Showing posts with label black actresses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black actresses. Show all posts

Monday, May 10, 2010

*Songs To While The Class Struggle By- Lena Horne's "Stromy Weather"-With A Tear

Click on the headline to link to a "YouTube" film clip of the late Lena Horne performing her classic cover of "Stormy Weather" in sunnier days.

Markin comment:

Yes, with a tear.

"Stormy Weather" Lyrics

Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
Keeps raining all the time, the time
Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, just can't get my poor self together
It's raining all the time, the time

When you went, you went away, the blues walked in and met me
If he stays away, ol' rocking chair will get me
All I do is pray, the Lord above will let me walk in the sun once more

Can't go on, everything I had is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time

I walk around, heavy-hearted and sad
Night comes around and I'm still feeling bad
Rain's pouring down, blinding every hope I had
This pitterin pattering, beating and spattering drives Me Mad
Love, Love, Love, this misery's just too much for me

Can't go on, everything I have is gone
Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together
It's raining all the time, keeps raining all the time

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

*A "Torch Singer" Revisted-Ethel Waters

Click on title to link to Ethel Waters performing "Eye On The Sparrow" in "Member Of The Wedding"


February is Black History Month. March is Women's History Month

Cabin In The Sky: Le Hot Club De France Archival Series, Ethel Waters, 1991

Readers of this space know that I consider Billie Holiday above all, doped up or straight, the undisputed “Queen” of female jazz singers. From a Cole Porter tune like “Let’s Do It” to a soulful “Strange Fruit” her timing and sense of the song was uncanny. However, even a great singer like Billie had earlier singers that influenced her and that is where we pick up the career of the jazz singer under review here, Ethel Waters. Her name may not be known today, except to early jazz aficionados or those who recall her award-winning role as a force of Mother Nature housekeeper in “Member Of The Wedding” who had her hands full supervising characters played by the very young Julie Harris and Brandon DeWilde. Well, if that is your only recollection then do you remember the song that she sings there “Lonesome Swallow”? Okay, that's Ethel Waters.

Ms. Waters performed many early jazz classics here in America and in the more racially and culturally friendly Paris of the 1930’s, a place of exile for more than one creative black talent, and had a fair career as a movie actress and theatrical performer (given the extremely limited role selection, mainly housekeeper or servant roles, and the extremely stereotyped characteristics expected of black actors and actresses during her prime). This CD gives a good cross section of her musical work over three decades (about 1925 to 1955). More importantly, it also displays the talented musicians whom she worked with and who wanted to work with her. A review of the liner notes lists Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, the fabled Fletcher Henderson (of early Bessie Smith fame) and James Johnson. Not bad company, right?

Ms. Waters is another one of those performers, like the early Bessie Smith, who you don’t necessarily get a feel for right away. However, about half way through this CD you start to wonder whether you will have time to play the damn thing again. Here’s why. Put “ Brother You’ve Got Me Wrong” together with the above-mentioned “Lonesome Swallow” mix in “My Handy Man” and a beautiful rendition of “West End Blues” stir and pick up the pace with “Dinah” and top off with a bouncy version of “Am I Blue” (although Billie’s version is the cat’s meow for me). That’s the ticket. Enjoy.