The day before Thanksgiving, we’re all thinking about food (and maybe a few other things), so I decided to go ahead with food and “food tunes,” if you will.
Shakespeare is on my mind, too, because it was he who wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.” Food and love and music – is there any doubt the man could pen a fine line? Or that he knew the hearts of men and women?
More than a few composers and performers have done well with food, music and love, and I’ll start with a tune that’s not only fun, but comes to us in an old 1940s musical short. We don’t get these little treats in the big multiplexes. We get MTV instead, but it’s not nearly as much fun. Here’s Nat King Cole with “Frim Fram Sauce.” He’s not a bad actor, and I especially like him watching himself in the juke box. Even before everything went digital, those movie makers had a few tricks up their sleeves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYHuWhAt8V8
Next up, a live clip from the 2010 Portland, Oregon Waterfront Blues Festival. Reggie Houston is a local Portland blues man and he does just fine with song and dance on “Save the Bones for Henry Jones” (cause Henry don’t eat no meat). Bet you can’t keep from tappin’ a toe on this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSs554mSdKY
There’s nothing quite like real southern barbecue and here’s Louis Armstrong on “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue.” It’s a 1927 recording and yes, that’s Kid Ory on the ‘bone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl-2R_Pb7dk
I imagine you’ll go for pumpkin pie and whipped cream after your main course, but just in case you want to follow the barbecue with some sweet watermelon, I give you “Watermelon Man” with Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon, Butch Warren, Freddie Hubbard and Billy Higgins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbHJHPTikQA
Eileen Barton was a kind of “unsung” singer in the 1950s – beautiful and talented, but overshadowed by other singers with better agents or better press. She made it to #1 on the charts for a while with this tune, and she did others that were not as goofy. Maybe the song tagged her as a novelty singer which is too bad. But it’s fun to hear and fits with our food theme very well. “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1wEVPqFFCg
I never think of Thanksgiving without thinking of Arlo and Alice and Officer Obie. Here’s the long version of “Alice’s Restaurant” for the hardy among you. It’s about 20 minutes, but I always think it’s worth it. I know some of you remember it from 1967. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m57gzA2JCcM
I’m thankful for many things this year – friends, family, good health, and love. And I thought it would be nice to wrap up today with “Amazing Grace,” sung here by one of my two favorite guys in a cowboy hat – Alan Jackson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogxLNlgKM8c
Whatever you believe as we come to the beginning of the holiday season, believe in love. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma said it best: “When your brain and your heart are engaged, you can’t go wrong.”
Amen to that, JazzBabies. Amen to that.