster me.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: brave

Wordsmith

One of my favorite lyricists is Cole Porter.

Seriously, is there any greater master of the rhyme in song?

His rhymes always feel organic. The rhyme is there, but so snugly placed that it feels natural.

As a singer, it feels effortless to memorize and to connect with his rhymes. Maybe because he not only wrote the lyrics but also composed the music for his songs. It is a tight marriage between the two. And a joy to story-tell through.

Porter lived a complicated life, and to me he is like the Tennessee Williams of the musical theatre world. Porter is brilliant and witty, but there is personal heartache interwoven into his beautiful poetry.

One of my favorites of his most intricate songs is “The Tale of the Oyster,” from the musical Fifty Million Frenchmen, 1929. It is really more of a sonnet than a song. So well crafted:

Down by the sea lived a lonesome oyster, Ev’ry day getting sadder and moister. He found his home life awf’lly wet, And longed to travel with the upper set. Poor little oyster. Fate was kind to that oyster we know, When one day the chef from the Park Casino Saw that oyster lying there, And said “I’ll put you on my bill of fare.” Lucky little oyster. See him on his silver platter, Watching the queens of fashion chatter. Hearing the wives of millionaires Discuss their marriages and their love affairs. Thrilled little oyster. See that bivalve social climber Feeding the rich Mrs. Hoggenheimer, Think of his joy as he gaily glides Down to the middle of her gilded insides. Proud little oyster. After lunch Mrs. H. complains, And says to her hostess, “I’ve got such pains. I came to town on my yacht today, But I think I’d better hurray back to Oyster Bay.” Scared little oyster. Off they go thru the troubled tide, The yacht rolling madly from side to side. They’re tossed about ’til that fine young oyster Finds that it’s time he should quit his cloister, Up comes the oyster. Back once more where he started from, He murmured, “I haven’t a single qualm, For I’ve had a taste of society, And society has had a taste of me.” Wise little oyster.

I also love the simpler but oh-so-exquisite “What is This Thing Called Love?” from Wake Up and Dream, 1929.

I was a hum-drum person
Leading a life apart
When love flew in through my window wide
And quickened my hum-drum heart
Love flew in thorugh my window
I was so happy then
But after love had stayed a little while
Love flew out againWhat is this thing called love?
This funny thing called love?
Just who can solve its mystery?
Why should it make a fool of me?
I saw you there one wonderful day
You took my heart and threw my heart away
That’s why I ask the Lawd up in Heaven above
What is this thing called love?
You gave me days of sunshine
You gave me nights of cheer
You made my life an enchanted dream
‘Til somebody else came near
Somebody else came near you
I felt the winter’s chill
And now I sit and wonder night and day
Why I love you still?
There is just one Cole Porter song currently in my repertoire. It is my most favorite. The glorious “After You,” one of his lesser known songs, written to open the musical Gay Divorce, 1932. I simply love it. Here is a beautiful rendition by the sublime jazz singer Sylvia Syms. An aside: she died of a heart attack at the age of 74, onstage at the Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel in NYC, after a long and rich career. Now that’s the way to go.
Though with joy I should be reeling
That at last you came my way,
There’s no further use concealing
That I’m feeling far from gay,
For the rare allure about you
Makes me all the plainer see
How inane, how vain, how empty life without you would be.After you, who
Could supply my sky of blue?
After you, who
Could I love?
After you, why
Should I take the time to try,
For who else could qualify
After you, who?
Hold my hand and swear
You’ll never cease to care,
For without you there what could I do?
I could search years
But who else could change my tears
Into laughter after you?

 

#coleporter #thetennessewilliamsofmusicaltheatre #wordsmith #rhymemaster