Monday, January 09, 2012

again Miss Otis ashes


Posted by Picasa Mr Crow again. This comes from the archives, but seeing him on parade this morning, I am prompted to look up his photo again.

Yesterday evening a BBC 4 programme called The Great American Songbook  takes me along one of the many paths opened up by the blog Tone Deaf. If Signor Dar Ponte will forgive my trespassing on his preserves, the lyrics of Cole Porter  come to life in the programme sometimes in unusual guises. The folk singer Kirsty MacColl makes startlingly good job of Miss Otis Regrets She's Unable to Lunch Today. Her version is  accompanied by the  band of The Irish Guards, and  the sad ballad of the respectable Miss Otis, who is hanged for shooting her lover, and has therefore to break her lunch appointment, is performed in dirge-like march time, rather than in the blues style of the original. Miss Otis Regrets was first performed at The Savoy Theatre in London in 1934. You'll find the MacColl version of 1995 on YouTube.
Above the High Street a flock of pigeons swirls up like smoke and ashes carried in a gust of wind before settling on some rooftops.


6 comments:

The Crow said...

You take some of the best crow photos I've seen, Plutarch. This one is a strikingly handsome, healthy-looking bird.

One of my favorite Porter songs is "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," especially as sung by Ella Fitzgerald, although others have done as well.

CC said...

Love the Crow, as before and always.
The Kristy Maccoll version of Miss Otis Regrets is a most interesting contrast to the Ella Fitzgerald recording, I have and love.
Thanks for sharing this.

The Crow said...

Just listened to KM and the Irish Pipers. Now I know what music I want for my funeral processional.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Plutarch: In a sense I have to ration myself in referring to the golden era of popular songs you mention (great tunes, great words) since it's the sector of music I know best and would always be going on about it otherwise. But I do have a little tester coming up.

In the days when I compiled the seventy or so songs which represented all I needed of pop for my MP3 player I came upon a version of Miss Otis sung surprisingly by Brian Ferry whom I was aware of as being a pop luminary but knew nothing of his technique. There are various approaches to this song but his - slightly hollow-voiced, perfectly straight and (important) making use of the tune while accompanying himself at the piano - seemed as good as any. The problem with some of the more famous singers is that I'm not convinced that they realise the central theme is irony.

Plutarch said...

Crow These birds, no reflection here on those who adopt the style, seem to take themselves rather too seriously which is part of the attraction of watching and photographing them.

Crow, CC and L d P There are a surprising number of versions of Miss O on YouTube, only a few of which I have listened to. Perhaps the most surprising of those I have heard is a doleful one by Marlene Dietrich sung in German, and rather light on irony I think. You're right about the intended irony. Brian Ferry was featured in the Great American Song Book not singing Miss O (I can't remember which song, but it was performed with oodles of irony.)

The Crow said...

The very best rendition I recall, one I looked for on YouTube but haven't found as yet, is sung by the actor, Monty Wooley (Woolsey?) in a movie from the late '30s or early to mid-'40s. He was a close friend of Porter's, I think.

That was the first time I heard it, on late-night television reruns of old b&w movies.