April 28, 2015

The next-to-last of The Great White Shank’s great music collections is underway, I’m calling it “Mood Indigo”.**

The concept for “Mood Indigo” came to me while in the process of building my awesome “Palm Springs Lounge Lizard” collection. Just as the latter is designed to be hip and groovy late ’50s – mid-’60s style perfect for martinis and highballs on the patio, Mood Indigo is music for later on: those late, late nights when all your friends have left and you’re alone. And not just alone with your thoughts, but alone and lonely – “In The Wee Small Hours” alone and lonely.

The idea came to me while I was uploading my Sinatra “Capital Years” and “Reprise Years” CDs – along with all those great swingin’ “Ring a Ding-Ding”-style tracks there were so many great tracks resulting from his work with Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins that were melancholy and moody. What to do with those? So the thought occurred to me (I was in a very creative mood that night) – why not make the backbone of “Mood Indigo” those great Frank Sinatra concept albums In The Wee Small Hours (1955), Where Are You (1957), Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely (1958), and No One Cares (1959), several tracks from Cycles (1968), plus some classic Jackie Gleason albums like Music For Lovers Only, Music, Martinis, and Memories (1954), and Music To Make You Misty (1957).

Jackie Gleason? you might be asking. Well, Gleason happened to be one heck of a band leader, and I can vividly remember as a kid being over at my Auntie Marge and Uncle Don’s house and seeing (and I think listening to) a couple of his albums in their collection. (Funny what you remember growing up!) And then there was the Jackie Gleason Show with that fantastic black-and-white opening shot of the camera moving swiftly across the water towards the Miami Beach skyline – it seemed so exotic! Anyways, Gleason made some wonderful instrumental albums perfect as background music playing while you’re romancing a girl in the sunken livingroom of your hip bachelor pad, the city lights framing the night outside your picture window.

But moody, melancholy, and romantic isn’t restricted to Jackie and Frank and the music of their era; “Mood Indigo” features a bunch of stuff by The Beach Boys and Dennis Wilson – stuff like this and this and this – Dennis and brother Brian were aces at writing beautiful and moody stuff. You take all that and add in a melancholy Joplin tune, this Andy Williams classic, this Herb Alpert gem, The Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes For You”, The Inkspots’ “I Cover The Waterfront”, this “The Big Easy” soundtrack tune, and any other music that seems especially suited to a lonely place, and you’re off and running.

Take The Band’s “Out Of The Blue”, for instance – it’s one of my favorite “torch songs” of all time. And it’s not just Robbie Robertson’s heartfelt delivery, consider some of these lyrics – they’re positively timeless; one can easily imagine the likes of Sammy Cahn writing them for Frank:

Well, it’s in the cards
It’s written in the stars
It’s in the wee-wee hours
In some lonely bar

If she don’t stay up all night
And walk the floor
She knows damn well
I’ll be coming back for more

…or Neil Diamond’s “Lady-Oh” (like “Out Of The Blue”, produced by Robertson) – it’s a torch song of the highest magnitude, hearkening back to my late teens and early twenties when, like most guys my age, I was falling in and out of love and getting all bruised and battered while doing so.

Lady-oh, Lady-oh, I walked the streets again last night.
I saw you in the city light like a vision, Lady-oh.
Lady I, Lady I, I’ve been waitin’ around such a long long time
believin’ I could make you mine, just wanting you Lady-oh.

But here I am and there you are, much too far to even hear me.
Hurts a lot, you know it does, it hurts a lot.
Oh, Lady-oh, am I gonna ever learn what I never learned before?

City lights, city lights burn so warm and they burn so bright,
but me, I walk the city night to forget you, Lady-oh.

And that’s just an small example of the collection of music I’ve gathered thus far. “Mood Indigo” is more than it started out to be with Frank and Jackie; I find it’s become the perfect repository for all the songs I’ve ever heard that have held a special place in my heart and memory during times when I was alone and lonely – in some ways this collection has become a sort of “music of my life”. I’m really proud of “Mood Indigo” – it’s becoming quite the special collection.

——————–

** I’ve got one more collection in mind – Zydeco and bayou blues music. I’ve got the music, I just need a good title.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:02 | Comments (4)
4 Comments »
  1. You need Sinatra’s A Man Alone…all songs written by my friend Rod McKuen…actually, Rod has some awesome “martini” cd’s that you need to add to your collection. Ask and I shall make copies.

    Comment by Jana — April 30, 2015 @ 6:00 pm


  2. Ohh….I may actually have copies. I will check

    Comment by Jana — April 30, 2015 @ 6:01 pm


  3. You’re absolutely right about that. Lemme check some of those tunes out!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 30, 2015 @ 6:14 pm


  4. as soon as the Derby furor is over, I will see what extras I may have of the cd’s that have that music.

    Comment by Jana — May 1, 2015 @ 5:53 am


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