‘Tis a song that most people associate with country and western, but in fact twas written by the master of music theatre, Cole Porter. He penned the melody in 1934, with lyrics written by Robert Fletcher, for the musical Adios Argentina. However it didn’t become a hit until Roy Rogers sang it in the Warner Bros. movie Hollywood Canteen in 1944. My favourite recoding is Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters – fabulous harmonies, superbly crafted rhythms, and a top notch band arrangement.
Nothing beats an afternoon spent exploring old songs with a new musical partner. I can’t begin to describe how much good it does my heart, singing old songs, harmonies, switching instruments and talking with a kindred spirit. Today’s session with the fabulous Philomena was just that, and created a list of great songs, including the Cole Porter classic Don’t Fence Me In.
Cole Porter is one of my favourite composers, for his artful combination of melody, chords, lyrics and wit. Apparently he only wrote in the key of C and the arrangers transposed songs into other keys. Miss Otis Regrets was written in 1934 for the revue Hi Diddle Diddle that play at the Savoy Theatre in London that same year. The mob, a broken heart, high society, and murder are all cleverly intertwined in this little song. I’ll be singing it this Wednesday night at my monthly spot in the cellar at Craig’s Royal Hotel, along with a raft of other songs made famous by great female singers.