Tag Archives: Paul Weston

Adieu, Ciao, Sayonara, Auf Wiedersehen – In any language, it is still “Goodbye”

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The song Adios was written by Eddie Woods, set to music penned by Enric Madriguera and was first released by Tony Pastor & His Orchestra in 1941. In that same year, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra recorded a hit version of the song. As far as the Billboard charts are concerned, the song did not surface again until 1952 when Gisele MacKenzie recorded the song, backed by Buddy Cole and his Orchestra.

The song tells of the anguish of saying “Adios” – goodbye. The person leaving (it could be either a man or a woman) speaks of the fond memories of what used to be in their relationship. At he end of the song, there is a note of hope that the person who left and said “Adios” will return and there will be no more goodbyes.

Enric (sometimes Enrique) Madriguera wrote the music for the song. He was a violinist of Catalan origin who was playing concerts as a child before he studied at the Barcelona Conservatory. In the late 1920s, Madriguera played in Ben Selvin’s studio orchestra at Columbia Records in New York, and served briefly as that company’s director of Latin music recording. In 1932, he began his own orchestra at the Biltmore Hotel, which recorded for Columbia until 1934. His music at this period was mostly Anglo-American dance or foxtrot, frequently jazz-inflected, although he had a modest hit with his rumba rendition of Carioca (1934). By the 1940s, he was recording Latin American music almost exclusively. (His composition Adios became a national hit in 1941.) Madriguera appeared in a number of “musical shorts” including Enric Madriguera and his Orchestra in 1946 where he performed a number of songs including some that featured his vocalist-wife Patricia Gilmore.
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LYRICS

Adios
Words by Eddie Woods
Music by Enric Madriguera

Adios, in leaving you, it grieves me to say adios,
I’ll be so lonely, for you only
I sigh and cry my adios,
Adios to you.

And in this heart, is mem’ry of what used to be
Dear, for you and me set apart
Moon watching and waiting above
Soon it will be blessing our love.

Adios for happy endings I’ll return, dear to you
With a love true, no more bid you adios.

CHARTED RECORDINGS

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (instrumental version, charted in 1941 and again in 1948)
Gisele MacKenzie (Buddy Cole Orchestra –Buddy Cole, organ solo)

OTHER POPULAR VERSIONS

Enric Madriguera and His Orchestra
Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra
Stan Kenton and His Orchestra (vocals by Jerri Winters)
Billy May and his Orchestra
Esquivel and his Orchestra
Don Costa and His Orchestra
Paul Weston and His Orchestra
Carmen Cavallaro
Julie London (Ernie Freeman and His Orchestra)
Rosemary Clooney and Perez Prado Orchestra
The Andrews Sisters (Skip Martin and His Orchestra)

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The River is Wide and Deep

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The line, “The river is deep and the river is wide, hallelujah!” is from Michael, Row The Boat Ashore, originally, a Negro spiritual first noted during the American Civil War at Saint Helena Island, one of the Sea Islands of South Carolina, but those words could just as easily refer to another song.

That other song is entitled Across the Wide Missouri (also called Oh Shenandoah or simply Shenandoah) is a song of uncertain origin, dating at least to the early nineteenth century. Shenandoah was first printed as part of William L. Alden’s article “Sailor Songs,” in the July 1882 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.

The song had become popular as a sea chanty with sailors by the 1880s. Sea Songs and Shanties, Collected by W.B. Whall, Master Mariner (First edition in November 1910), states that the song probably originated from American or Canadian “voyageurs,” who were great singers. Thomas Moore drew inspiration from them in his Canadian Boat Song. The author goes on further and states that he heard the song sung over fifty years prior to publishing the book, which places its origin at least a fair bit earlier than 1860. Besides sung at sea, this song figured in old public school collections.

Alfred Mason Williams’ 1895 Studies in Folk-song and Popular Poetry called it a “good specimen of a bowline chant.” One popularly accepted explanation, taken from a 1931 book on sea and river chanteys entitled Capstan Bars, the author, David Bone has the song’s origins in Virginia. Bone maintains that Oh Shenandoah originated as a river shanty song and became popular with crews on sea faring vessels in the 1800s, and is basically a boatman’s song.

George Caleb Bingham immortalized the jolly flatboatmen who plied the Missouri River in the early nineteenth century. These same flatboatmen were known for their chanties, including the lovely Oh Shenandoah. This boatmen’s song found its way down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to the American clipper ships, and thus around the world.

