Thursday, May 13, 2010

More on Doing it with Duets

After seeing the Cass Elliot and Andy Williams video, I realize that we tagged Words/Words of Love with You’ve Got Your Troubles, I’ve got Mine. So that was a triple-play!

I should acknowledge how much both Andy and Cass contributed to the success of the piece. It was fairly complex arrangement, but they made it seem effortless. They worked very hard on it as both singers and actors to pull it off so well. They did it in one-take with no edit!

Another quodlibet (two songs at the same time) arrangement that Allan Blye and I worked up for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a trio number involving Tom & Dick and Mickey Rooney. Tom wanted to sing Side by Side and Dick wanted to sing You’re Just in Love (I hear music and there’s no one there) and Mickey was torn between two Smothers! The collision of lyric from the two songs was pretty funny. For example, I remember “We ain’t got a barrel of... music… …and there’s no one there” and then “I smell… …ragged and funny.”

I also forgot to mention how important my arranger and close friend, Denny Vaughan, was to figuring out all of these tricky combos of songs. He was a master!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Muck Stops Here!

An oil spill souvenir:

Every person on the Gulf Coast should get a
Harry Trumanesque sign for their desk that says,

“The muck stops here.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do it with Duets!

Today I spent some time looking for duets to share with my friends, Evynne Smith & Peter Hollens. A few years ago, Evynne recorded a great lead vocal for my song, Eddie, I'm Ready, which appeared on my album, Electrical gas. I saw Peter & Evynne perform here in Eugene at the The Shedd and it got me thinking about material for them.

My most famous duet is Cinderella Rockefella. It was made popular by Esther and Abi Ofarim back in 1968. It was a hit in every foreign country, except Japan and other parts of Asia. It never hit big in the US, but it was performed on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour several times. It’s a novelty tune and might be considered to be in the English Busker-Skiffel group style. There are several videos of it on YouTube including a performance by The Carpenters that I didn't even know existed! Cinderella Rockefella was most recently used in the film, Walk On Water.

I wrote and arranged a few different songs as duets for television shows that I worked on back in the 60's and 70's. One of the things we explored was the notion of quodlibets... an arrangement that is two songs sung together at the same time.

I arranged Words, by the Bee-Gees with Words of Love, by the Mamas and Papas for Andy Williams and Cass Elliot to sing together for her first television appearance without the Mamas and Papas. The show was called the H. Andy Williams Kaleidoscope Company.

My most popular combo was aired on The Summer Brothers Smothers Show. Glenn Campbell was the host and Allen Blye and I worked up a duet with him singing By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and Nancy Sinatra singing, I Say a Little Prayer. Glenn eventually recorded this arrangement of I Say a Little Prayer with Anne Murray on one of his albums.