1) Letís Misbehave
2) Love For Sale
3) Youíre The Top
4) Thank you So Much, Mrs. Lowsborough-Goodby
5) Iím In Love Again
6) Miss Otis Regrets
7) Be Like The Bluebird
8) The Physician
9) Youíve Got That Thing
10) Find Me a Primitive Man
11) The Cocotte
12) Iím A Gigolo
13) They All Fall In Love
14) Down In The Depths
15) Two Little Babies In The Wood
16) Anything Goes
17) Waltz Down The Aisle
18) Letís Do It (Letís Fall In Love)
Fate must have destined Cole
Porterís life before he was born because if
ever a child was born with a silver spoon
in his mouth it was Cole Porter. Not only
was he born into great wealth he was also
blessed with a natural gift for words and
music and after nearly forty years he remains
one of popular musicís acknowledged masters
in both departments. Born in Peru, Indiana
in June 1891, Cole was financially secure
before he chanced his luck as a commercial
songwriter. He might have been next in line
as estate manager in the family business save
for the intervention of his mother who regarded
farming as a sinful waste of her sonís outstanding
musical talent. Proficient from an early age
on piano and violin, Cole had begun writing
music at the age of ten and at thirteen enrolled
at the Worcester Academy. His grandfather
promised him a large inheritance on condition
that he studied law. Accepting this condition
he graduated first at Yale then at Harvard
where abandoning law he then switched to music.
At Harvard he wrote for college shows and
in 1915 his first published songs were placed
in two Broadway shows.
His first musical to hit
the Golden Mile, written in collaboration
with a fellow student, was a disaster which
only ran for fifteen performances. Then during
the First World War he served in Europe in
the French Foreign Legion . On Americaís entry
into the war he transferred to the French
Artillery School at Fontainebleau but no one
could call Cole a military man. Before the
Armistice he had joined forces with the New
York pianist and vocalist Melville Gideon
in London revues and in 1919 provided one
number for Gideonís musical "The Eclipse".
So individual was his wit with what became
a "lifetime facility for the off-colour
rhyming joke" that from about 1920 he
shied away from others writing his lyrics
for him. So with his wealthy Kentucky-born
divorcee wife by his side he was a Parisian
resident and high flier of private means.
He couldnít put a foot wrong and with his
gifts and his wealth life proceeded as fate
The song "Iím In Love
Again" from "Greenwich Village Follies"
and "Up with the Lark" was recorded
in March 1927 with Ben Bernie and his Hotel
Roosevelt Orchestra with vocals by Ben Bernie,
Scrappy Lambert and Billy Hill Pot. Not a
number that has lingered, I have to say, although
itís one that is tuneful and the vocals are
certainly excellent. I liked particularly
the orchestra playing a short refrain of the
number before the vocals join in once again.
An ideal song to follow is "Letís Behave"
recorded in March 1928 with Irvine Aaronson
and his Commanders and with vocals by Phil
Saxe. This is another lively number with plenty
of different changes of tempo to send it along.
It will certainly liven everyone up and I
loved it. After listening to the next song
which is "Youíve Got That Thing"
from "Fifty million Frenchmen" and
recorded September 1929 I began to really
appreciate what exceptional songs these must
have sounded to everyone in the Jazz Age and
here we are hearing them how they were first
heard. This particular number starts with
a long introduction by Leo Reisman and his
Orchestra before Reisman himself sings. Not
a number Iíve heard before, but is charming.
Next is "They All Fall
In Love" from the film "Battle of
Paris" recorded in May 1930. This is
a tuneful number and one that I enjoyed listening
to for our own Jack Hylton and his Orchestra
with vocals by Pat OíMalley, Hylton himself
and Chappie DíAmato. I think youíll find yourself
tapping your feet as you listen to this. "Love
For Sale" from "The New Yorkers"
was recorded in December 1930 with Waringís
Pennsylvanians and the Three Waring Girls
on Vocals. I did think that it seemed a long
time before the girls joined in and that the
band nearly swamped them when they did so
that it was impossible to hear the words.
But then I listened with real pleasure to
one of my all time favourites, "Miss
Otis Regrets". It is beautifully sung
here by Ethel Walters with Victor Young and
his Orchestra in August 1934. I have heard
this unique song many many times but Ethel
Walters really puts something extra into the
words. Itís hard to define what it is but
she sings with such sensitivity you get the
feeling she really knows why Miss Otis
regrets. A real Gem of a song and a real gem
of a recording.
Next are a batch of songs
featuring Cole Porter himself singing at the
piano songs from various shows and films.
What better to start with than the unforgettable
"Youíre The Tops" which Porter sings
perfectly, showing all that is really needed
to make an effect is a piano to accompany
the singer. The same applies to "Thank
You So Much Mrs Lowsborough-Goodby".
A slightly different number from the previous
one but itís noticeable that, although Porter
doesnít sing it in the conventional way, his
voice is so attractive and stylish in the
way he appears to chat while he sings that
it makes a unique effect. Much the same can
be said of "Be Like The Bluebird"
and "The Physician" too. This last
song can always be guaranteed to raise a smile.
After Porter singing the pleasant but rather
forgettable "Two Little Babes In The
Wood" we come to the inevitable "Anything
Goes". This is one of his best of all
his songs and a real treat to hear the man
himself singing it. The last two songs from
Cole Porter at the piano are "The Cocotte"
and "Iím A Gigolo". He sings both
of these in an attractive way but they are
songs that are more likely to be enjoyed at
an after dinner cabaret at a smart restaurant
than from a record at home, I think.
After the appearance of the
man himself itís back to his interpreters.
The next recording is the pleasant "Waltz
Down The Aisle" with Xavier Cugar recorded
September 1935. This was dropped from one
show but added to another in 1935 and reworked
again in 1948 as "Wunderbar". No
problems in the next number either, "Down
In The Depths (On The 90th Floor)" recorded
November 1936. No less than Ethel Merman sings
this one. Itís not a song that will appeal
to everyone and I have heard Ethel Merman
sing other songs better than this, but I have
yet to hear a song from her that I have disliked.
I liked the next song too, "Find Me A
Primitive Man" recorded April 1940 with
Lee Wiley and Bunny Beriganís Music. The title
may not appeal but itís a good song and Lee
Wiley has a clear voice and sings in the style
that so many vocalists used at that time.
Bunny Berigan accompanies with great abandon
but never swamps. Many will know the final
number, "Letís Do It? (Lets Fall In Love)"
recorded in February 1940 with Rudy Vallee.
I have heard this many times over the years
and I am sure you have, but I have yet to
hear it sung so precisely as this. You are
left in no doubt what this singer wants to
A disc of one of the great
masters. Valuable for the chance to hear the
man himself sing his own compositions along
with some of the greats of his day. Lovely
transfers and a real pleasure.