Saturday, June 11, 2016

Birthday Geniuses

Two of American music's most towering figures celebrated birthdays this week; let's hear one perform the other, just about as perfectly as can be imagined.

"I Happen to Like New York" seems an oddity for Mr. Cole Porter, at first rather bereft of his usual wordplay and lighthearted sophistication. As you listen more, though, the vivid imagery of the song comes through - the liners booming in, the dubious pleasures of a Sunday afternoon trip to Hackensack - and its insistent slow build (here amplified all the more by the deluxe and very of-its-era angel-chorus and orchestra arrangement) provides for - if the voice is up to it - a thrilling finish.

And whose voice could be more up to it than Miss Garland's? If the world for Porter could basically be reduced to Manhattan or Hackensack, I think for Garland it was a case of either onstage or off. Few had a more disastrous private life, but who else could come out and do ... that? Damn few.

He would have been 125 this past Thursday; she, 94 on Friday.  My sentimental side hopes they still get together now and then, in some celestial New York where the party never stops. I happen to like them both, very much indeed.


  1. Mr Porter and Miss Gumm were made for each other! Jx

    1. Two children of the heartland - Peru, Indiana, and Grand Rapids, Michigan - who skedaddled to the coasts as soon as the getting was good. No wonder I love them both!