“Basin Street Blues" is a song often performed by Dixieland jazz bands, written by Spencer Williams (words and music) in 1928 and first recorded that year by Louis Armstrong. (Williams also wrote the music for “I Ain’t Got Nobody”, popularized by Louis Prima.) It’s one of the greatest of all blues songs. Named after the main street of the famous Storyville district, the red-light district of early 20th-century New Orleans, north of the French Quarter. It became a red light district in 1897. Notable recordings: Lous Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, and Fats Waller. Sam Cooke, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. This performance is dedicated to my friend Todd B, with whom I’ve shared many good times in the Crescent City. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss Related post: Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans P.S. For anyone wanting to read more about this quintessential jazz song: Pianist and composer Spencer Williams titled this number after the street where he lived as a youngster with his aunt. But the house he lived in was Mahogany Hall, probably the most famous brothel of Storyville. Williams composed the tune in 1928, eleven years after Storyville [...]
"Lately" is a song by Stevie Wonder recorded for his nineteenth album ‘Hotter than July’ (1980). The recording sessions were primarily done at Wonderland Studios in Los Angeles (which Wonder had recently acquired). This song’s powerful emotional strength is largely because of evocative lyrics such as “far more frequently you're wearing perfume with you say no special place to go”, “just the other night while you were sleeping I vaguely heard you whisper someone's name” and “what I really feel my eyes won't let me hide, ‘cause they always start to cry.” But, as usual, the music is also pretty powerful, especially the key change after the deceptive cadence just before the last chorus. And, really especially when sung with Stevie’s incomparable vocals! For this song Stevie Wonder must have had a lot of fun - being not only responsible for vocals but also synthesizer, drums, Fender Rhodes, bass guitar, clavinet, background vocals, ARP, vocoder, piano, harpsichord, celeste, keyboards, harmonica, cabasa, percussion, bells, handclaps, flute! This performance is dedicated to Stevie. Please enjoy my humble piano version. Dr. Weiss Related posts: The Secret Life of Plants We Can Work It Out Bosendorfer piano sound - For this recording I’m playing [...]
South of the Border: A musical house call The other evening I was visiting with my good friend and patient Stephen. We enjoy sharing music together. “South of the Border" is a popular song describing a trip to Mexico, written by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr and published in 1939 for the film of the same name starring country star Gene Autry. Great song! Such imagery and pathos! I would add that I’m always humbled by the fact that, besides being a great crooner, Stephen is one of the greatest chemists of his generation, and (among many other things) was the head scientist in charge of making sure that the thrusters worked for the first NASA landing on the moon! At 99 and still going strong, Stephen is an example for all of us. Enjoy, Dr. Weiss PS Be sure to listen for our vocal duet at the 2 minute mark!