The Jolly Flatboatmen (1846) by George Caleb Bingham

The Jolly Flatboatmen (1846)
by George Caleb Bingham


Another feasible explanation is that Oh Shenandoah originated with Scot-Irish settlers and the lyrics referred to their term of confinement as indentured servants. “The seven (long) years” mentioned in most lyrics was the common term of indenture servitude in early America. Over the years, the song has been known by different titles including, Shennydore, The Wide Missouri, Across The Wide Missouri, The Wild Missourye, The World of Misery, Solid Fas, Rolling River and Oh Shenandoah.

The song was featured in the 1951 film Across the Wide Missouri, based on historian Bernard DeVoto’s book, Across the Wide Missouri. The film dramatizes an account of several fur traders and their interaction with the Native Americans. The song was also heard as a part of a medley in the 1962 Cinerama film, How the West Was Won and was prominent in the soundtrack of the 1965 movie, Shenandoah, starring James Stewart.

There are many sets of lyrics. Some lyrics tell the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell of a pioneer’s nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia, or of a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War, dreaming of his country home in Virginia. The song is also associated with escaped slaves. They were said to sing the song in gratitude because the river allowed their scent to be lost.

While the origin of the song is unclear, in the 1950s, writing credits were given to Erwin Drake and Jimmy Shirl and it was their version that charted for both the Paul Weston and Hugo Winterhalter recordings.

Here are the lyrics that are associated with versions of the song from the 1950s.

THE LYRICS

ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI (1950)
Words and music by Erwin Drake and Jimmy Shirl

Oh, Shenandoah’s my native valley.
Aa-way, you rolling river!
Shenandoah is my native valley.
Ah-way, we’re bound to go, ‘cross th’ wide Missouri!

Oh, Shenandoah, it’s far I wander.
Aa-way, you rolling river!
Shenandoah, it’s far I wander.
Ah-way, we’re bound to go, ‘cross th’ wide Missouri!

Oh, Shenandoah has rushing waters.
Aa-way, you rolling river!
Shenandoah has rushing waters.
Ah-way, we’re bound to go, ‘cross th’ wide Missouri!

Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughters.
Aa-way, you rolling river!
Shenandoah, I love your daughters.
Ah-way, we’re bound to go, ‘cross th’ wide Missouri!

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you.
Aa-way, you rolling river!
Shenandoah, I long to see you.
Ah-way, we’re bound to go, ‘cross th’ wide Missouri!

Oh, Shenandoah, I’m boun’ t’ leave you.
Aa-way, you rolling river!
Shenandoah, I’m boun’ t’ leave you.
Ah-way, we’re bound to go, ‘cross th’ wide Missouri!

Oh, Shenandoah, I’ll never grieve you.
Aa-way, you rolling river!
Shenandoah, I’ll never grieve you.
Ah-way, we’re bound to go, ‘cross th’ wide Missouri!

Another version of the song

My lady love she stands a waitin’ far across the wide Missouri
On the banks I hear her calling to me
A ro a ro la lee across wide Missouri
A ro a ro la lee across wide Missouri.

For seven years I’ve been a roamin’ seven years I led the valley
Now I live just for my true love to see
A ro a ro la lee across wide Missouri
A ro a ro la lee across wide Missouri.

I’m pushin’ off when dawn is breaking goin’ cross the wide Missouri
Where my love she stands a waitin’ for me
A ro a ro la lee across wide Missouri
A ro a ro la lee across wide Missouri. (a ro la lee)…

By the 1950s and 1960s, Across The Wide Missouri or Shenandoah was solidly anchored in the American music culture. Two recordings made the Billboard charts in 1951. Both recordings were released under the title Across The Wide Missouri. The recording by Paul Weston and his Orchestra, with the Norman Luboff Choir reached number nineteen on the Billboard charts and following close behind at number twenty-one was a recording by Hugo Winterhalter’s Orchestra and Chorus, with the vocal refrain by Stuart Foster.

Others groups during the Folk Music Revival of the 1960s, such as The Weavers, The Kingston Trio and the Brothers Four, wrote their popular versions of the song and included the song in their albums and concerts.

More recently, Bruce Springsteen released yet another version of Shenandoah on his 2006 album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. The listener cannot help but feel the energy of the song as Springsteen brings the song to climax and the music begins its fade to the soft chords at the end.

