Who'd Be Blue?
After 41 years of doing anything, it's possible, even likely, that at some point you start to slip. The Fear of Incompetence keeps me on my toes, even if I may not be the first to notice my inevitable decay. I was feeling down after a few shows where I thought my end was off. Not just what comes out of my mouth, but what records I choose to play. When that happens, I listen to an old show or look at an old playlist. Whew! I'm no worse than I was during Reagan's first term. And a peek at the November 3, 2013 playlist revealed I made much better choices this year. In my own prosecution, it's hard to go too far wrong with such a strong birthday lineup: Bunny Berigan, band leader Jan Garber, the songs of Harry Woods and Gus Kahn, plus two solid pianists, Joe Bushkin and Joe Sullivan. I met Joe Bushkin a couple of times at Fat Tuesday's, when he sat in with Les Paul. Joe led the jazz trio that accompanied Bing Crosby in the 1970s. Even though I was in the second-to-last row, I have vivid memories of Bing at the Uris Theatre. He did a "hit medley" that lasted a half hour!
Of tonight's songwriters, Gus Kahn is probably better known. They made a movie about his life, "I'll See You in My Dreams," with Danny Thomas and Doris Day. We'll hear that song recorded by Cliff Edwards, and "It Had to Be You" by Marion Harris. A dozen and a half total. Harry Woods wrote "Side by Side," "Try a Little Tenderness" and "Midnight, the Stars and You." He usually wrote the music, but did just fine with lyrics. "Who'd Be Blue," not a big hit, finds him writing both.