Category Archives: Listening To Bob’s iPod
Well, this week I reloaded my iPod to celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest singers of the 20th and 21st Centuries. I’m talking about the one and only Barbara Cook who made her Broadway debut in 1951 in a show called Flahooley. It didn’t last very long, but she became a star. She starred in a lot of Broadway and TV shows during the 50s and won the Tony Award for playing Marian The Librarian in THE MUSIC MAN in 1957. They made a movie of that show, but she wasn’t cast in the role she had created. The part went to Shirley Jones who is now probably best remembered for playing the mother of the Partridge Family. Ok, she was also the go-to singer for Rodgers and Hammerstein film musicals in the 50’s.
Cook continued to work in both musicals (she’s on about 20 cast recordings) and plays on Broadway, and in the 70’s she re-ignited her career as a concert, cabaret and recording star.
Barbara Cook celebrated her 84th birthday on Tuesday, October 24 and she’s still going strong. To prove it here’s a mash-up of two versions of a song she recorded 50-years apart.
And she’s still singing the song in the same key she sang it in 50-years ago.
In 2010 she was nominated for a Tony Award for the Broadway musical SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM.
Her concert and cabaret appearances are SRO.
This year she released two new CD’s recorded live at Feinstein’s in NYC.
And later this year she will be one of the recipients of the Kennedy Center Awards.
And no one can interpret a song with the emotion and feeling that she does.
I don’t often share my musical tastes which most people readers would probably consider extremely eclectic. How else would you consider a range that runs from grand opera to music written by Leroy Shield. “Who’s Leroy Shield,” you ask? Hell, I know you’ve heard his music a gazillion times and never realized it. He was the guy who wrote all the musical scores for the Our Gang (Little Rascals), Laurel and Hardy and all the other comedy shorts produced by Hal Roach during the 30s. Go on, hum The Good Old Days which was the name of the Our Gang saxophone theme song that opened every episode.
But I don’t want to share that with you today, I want to share an album by Bruce Springsteen you’ve probably never knew existed. Back in 2005 Springsteen got hooked on the recordings of Pete Seeger. So much so, that he gathered a most unusual group of musicians at his farm-house to record his adaptations of the music Seeger sang … folk songs and spirituals of another era. The instruments included a brass jazz band, an accordion, barrel house piano, banjos, guitar, fiddles and percussion. With Springsteen raspy voice taking the lead, the music was a combination of New Orleans, country and revival song. In other words, a joyful noise that you can’t resist tapping your toes or clapping your hands to. It was released as this album in several formats including some with a DVD.
The album won the Grammy Award in 2007 for best traditional folk recording. And I urge you to give it a try.