December 30th – Jo Stafford with The Starlighters – Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Like I’ve Got To Keep Me Warm, this isn’t really a Christmas song but is frequently co-opted as one.  There are lots of truly terrible versions – and some brilliant ones.  Ray Charles and Betty Carter, Ella and Louis (Jordan this time) and Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming are all worth checking out depending on your taste.  I’m rather fond of Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, partly because they let the song do the work instead of using it as a vehicle for shtick – but also because her (vocal if not actual) primness contrasts perfectly with his Southern (not quite) gentleman persona.

In one sense, this version is the naughtiest of the lot with Jo Stafford trying – and failing – to evict all four male Starlighters from her apartment.  One shudders to think what happened next.  In keeping with its not-quite-Christmas-song status, it hails from an album of winter (rather than Christmas) themed songs called Ski Trails.  Very precise our Miss Stafford.

The Starlighters started life as a group with flexible membership called at various points Three, Six and, finally, Four Hits and a Miss.  In case you hadn’t guessed, the one consistent thing about the line-up was that it only ever contained one woman. Andy Williams was briefly a member but left shortly after they became The Starlighters and was never heard of again.