Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forgotten Music -- Recitations

Whatever happened to corny recitations? There was a time when Walter Brennan could sell millions of records with "Old Rivers" or this one, "Dutchman's Gold."
And before Wink Martindale because a game show host, he had a smash with "Deck of Cards."
To be fair, a lot of other people had hits with this same number, including Tex Ritter. Now, this kind of thing would be laughed off the air, I suspect. Or maybe we could make a case that it's an early form of rap. No? I didn't think so.

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Yes, it was an early form of rap - at least it could be, as in the middle section of the classic Cry Baby by Garnett Mimms & the Enchanters (later covered by Janis Joplin among others).

    I've spent so many nights
    Just waiting for you to come walking through that door
    And even tho you've made a fool of me so many times before
    I know that all it takes is just the sight of your face
    To make me realize that I will always love you darlin
    And I can see that you got some more tears to shed
    I can see it baby, cause your eyes, your eyes are getting red


    But you can't beat Walter Brennan.

    Jeff

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  2. Anonymous8:12 AM

    Another one I like to recite along with is Elvis doing "Are You Lonesome Tonight":

    I wonder if you're lonesome tonight
    You know someone said that the worlds a stage
    And each must play a part.
    Fate had me playing in love you as my sweet heart.
    Act one was when we met, I loved you at first glance
    You read your line so cleverly and never missed a cue
    Then came act two, you seemed to change and you acted strange
    And why I'll never know.
    Honey, you lied when you said you loved me
    And I had no cause to doubt you.
    But I'd rather go on hearing your lies
    Than go on living without you.
    Now the stage is bare and Im standing there
    With emptiness all around
    And if you wont come back to me
    Then make them bring the curtain down.


    Jeff

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  3. How about "Desiderata"?

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  4. Steve Oerkfitz9:29 AM

    I'd forgotten about the Walter Brennan. Wish it had stayed forgotten. I also vaguely remember some pro war patriotic stuff being done in the late 60's.

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  5. Does anyone else remember Charlton Heston reciting "Eleanore Rigby"? Classic.

    But nothing beats "Desiderata." When I was in college, it was a popular poster too. I can still quote, "Go placidly amid the haste...."

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  6. Anonymous9:57 AM

    I never was a great fan of recitations, and I always hated "Deck of Cards" because it seemed so totally far-fetched. But, of course, there are exceptions, and I love Hank Snow's "The Legend of Old Doc Brown," and his entire "Tales of the Yukon" album, in which he recites Robert Service poems.

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  7. And I've always thought Elvis missed a huge recitation opportunity in "Blue Christmas"--during the bridge, he could easily have said something like, "Yes darling, I'll have a blue Christmas without you...." So perfect with the Jordanaires woo-hooing in the background.

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  8. Well, recitations as one of the predecessors of rap?--perhaps, as with opera recitative, by example, but less directly so than talking blues and jazz-and-poetry recordings by the likes of Langston Hughes (WEARY BLUES) and Jack Kerouac, et al.--Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets were clearly not unaware of all that stuff, and I'll bet the Jamaican dancehall toasters probably were, to at least some extent, too...since Scott seems to be Away From His Blog (AFHB), I've posted the links I'm aware of (and probably added at least two that weren't meant for the roundelay).

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  9. The Rolling Stones in "Time is on My Side." Little Ceasar and the Romans in "Those Oldies But Goodies." Jack Webb doing "Try a Little Tenderness."

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