I have an embarrassingly large CD and record collection – spread across two flats (not both mine, in case you were wondering) and occupying everything from shelves to suitcases. Courtesy of YouTube, I thought I’d share some of the choice items – particularly some of the less well known ones.  Think of it as a slowly evolving, digital mixtape...

There’ll be a new song most days (at least that’s the plan) so keep checking back and please post your comments and suggestions as well.

Here’s another unjustly neglected gem.  Originally recorded by Nat Cole around 1950, Gene Austin and Harry Beasley Smith’s charming little song sank without trace until Mark Murphy revived it 35 years later - and then it sank without trace again.

Murphy recorded many extraordinary albums during more than 20 years with Joe Fields’ Muse and HighNote labels, including two dedicated to the songs of Nat King Cole.  Both LP’s featured Cole's original trio line-up of piano, guitar and bass but Murphy only sings with one of the three on each track.  This time it’s the turn of guitarist Joe LoDuca to duet.  The albums feature some of MM’s greatest ballad singing so we may need to return to them at some point...

 

Don’t you just hate it when you have a great idea for an arrangement – and then discover that somebody else got there first?  I’d always thought it would be good to slow down Lerner and Lowe’s My Fair Lady showstopper – and so did Kate McGarry. Way back in 2001.

Damn.

It became the title track of her first album. 5 albums later – her latest, Genevieve and Ferdinand, is a duo recording with guitarist husband Keith Ganz – they just keep getting better.

So I may forgive her for stealing my idea before I even had it...

  

There are those who will tell you that Julie London recorded nothing worth listening to after 1960’s Julie At Home. They’re probably the same people who insist that anything by Nancy Wilson without the words Cannonball, George, Adderley or Shearing on the LP cover is unlistenable but we’ll come back to them another day.

While it’s true that London did find herself drowning in strings and film theme covers for much of her later career, there are some absolute stunnas in their as well.  Everyone should own her 1965 all-Porter effort with Bud Shank, All Through The Night, but the following year’s For The Night People runs it close. Arranger Don Bagley adds tasteful strings to a jazz trio and the fact that the voice is slightly frayed only reminds the listener how much London could achieve with minimal resources. There are beautifully languid versions of I Hadn’t Anyone Till You and (more surprisingly) Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey but the highlight may be her take on this delicious Jimmy McHugh / Frank Loesser collaboration.

 

It would be a shame if Rupert Holmes were only ever remembered for The Pina Colada Song. He’s also an accomplished novelist, playwright, Broadway composer (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and producer (including Streisand’s Lazy Afternoon). His father was a bandleader and his love of jazz and big band music can be heard in his songwriting and arranging. The wit and precise rhymes of his lyrics hark back to an earlier time.

Even his most successful album, Partners in Crime (which includes both the aforementioned ditty and his other biggest hit, Him) is hard to find nowadays. This bouncy little paean to midday rumpy-pumpy is track four.