Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Thank You to Frank and The Count


This morning I was in the mood for some music when I arrived at the office. No one had arrived yet, so I could play it as loud as I wanted. I have an iPod with several hundred songs on it attached to a Bose sound dock thing sitting on the top of a filing cabinet. I pressed “shuffle” and sat down to start on some paperwork.

I have a rather eclectic musical collection since there are very few styles of music that have no appeal for me. The first tune that popped up was “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the Beatles, then came a Lenny Kravitz tune, followed by a Felix Mendelssohn piece capped off by “When the House is a-Rockin’, Don’t Bother Knockin’” by Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Then a song played that stopped me in my tracks. Considering everything I’ve been through recently, the lyrics of this song seemed meant for me and me alone. Frank Sinatra teamed up with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1962 to record an album of American standards. Among them was the Johnny Burke classic, “Pennies from Heaven”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z6vVv9MbMg&feature=player_detailpage&list=PLB6849D6754C22732

I didn’t have to “google” the lyrics for this blog, because Frank’s diction is perfect. It’s a song about looking on the bright side of life, turning lemons into lemonade, the sort of lyric that no one writes anymore because it’s considered too corny. We would rather hear tales of woe from which the writer is a hopeless victim. Frank sings,

         “Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.

           Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?

           You’ll find your fortune falling all over the town.

           Be sure that your umbrella is upside down.

           Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers

            If you want the things you love you’ve got to have showers.

            So, if you hear it thunder don’t run under a tree,

            There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me.”

Then the Count’s amazing band rips through a tight riff, with Basie’s slick, understated piano keeping rhythm. This 51 year old virtuoso performance was just for me this morning. Thanks guys.