‘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.
I can’t remember how I first heard Spanish Is The Loving Tongue, but it’s one of those songs that I loved instantly. I find it intriguing that there are two versions with different opening melodies – one starts with an ascending arpeggio, the other descending; the same notes in the opposite order. My preference is for the latter, and my favourite version is this live recording of Tom Waits at Folk Arts Rare Records, San Diego in 1974. The lyrics were originally published as a poem – A Border Affair – in 1907 by Charles Badger Clark, cowboy poet, and set to music in 1925 by Billy Simon.
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.
Like the 19th century prairie, recording is a strange blend of high stress, fun and the beauty of being completely in the moment. The stress is in making something semi-permanent and paying for studio time, and the beauty lies in a dedicated time and space centred on sound and capturing the music. So it’s an absolute treat to take out the stressful part and record on a whim without any risk (read: cost) or outcome (read: album to release), which is exactly what I did a week or so ago.
This is how it happened:
Rex: “Hey Amie, do you want to record some stuff at The Main Bar sometime?”
Amie: “I’d love to. How about Wednesday night?”
Rex: “Cool. Let’s do it.”
So we did. Twas a great night recording some songs with piano, uke and double bass. No stress because it didn’t matter if we got any good recordings out of it or not. The funny thing is a lot of went quite well!
Here’s a sample: Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie