Sun, 18 Aug 2002 07:37:41 -0400
Welcome back, Charlie of the prolific essay.
Johnny Mercer, "our huckleberry friend," was certainly the ultimate
lyricist, and in his long career he wrote with so many collaborators as to
lose count. From Walter Donaldson to Henry Mancini, the list of musical
partners is a long and varied one.
I think the perfect pairing was that of Hoagy Carmichael. Here we had two
"country boys" who could outslick the City Slickers any day in the week.
By the way, perhaps the most unusual co-writer Mercer ever had was Barry
Manilow. Mercer's widow Ginger found a lyric he'd penned but had never been
set to music.
She asked Manilow to see if he could write music to go with it. While it was
no Billboard hit, it was a winning, if posthumously, addition to the Mercer
Songbook -- a bittersweet tune called "I hate to see October Come."
Yes -- Mr. Mercer's contributions ranks high on my list of songs that share
a story with taste and simplicity. His like has yet to come on stage since
----- Original Message -----
From: "Charlie Hooks" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "DJML Dixieland Jazz" <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, August 17, 2002 4:40 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Emily
> on 8/13/02 4:04 AM, Dick Sleeman at firstname.lastname@example.org wrot":
> > Maybe most of you wouldn't reckon it ("Emily") among "jazz" or even
> to me it is certainly MKON!
> May I butt in to say that, IMHO, "Emily" is one of the most moving,
> playable, enhanceable, most endearing of tunes. Any player of OKOM who
> not yet know this tune should learn it immediately. Hard to think of a
> better jazz waltz.
> Let's face it: Mandel and Mercer! What a combination! Mandel is
> so simple and so graceful, so "right"; and Mercer! Oh, Mercer! John
> Mercer, the perfect lyricist: taking Shakespeare's advice to the players,
> "speak the speech trippingly on the tongue..." and illustrating it in
> lyric he wrote: nothing ever that would tie the tongue, nothing ever that
> would give pause in any way to the easy enjoyment of syllables musically
> aligned with sense.
> Check me out here: spot a Mercer lyric, any of them for all those
> that presents the slightest difficulty. He's close to perfect, this guy
> A Southern boy, living in New York only because that's where things
> happening, all his feelings--how he thinks, how he talks--are marks of a
> well-bred Southerner become Very Hip, a very talented musician. Mercer's
> lyrics are not merely easy to pronounce; they will actually help you to
> swing the tune if you listen and feel them.
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