Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mercoledi Muscial

There was a time when New York was the thriving venue for the cabaret singer: Bloosom Dearie, Bobby Short, Julie Wilson, Hildegarde, Alberta Hunter, Hugh Shannon all graced the clubs that dotted Manhattan. Some played seasons at their favorite spot - Short was at the Cafe Carlyle for 36 years - others moved around from cabaret to cabaret performing at the Blue Angel, the Rainbow Room, Birdland, La Vie en Rose or the Persian Room.

Sadly there aren't many videos around of these wonderful performers and if truth be told they were better experienced live. Fortunately one of the greats Mabel Mercer was captured live in one of her last performances at Cleo's in New York. She would have been in her 80's when she recorded this set - there wasn't much of a voice left but there was the artistry and the astounding ability to communicate.

I believe that Time Heals Everything is one of the loveliest songs Jerry Herman wrote and I don't think anyone does as well as Mercer nor switches moods as quickly for a segue number.

And she could take a number as twee as Bob Merrill's Mira and make it magic.

Even a standard took on new shades of meaning when Mercer sang-spoke it.

Though she may not have been to everyone's taste, there was a reason that Frank Sinatra once said that she had taught him everything he knew about singing.

11 marzo - San Constantino


evilganome said...

I have never been a big fan of Ms. Mercer, though your Frank Sinatra quote may explain a good deal. I loathe Sinatra.

I know, I know, blasphemy. I just never understood the fanaticism surrounding Old Blue Eyes. He and Bing Crosby always have just grated on my nerves.

sageweb said...

First time I have listened to her. I enjoy her, I actually always enjoy female singers opposed to men tho...