October 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Curio Corner

Collection: EDDIE CANTOR
Makin' Whoopee with "Banjo Eyes"
ASV CD AJA 5357 [72:05]

Eddie Cantor will always be remembered as the irrepressible, naughty boggle-eyed clown and saucy singer. What charm he had! His film career began in the latter years of the silent era in 1926. Many of his early screen appearances were associated with filmed versions of the Ziegfield Follies. He is best probably best remembered for Whoopee; The Kid from Spain; Roman Scandals, Kid Millions and Thank Your Lucky Stars.

This lively 26 number collection includes songs dating back as far as 1919 all excellently refurbished with all lyrics perfectly in focus - very much due to Cantor's impeccable diction. His slow, coy, sly, style of singing with that inimitable accentuation and vocal 'scooping' heightened not only the clarity of his delivery but also the effect of his many naughty innuendos.

His 1919 number 'You'd Be Surprised' sets the tone with the sort of lyric "..Everybody wants to know how she could pick such a (shy) beau, With a twinkle in her eye, she made this reply:- 'He is not so good in a crowd but when you get him alone - you'd be surprised! He doesn't look much like a lover but you can't judge a book by its cover!" And each punch line is wickedly punctuated by a saucy sliding tuba figure.

Eddie is accompanied by a variety of bands but mostly the Decca Studio Orchestra conducted on the last five tracks, dating from 1944, by Victor Young. There are also numbers recorded in London. The first of these is the delightful 'That's the kind of baby for me' with Jay Wilbur and his orchestra made in 1934. It finishes with Cantor naughtily saying, "I'm all done on this side; you may turn me over, thank you!"

Another joy is his duet with June Clyde who tried to tell him 'We're Having a Baby' in the usual euphemistic language which Cantor consistently misunderstands. "We're going to have someone just like you" "Oh you're going to buy a cocker spaniel" "Something will be coming-- a little bundle" "A little bundle? - Oh darling, a little bundle at last my laundry is back!"

Occasionally Eddie is in more serious mood and we hear him in a sentimental ballad like 'When My Ship Comes In'

All the old Eddie Cantor favourites are here including: 'Makin' Whoopee', 'If You Knew Susie'; Yes, Sir That's My Baby'; 'Oh Gee, Oh Gosh, Oh Golly, I'm in Love'; Ma! (He's Making Eyes at Me'; 'Now's the Time to Fall in Love'; 'Margie'; 'They Go Wild, Simply Wild Over Me'; 'Dinah'; 'Alabamy Bound'; and 'Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider.'

Another very enjoyable nostalgic wallow from ASV one that will really raise a smile

Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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