Whatever the origins of the song may be, the song has the distinct feeling of pure Americana.
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THE RECORDINGS
Click on arrow to hear the song
Paul Weston and His Orchestra (vocals by The Norman Luboff Choir)
Hugo Winterhalter, His Orchestra and Chorus (vocals by Stuart Foster)
OTHER RECORDINGS (NON-CHARTING)
Ray Price
The Kingston Trio
The Weavers
Harry Belafonte
John McDermott
The Robert Shaw Chorale
How the West Was Won (film)
Across the Wide Missouri (film)

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Melancholic Spring Fever

Since Twentieth Century-Fox could not make a film version of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Oklahoma! in 1945 because that particular Broadway musical would remain a “hot ticket item” until near the end of the decade. The production ran for 2,212 performances, finally closing on 29 May 1948. That being the case, the studio did the next best thing. They hired Rodgers and Hammerstein to pen the score for State Fair, Fox’s remake of the non-musical film of Philip Duffield Strong’s 1933 novel, State Fair. Directed by Walter Lang, the film starred Janet Gaynor and Will Rogers in the leads and was an Oscar© nomination for Best Picture in 1933.

Movie poster for State Fair (1933)

Movie poster for State Fair
(1933)


The 1945 musical remake downplayed the older characters in favor of the younger members of the cast. Set during the annual Iowa State Fair, the story concentrates on the Frake family. Each family member has his own reason for attending the fair: Abel Frake (Charles Winninger) intends to win the blue ribbon with “Blue Boy,” his prize hog. Melissa Frake (Fay Bainter) hopes to defeat her longtime snooty rival in the food contest. She wins when the judges become intoxicated on the alcohol in her entry. Margy Frake (Jeanne Crain) falls in love with fast-talking journalist Pat Gilbert (Dana Andrews), and Wayne Frake (Dick Haymes) woos footloose and fancy-free vocalist Emily Edwards (Vivian Blaine). Even Abel’s prize hog “Blue Boy” perks up when he sees the sow in the next judging pen!
Movie poster for State Fair (1945)

Movie poster for State Fair
(1945)

Though the film follows the time-honored template of musicals in the 1940s, this musical foreshadows the rest of the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon and demonstrates the undetectable complexity of pure narrative songwriting. The story is simple enough and Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote only six songs for the film. But those six songs were so well placed that no one felt shortchanged. For example, It Might As Well Be Spring is arguably one of the finest songs that Rodgers and Hammerstein ever wrote and it deservedly won the Oscar© for Best Song in 1945. It is a perfect marriage of melodic line and lyric. Just listen to Rodgers’ twitchy melody on Hammerstein’s lyrical line “jumpy as a puppet on a string” and you hear the genius that was Rodgers and Hammerstein.

State Fair may not be one of the all-time great musicals, but it is one of the tenderest and sweetest ones that has ever come to the silver screen. State Fair is the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written directly for film rather than for the stage. It is not about spectacle or riches; it is about family and the lives of everyday people. Not much happens in the film, at least not in terms of action, but emotionally, we run through what feels like a lifetime of emotions and every one of them is as sweet and as sincere as the last.

Living the small-time life causes young Margy to yearn for more. She is in a melancholy mood, singing It Might As Well Be Spring, as she packs for the Iowa State Fair. She muses about how the fair will at least give her a break from seeing and doing the same old things every day on the farm. She has the affection of a kind, but extremely boring young man, Harry Ware (Phil Brown) who she is expected to marry one day and live the same life her mother does. Of her life and her boring beau, Margy sings:
The things I used to like
I don’t like anymore.
I want a lot of other things
I’ve never had before.
It’s just like mother says…
I sit around and mope.
Pretending I am wonderful.
And knowing I’m a dope.

I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm,
I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string.
I’d say that I had spring fever,
But I know it isn’t spring.

I’m starry-eyed and vaguely discontented
Like a nightingale without a song to sing.
Oh, why should I have spring fever
When it isn’t even spring?

I keep wishing I were somewhere else,
Walking down a strange new street.
Hearing words that I have never heard
From a man I’ve yet to meet.

I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams,
I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing.
I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud
Or a robin on the wing.
But I feel so gay,
In a melancholy way,
That it might as well be spring,
It might as well be spring.

Reprise I
I keep wishing I were somewhere else
Walking down a strange new street
Hearing words that I have never heard
From a man I’ve yet to meet.

