February 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / February /

Livingston and Evans Songbook  
The songs of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Featuring Jay Livingston (pianist and vocalist), Michael Feinstein (pianist, vocalist)
Melissa Manchester (vocalist)
  Available on Feinery FCD-3101-2  
Running Time: 75:55
Crotchet   Amazon UK   Amazon US

livingston and evans songbook

  • ‘You’re So Right For Me’ - from Broadway musical Oh, Captain!
  • ‘Mona Lisa’ - from the Paramount film Captain Carey
  • ‘What Fools These Mortals Be’ - unproduced version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • ‘Buttons and Bows’ – from the 1948 Paramount film Paleface
  • ‘The Late Scene’ - new pop tune never previously heard or recorded
  • ‘Bonzana/Mr Ed’ – TV themes
  • ‘All the Time’ - from Broadway musical Oh, Captain!
  • ‘How Much Will I Love You’ – pop song from the early 1960s
  • ‘His Own Little Island’ - 1961 Broadway musical
  • ‘Silver Bells’ - from the Paramount film The Lemon Drop Kid
  • Ya’ Got Class’ – sung by Rosemary Clooney in Paramount film, Here Come the Girls
  • ‘Never Let Me Go’ – from Paramount film, The Scarlet Hour
  • ‘Jubilie-Jubilo’ written for Betty Hutton’s nightclub act.
  • ‘Tammy’ - from Universal film, Tammy and the Bachelor
  • ‘Through Children’s Eyes’ – from 1961 Broadway musical, Let It Ride
  • ‘To Each His Own’ – title song for the Paramount film
  • ‘Almost in Your Arms’ – from the Paramount film, Houseboat
  • ‘Henriette’ – from unproduced musical Holiday for Henriette
  • ‘The Mating Season’ – title song for the film but never used.
  • ‘Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) – from The Man Who Knew Too Much
  • ‘As I Love You’ – pop tune and Shirley Bassey’s first big hit
  • ‘Anywhere But Here’ – cut from Broadway musical, Oh, Captain!
  • ‘Wish Me A Rainbow’ – from the film, This Property Is Condemned

The above list of songs that comprise this album will stir memories of films from as far back as the 1940s. Three won Academy Awards: ‘Buttons and Bows’ sung by Bob Hope in his 1948 spoof western, The Paleface; ‘Mona Lisa’ from the Alan Ladd starring post war Italian-based melodrama, Captain Carey; and ‘Que Sera, Sera’ sung by Doris Day in the 1956 Hitchcock thriller, The Man Who Knew Too Much. The team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans also received a further three Academy Award nominations for: The Cat and the Canary (song not included in this album); the song ‘Tammy’ sung by Debbie Reynolds in Tammy and the Bachelor and ‘Almost in Your Arms’ from the Cary Grant and Sophia Loren film, Houseboat.

The album’s booklet is mainly devoted to Michael Feinstein’s interview with the composing duo in which some fascinating detail is revealed about how they came to work in Hollywood and about the development of some of their songs, including how Doris Day was none too keen on recording ‘Que Sera, Sera’, thinking it sounded too much like a children’s song and how the Christmas song ‘Silver Bells’. might have been called ‘Tinkle Bell’ until somebody thought of the unfortunate connotations of such a title. They also reminisce about how producers insisted on pop songs to help sell movies. They were approached to write songs for When World’s Collide and Vertigo (they asked the singer if he knew what vertigo meant; he thought it was the name of a Caribbean island!) They were even asked to write a song for a film called The Mole People. Some of the lyrics of their film/TV songs are quite bizarre – listen to those of Bonanza – "We got a right to pick a little fight, Bonanza. If anyone fights with any one of us, they’ve got a fight with me".

Jay Livingston and Michael Finestein sing with enthusiasm and expression, and if they sometimes lack polish their piano accompaniments have style and imagination. Melissa Manchester is sultry in ‘Never Let Me Go’, a song distinguished by some sexily expressive guitar writing.

A Nice souvenir of another remarkable Hollywood musical duo but it could have been so much better for using the talents of the original artists.

Ian Lace


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