He would be a kind of handsome combination
Of Ronald Coleman, Charles Boyer and Bing…

(Voices or sound-alikes of Coleman, Boyer, and Crosby are heard)

Reprise II
In our air-conditioned, patent leather farmhouse,
On our ultra-modern, scientific farm,
We’ll live in a stream-lined heaven,
And we’ll waste no time on charm!
No geraniums to clutter our veranda,
Nor single little sentimental things,
No Virginia Creepers, nothing useless!

Jeanne Craine in a scene from State Fair (1945)

Jeanne Crain sings It Might As Well Be Spring in a scene from State Fair (1945)


The film helped make the naturally beautiful Jeanne Crain a star. No wonder, what with those very generous close-ups of her singing. While her voice was dubbed by Louanne Hogan, she does a very good job of acting the songs, especially the song that introduces her and her indecisive character, It Might As Well Be Spring.

The film was remade in 1962 with the same title, this time starring Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, Ann-Margret, Tom Ewell, Pamela Tiffin and Alice Faye. While the stage musical, 1933 and 1945 film were set at the Iowa State Fair, the 1962 version was filmed in Dallas, Texas, where the State Fair of Texas takes place every year in Fair Park.

Movie poster for State Fair (1962)

Movie poster for State Fair
(1962)


Though his writing partner, Oscar Hammerstein II died in 1960, Richard Rodgers wrote additional songs, both the music and the lyrics, for this film version that included Never Say No To A Man, Willing And Eager, This Isn’t Heaven, The Little Things In Texas, and More Than Just A Friend. All of these Richard Rodgers songs are easily forgettable.

But not the original and enduring It Might As Well Be Spring.

Of the recordings of It Might As Well Be Spring, three versions reached the Billboard charts. Dick Haymes, the original Wayne Frake, made the first hit recording of the song, His recording reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on 8 November 1945 and lasted 12 weeks on the chart, peaking at #5.

The recording by Paul Weston/Margaret Whiting reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on 22 November 1945 and lasted 6 weeks on the chart, peaking at #6.

The recording by Sammy Kaye reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on 20 December 1945 and lasted 4 weeks on the chart, peaking at #8.

Through the years, there have been other significant recordings that have contributed to the song being considered a “Standard” in both the pop and the jazz fields. A partial list artists that have produced significant recordings of this song include Shirley Bassey, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone (on her first album entitled The Amazing Nina Simone, Blossom Dearie (in French) on her Blossom Dearie album, Julie Andrews, Ray Conniff and his Orchestra and Chorus, Andy Williams, Jane Monheit, and Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau and his trio.

To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, and then right click on Save target as
CHARTED RECORDINGS:
Dick Haymes, Victor Young and his Orchestra It Might As Well Be Spring
Paul Weston and his Orchestra, vocals by Margaret Whiting It Might As Well Be Spring
(Swing and Sway with) Sammy Kaye, vocals by Billy Williams It Might as Well Be Spring

OTHER SIGNIFICANT REPRESENTATIVE RECORDINGS:
Shirley Bassey It Might As Well Be Spring
Ella Fitzgerald It Might As Well Be Spring
Sarah Vaughan It Might As Well Be Spring
Nina Simone It Might As Well Be Spring
Blossom Dearie (in French) It Might As Well Be Spring
Julie Andrews It Might As Well Be Spring
Ray Conniff and his Orchestra and Chorus It Might As Well Be Spring
Andy Williams It Might as Well Be Spring
Jane Monheit (performs the song as an up-tempo swing waltz on Live at the Rainbow Room) It Might As Well Be Spring
Brad Mehldau and his trio in a version that runs at about 280 beats per minute in a 7-in-a-bar meter. (The shorter version at the same tempo and meter, without improvised solos but with an extended improvised coda on the turnaround is heard here.) It Might As Well Be Spring

BONUS TRACKS
From the 1945 soundtrack of State Fair
Jeanne Crain (voice dubbed by Louanne Hogan) It Might As Well Be Spring
Jeanne Crain (voice dubbed by Louanne Hogan: Reprise I) It Might As Well Be Spring: Reprise I
Jeanne Crain (voice dubbed by Louanne Hogan: Reprise II) It Might As Well Be Spring: Reprise II

From the 1962 soundtrack of State Fair
Pamela Tiffin (voice dubbed by Anita Gordon) It Might As Well Be Spring (1962)

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